GIVEAWAY: “Busy Bee Quilt, Le Picnic”

In the Apr/May issue of MaryJanesFarm, on newsstands March 6, you’ll see how Megan converted an old wicker bassinet into living-room picnic-gear storage that now holds a picnic quilt, a couple of pillows, and board games for the perfect indoor picnic.


In the photo above, you’ll see my MaryJane’s Home “”Busy Bee” quilt and pillow with my favorite patchwork shape, the hexagon. Why a hexagon? The hexagon, a shape that speaks the zen of the busy beehive or the wired manors of chickens (the oldest domesticated animal on Earth), symbolizes the unity and structure of the farmgirl life—a framework for the proper order of things, a pattern for life. In unwritten feminine language, it is a standard for farmgirls, or for that matter, the ordinary honeybee or the hen, rank and file workers that move the work along. It says that all things are to be done decently and in order, and that small things add up.

For a chance to win one of our “Busy Bee” twin quilts and matching 16″-square pillows, tell me all about your favorite picnic experience in the comments below. I’ll toss your name into a hat and draw a lucky winner sometime mid-April.

Stay tuned for more magazine-related giveaways. If you’re not yet a subscriber to my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.

Leave a comment 364 Comments

  1. Kathy Mccourt says:

    My Mother had a very vivid imagination. So even in the Dead of winter this Sun Worshiper could make the Sunshine come inside. With a green plaid metal picnic basket I still own she would fill it with goodies and a thermos of Hot chocolate spread the picnic blanket on the floor and we would have a winter picnic even though there would be a half a foot of snow outside.

  2. Elizabeth Hawley says:

    Our favorite picnic is a trip to sleeping bear dunes where we pick up smoked lake fish, cheese, crackers and cold drinks. Maybe some fruit and chips to round things out! As everyone else plays at the Lake Michigan shoreline I sit on a towel making cracker sandwiches while keeping the blowing sand out of the food and drink! A warm, sunny, beach day is a wonderful thought as we are now 2/3 the way through a Michigan winter!

  3. Barbara Criss says:

    My favorite picnic experience dates back to the summers of the 1970’s when my cousin would come to visit and stay a few days. Our family would drive to a local state park and stay all day. I can still taste the great home cooked food we had and the fun we had playing on the swings and see-saws. Also hiking and playing in the creek gave us a thrill. My cousin and I still talk about those happy days of our youth and we remember them with great joy.

  4. Deb Ritchey says:

    We were camping in the Smokey Mountains. We hiked to Andrews Bald and had a picnic.

  5. Suzanna Drozd-Kowalski says:

    There are many favorite picnic memories shared at the off grid chalet my parents built years ago but I’m reminded of one the November we moved into our retirement 50’s ranch on Indiamwood Lake in Michigan. Normally that time of year here is cold with a possibility of snow. Somehow we ended up with weather in the 70’s. We have eight adult kids and 10+ grandchildren. We had an impromptu picnic in the backyard. Everyone brought food and made my homemade baked beans. The fun the kids and adults had with the peddle boat, skiff, fishing, and sitting on the pontoon that came with the house was just incredible to watch. We’ve just past a year here this past November and our spring, summer and fall were filled with picnics every weekend. My husband survived a brain tumor and the only item on his bucket list was wanting the grandchildren to remember who he was. In his own words, “I never knew I needed a lake!” Priceless!

  6. Michelle Kirby says:

    I’ve always lived on the coast & most picnics occur at the beach. There’s nothing like eating out in the fresh air. We don’t have to worry about ants, just sand.

  7. Kristy De Vuyst says:

    My favorite picnic was on top of a mountain in a meadow filled with beautiful wild flowers. We ATV’d all morning to get there. We had sandwiches and wine and it was the perfect day.

  8. JacksonQVance says:

    My favorite picnic of all time was climbing up into Eel Creek on the Lochsa River as a child. The smooth warm stones and the bubbly creek represent the ultimate picnic site to me.

  9. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    My favorite picnic memory is from the early 70’s. We “clammed” ( dug up fresh clams) all day at a private and remote beach on Martha’s Vineyard. Then we built a huge fire, and set up a monster cast iron kettle and made gallons of clam chowder which we simmered all day long. When it was finally ready we had also roasted corn in the husks and dug right in. The owner of the beach had actually built his own submarine and that day was the maiden voyage and christening . It sailed just fine, although we all turned down the offer of a ride!

  10. Rebecca Darrington says:

    In the backyard with my 3 young children, serving peanut butter sandwiches, chips, apple slices and chocolate chip cookies. I loved those days! Oh and always a dog, waiting patiently for a cast off crust or piece of cookie.

  11. Marlene Laverty says:

    My favorite picnic memory is from when my daughter was little. We had planned a particular picnic outing for almost a week and the day of the picnic, she came down sick. Instead of going outside to picnic at the park we stayed in and spread a blanket out on the floor and had our picnic inside. We read stories together on that blanket after lunch until she fell asleep. Great times!

  12. Debra Brodie says:

    It was a beautiful warm night in the early 1970’s in the low country of South Carolina. There was too be a meteor shower that night, so my teenaged friends and I dragged blankets and paper bags and coolers full of the tasty junk food that teenagers love outside under the stars. We laid down on the blankets, mesmerized by the show above us. It is an indelible memory!

  13. Leisa Joan says:

    We found an old historic Meeting House in Vermont while looking for a place to enjoy our sandwiches. it was beautiful & peaceful. and we learned something new that day as well.

  14. Mary Arntson says:

    My family would take a picnic lunch to Itasca State Park in northern Minnesota. We would take our shoes off and splash in the waters of the beginning of the Mississippi
    River. My husband, daughter and I and our bridge couples would camp in the park every summer. The kids would go raspberry and blueberry picking and we would make pancakes with the fruit. Wonderful memories of the park.

  15. Marcy says:

    My favorite picnic would be at what we used to call ‘the sand bars’. I was born in Massachusetts but lived in Tennessee for almost ten years. We would still trek home almost every summer to stay with and spend time with our family in Massachusetts. The sand bars were like a lovely little watering hole where people went swimming. Sometimes four generations of my family would all be together spread out on blankets, eating sandwiches and whatever else everyone brought, swimming, chatting, hanging out and getting caught up on each other’s lives. Unfortunately that was many years ago and most of my family from that time are gone, but the memories of those wonderful times will always stay with me.

  16. Julie R says:

    I’ve actually never been on an official picnic where you sit down on a blanket!

  17. Liz Hofacket says:

    Growing up in the desert southwest of El Paso, Texas, there weren’t many lakes, streams or rivers (the Rio Grande River is very often a dry sand bed!) to picnic along. As money was often tight, there was no option of driving 3 or 4 hours to a lovely place. Thankfully, we had the gorgeous desert!! All the aunts, uncles and cousins would load up sandwiches, chips, sodas, beer (for the dads!), cookies and maybe a cake or two and head for the desert which was only a 10 minute drive from anyone’s house. The days were always great, the sky blue, the air smelled fabulous and we kids all had a grand time finding treasures – rocks, pieces pottery, arrowheads. BUT, we could only go on picnics during the late fall and through the winter….rattlesnakes were out spring and summer! What a happy childhood I had!!

  18. Lori Morton says:

    LOOOOVE Hexagons too! 🙂 Favorite picnics have always been making a tent with blankets over the clothesline & quilt on ground..packing up sandwiches & treats & cool drink..gathering my 4 Kiddo’s & having a grand picnic! BEST fun ever!!& under the table, in the Winter! lol (Now do with Grankiddo’s!) Thank you for chance to win such a treasured prize too! 😀

  19. Rebecca McCoy says:

    Oh what fun memories this post brings up. My family used to pile in daddy’s old Ford Truck (kids in the back) and head to the river for the day. We’d play in the water, eat ham biscuits with fruit for dessert, and fish until dark before heading back home to sleep and dream of the wonderful time we had had.

  20. My husband & I went on our “first picnic of the year” every New Year’s Day, for many years. We’d take fruit, cheese, crackers, and wine to a park where we could watch eagles. If the weather was nice enough, we’d sit at a picnic table, otherwise enjoy the sight of the water & the eagles congregated in the trees on the opposite shore, from our car. The highlight was seeing an eagle swoop down & snatch up a fish–our own “National Geographic” moment.

  21. Donna Blankenberger says:

    Just enjoying a day in the sunshine or having a picnic when it rains on the dining room table.Life is apicnic no matter where you are.

  22. Alison Davis says:

    After 20 years of having picnics on the beach in the Caribbean we have bought a small 17 acre farm in WV. We experienced our first cold winter here and loved it. There is something so special about taking our picnic down to the Creek with the puppy. We sit and enjoy sandwiches, fresh fruit, cake and coffee
    while she splashes around in the water. Almost heaven!

  23. Carolyn Forbis says:

    I have always loved picnics. I have an old basket and a red checkered tablecloth I have used since my boys were little. As soon as school was out for the summer we would take off to the park. I do miss those days but plan to restart them with my grandchildren soon. Making new memories.

  24. Deanna Hoyt-Zoeller says:

    our favorite picnic is at the beach. Blanket spread out on the sand, not too far from the waves with our favorite sandwiches and iced tea to go with it. Of course having the beach umbrella is always helpful. The kids love to gather shells and sea glass while the hubby and I soak up the rays. Such a gorgeous quilt! I love the idea of a bassinet for a picnic basket, fabulous!!

  25. Cassie White says:

    My favorite picnic memories include the big patchwork quilt spread softly on the bluegrass hillside with my family…The breeze gently blowing our hair and the sun kissing my boy’s cheeks. Simple sandwiches packed with favorite fruits to complement our picnic vacation on our back country hillside.

  26. Jeanette Moscoso says:

    A picnic anytime, anywhere. Favorite eats and friends.

  27. Deborah Allen says:

    My favorite picnic as a young girl was when I was about 8 yrs of age. I decided to take a old blanket outside for a picnic in a field out behind our house. Didn’t have a whole lot to choose from for my meal, so I took a jar of pickle juice, some saltine crackers and a popsicle.
    Spread out the old blanket in the y’all grass where close by I could smell honeysuckle blooming on a oak tree. As I lay watching the white billowy clouds float by, I began to itch on my legs and arms so much that I ran to where mama was hanging clothes on the line to show her the rash. She went with me to see where I had laid down to make sure it wasn’t poison oak or ivy. Gladly it wasn’t neither…
    But then she smiled and said it was because the old blanket was my daddy’s old Army blanket and it was made out of wool!!!
    Needless to say I never took it out again on a hot May afternoon!
    Deborah Allen ❤️

    • Deborah Allen says:

      tall grass-sorry…👍
      When I was about 10 someone built a house on that grassy lot and I never got to picnic there again!

  28. Sherry Bradley says:

    I remember the special times my three little girls would come in from Church and we gathered the food put in the picnic basket and headed for the big oak tree in the pasture. We would pray and watch the cows grazing in the field. I can hear their laughter and see their beautiful smiles today, even though they have grown children of their own. Memories in the heart forever.

  29. Terri Stalmach says:

    I remember our neighborhood picnics in Fairview , Pa. on Linda Avenue. We would have pig roasts, beef roasts and many other ones. Always on memorial day we would go to the parade and then home to picnic. July 4th and Labor Day also another picnic. I miss that neighborhood and all my childhood friends.

  30. Deb F says:

    I have many wonderful childhood memories of picnics at state parks in Wisconsin where I lived. Fishing, hiking, and sleeping outside in a tent under the stars were an adventure. We were scared one night by the sound of banging on our pots and pans resting on the floor of the tent.In the am, we discovered that a critter was trying to dig under the tent). That adventure provided many stories at school. In adulthood,picnics in the forests and mountains of Washington State were incredible. My parents had a Thermos brand red and white cooler that accompanied us on my childhood picnics and it was then passed on to me for picnics and adventures with my children.

  31. Sally Kroenke says:

    I remember picnics with my family at my fathers favorite fishing spot. My mom would spread the quilt she made from scraps of clothing and old fabric she recycled. Our drink of choice was always koolaid, and it did not matter what we ate, usually bologna sandwiches, homemade pickles and cookies. There were five of us adopted kids, and we enjoyed every minute of the picnic day. I am thankful for a wonderful memory.

  32. Elizabeth Plewa says:

    My favorite picnic moment is when my three children were young, I picked them up from school with a completely loaded picnic basket full of sandwiches, drinks, salad, desserts, and a blanket. I packed some balls. Drive to the nearest forest preserve by our house and surprised them with a picnic dinner and games. It was such a magical day!

  33. Sylvia Jacobus says:

    Memories that will be with me until I die are those of our beach picnics and night fishing. We started late afternoon. My grandmother, Dad, uncles, cousins, my sister and I all joined in.
    My grandmother fixed lots of sandwiches,brought bottles of her pickled onions, sodas, coffee in thermoses, and THE cookies–her famous oatmeal cookies. She sprawled the large beach towels on the sand. Everyone was in a good mood, laughing, telling jokes, telling “stories” of the ones-that-got-away from the last night fishing adventure. No matter what my grandmother packed in her large picnic basket, it always tasted the best ever. We all felt that way.
    Once the sun set, the fishing began. They used spears to catch the fish. All of the kids were never bored at the beach. Torches were lit around the area. We weren’t considered old enough to handle spears and we definitely were too noisy to fish. We amused ourselves investigating tide pools, chasing crabs and each other. Hours later, the limit of fish was obtained and happy people came back to camp. A fire was started and we had freshly cooked fish as “dessert.”
    Fun, fun times I’m glad I had as a kid……

  34. LAURIE D SPARKS says:

    My favorite picnics were with my husband Steven who bought a wicker basket with lid and proceeded to fill it with cobalt plates, wine glasses, napkins, candles, real flatware, sunflower napkins, blue gingham table cloth. We had wonderful picnics with that basket. He died in 2010 of leukemia. I still have the basket along with a picture of us using at the foot of Mt. Rainer. It gives me a smile when I look at that basket

  35. Kayln Stokes says:

    There was always grandma, cousins, aunts and food that would be considered today to be too high in fat to be healthy (thanks to grandma) We need to bring back the old fashioned picnic, children need to sit in the grass with bare feet, casually brush off a stray ant or spider without worry, and eat under the open sky with friends and family! NO ELECTRONICS ALLOWED!

  36. Colleen Richter says:

    My favorite picnics were the annual family reunions with my maternal grandmother’s family. We always had the event at the same great park, and there were cousins by the dozens! We swung across the creek on rope swings and waded along the banks. We played every game kids could think of – and then some! It was a chance to ‘catch up’ with cousins we only saw once a year. And the food! Icy lemonade in big crocks and SO much food.
    Still one of my favorite growing-up memories!

  37. Mary Jane Nostrom says:

    July 4th was a big family gathering when I was a child. We’d gather at an aunt & uncle’s for a noon pot luck, softball & games were played in the afternoon, & then
    homemade ice cream with goodies were eaten. When it was dark enough, a couple
    uncles would go into a field & shoot off fireworks they had purchased (out of state
    at that time!). I can still hear the o-o-o-s & a-a-a-h-s from the little ones. The older
    cousins would wait for the bangs! There would be an occasional parade in a nearby
    town either in the morning or afternoon, weather depending. I remember eating watermelon in my winter coat, it was so cold outside, one year! Great memories!!

  38. Megan Chapman says:

    Hidden away at the top of a junk shop shelf (or “treasure shop” as my son calls them) was an old picnic basket. Exactly what we were looking for. We filled it with PB&J’s, grapes, and homemade brownies. The hills of Kentucky are woven with beautiful trails that were once home to Native American tribes. My family and I climb to the top, find our purch with an amazing view, throw our handmade picnic quilt on the ground, and enjoy the bounty… belly and soul.

  39. Denise says:

    My all time favorite picnic memory is from back in April 1983.
    We were military and stationed in Honolulu.
    My husband was getting ready to leave for a 6 month tour to the Pacific.
    We were out taking our little ones for a ride and decided to go to Diamond Head and walk around. The only thing we had with is was snacks for the baby and 2 yr old. But we just ploped ourselves down and enjoyed what we had while took in all the beauty around us and played with the children. It is one of my best memories of our time there and while he had to be away.

  40. Laura B Owen says:

    I have raised 6 kids to adulthood and now have 2 grandchildren. We did many traditional picnics at the park near our home and in our backyard, pretending to be pioneers. However, their favorite memories of all time began with my childhood. Sunday nights we would have a tablecloth dinner in the den so that we could watch the Wonderful World of Disney. This was a precious time for my parents and my brothers to be together. As I began my family I wanted to continue this tradition with our Tablecloth Dinners. Each child had a week that they could pick the movie and I would set out to prepare the perfect dinner. Fruits, vegetables, dips, little smokies, cut up cheese squares, pepperoni, cream cheese wrapped in ham, “fancy” crackers, just basically whatever we could afford – we ate with toothpicks which is the best! I always served them on those huge divided trays. My adult children have carried this into their homes – some as far away as Latvia. I am now continuing this tradition with my grandchildren when they come to stay at Grandma and Papa’s (any adult children who are around join in too). These traditions bring us closer together and are just fun! I also still do the “traditional” picnic with my grandkids too, sometimes just in the yard, but precious times are worth the little extra effort.

  41. Eric Hendrie says:

    It would have to be the first picnic with our three children. Seeing there faces and how much they enjoyed it was and is priceless.

  42. Brendalee Campbell says:


  43. Joyce says:

    My favourite picnic memory is not just one, but a series. One Spring/Summer, every Sunday after church we would take our picnic and visit a different ocean beach, provincial park or riverside for a picnic. Many happy memories were made that year, as we enjoyed getting to know our province better (we live in a small province, so we were able to go to almost every one!).

  44. Kathleen Freel says:

    My favorite picnic memory was on a cold windy beach in Northern California where I tried oysters for the very first time. I was in college and was with many good friends. Oysters with butter and garlic; delicious.

  45. Julie Banigan says:

    My favorite picnic was a winter about 15 years ago, when my girls were small. It was a cold, snowy day outside, so I laid a blanket in front of the wood stove in the living room. I made fruit salad and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We toasted marshmallows and made s’mor. It was divine.

  46. Ruby Spohrer says:

    I remember Momma making a picnic basket for us to eat on the way to either my grandmothers or my uncle’s house. We would stop at a roadside park and spread our goodies and eat. It was always fun, but we never knew how much trouble Momma had to go to make those special picnic’s. She is a special woman at almost 90 years old and still going everywhere!

  47. Peggy says:

    Thinking back over the years, I don’t believe I’ve ever been on a picnic. I believe I’ll need to change that.

  48. Heike says:

    Lots of good picnic memories from when I was child, my parents always found a flowery meadow, a creak, or a lake for us (we lived in the city).

    But my favorite memories are NOW. I love when my kids (now 20 & 16!) and us go the river or drive to the ocean and picnic. I simple family day, and it is rare that we are all off together. When we drive the 1.5 hours to the ocean, we always stop at my favorite bakery in Chinatown first to get lotus cakes :). I cherish this time with my family, no phones, no distractions. Just good food & us :).

  49. Susan Boysen says:

    Some of my favorite picnics have been on a quilt, on the family room floor, inside, in the wintertime with a good movie!

  50. Hollie Feickert says:

    Our favorite picnic is a family tradition on New Year’s Eve. While the winter winds howl outside, we set up a picnic blanket in front of our Christmas tree in the living room and make a huge, yummy spread to enjoy (mostly things we’ve canned from our garden from the previous summer!) It will be fun to see if our four sons continue this tradition in their own families when they are no longer under our roof.

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