GIVEAWAY: “Busy Bee Quilt, Le Picnic”

Thank you for dropping by my Raising Jane Journal to participate in my giveaways! We’ve chosen a winner for this giveaway already (click here for details), but don’t be afraid to leave a comment anyway. I love reading them. And stay tuned for more great MaryJanesFarm giveaways.

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-May.

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 393 Comments

  1. ELAINE JORDAN says:

    While growing up in the 60’s & 70’s, my family lived in Phoenix, but had a cabin by Hawley Lake in Eastern Arizona. 4 other families from our church had cabins there also. The mom’s & kids would spend the whole summer at the cabins – dad’s would come up on weekends. During the week, all of the families would meet in a big meadow near the lake to eat lunch, play & explore. So many great memories – no electronics to distract us from enjoying all that God created.

  2. Sonya says:

    My favorite memory of picnic-ing is with my daughter when she was a wee girl. We built a tent ⛺️ in the backyard and had a picnic and a tea party. How time foes fly by, in the blink of an eye, she is now 29.

  3. Sarah Marshall says:

    I don’t have vivid picnic memories but I could begin with the great ideas you always have in Mary Jane Farm. You share so many experiences that I have missed. It is wonderful to read about them and imagine what they would have been like. It’s not too late to create some!

  4. Tresa Lester says:

    My favorite picnic memory is from my childhood. I had 5 brothers and 2 sisters and of course my parents. Mom would make potato salad, fried chicken and any other things she could think of. We would get in Dad’s pickup truck, all the children in the back, that was treat. We went to Panther Start Park, in West Virginia for our picnic. It was the 4th of July, there were so many people we almost didn’t find a picnic table. We finally found one, ate Mom’s good cooking and played until we dropped. That was a good day. It’s sad, people hardly so to that park anymore but the memories will always remain with us because it was a special place to us.

  5. Dianna Hauf says:

    Lol! I’ve never told this story to any of my friends but my brother, sister and I laugh about it all the time!! When I was 9 years old we were moving to Colorado Springs, Colo. during mid summer. We had stopped earlier at a grocery store and bought picnic styled food, easy things we could smack on and later to stop and eat lunch. We rounded a bend in the mountains and my dad saw a rest area with picnic tables up ahead and we pulled off and parked. Us kids we playing in the swing while mom and dad took the food out INCLUDING a nice sized watermelon!! Couldn’t wait to taste that watermelon after our sandwiches! We were just getting ready to sit down when we heard the rumble of MANY motorcycles!! Back then this was not a good sound as many were gang type groups. Mom told us to go get in the car and wait until they left BUT THEY DIDNT!!! Several of them came walking up towards my mom&dad! We got scared because they looked so rough and dangerous and their jackets said Hells Angels. They talked with my dad for a minute or two and then MY DAD PICKED UP OUR WAYERMELON AND GAVE IT TO THEM!!!! We kids were NOT happy but as the 3 guys walked off with the watermelon they waved and thanked my parents and then waved at us kids grinning toothless smiles. We got out and went to the table and ate our sandwiches while the boisterous group of bikers ate their (our) watermelon!!!! When we were done we packed up and got in the car and the bikers waved at us as we pulled out yelling something I never understand but my dad laughed! To this very day at 60 years old I never judged a book by its cover again! They were pretty cool after all and I still remember every detail like yesterday! What an adventure and the best picnic ever… Sharing food with the Hells Angels!!!!

  6. Denise Park says:

    We would have family reunions at one of the cousins cabins in the woods. It was so fun getting together with all the cousins and playing games and eating the best food. We had enough people to play softball and kickball. Pitching horseshoes was a favorite of the older men.

  7. Stacey says:

    Looks like spring is coming

  8. adele says:

    Remember picnicking when in Germany when very young & we went up the mountain behind our home & picnicked among the goats.

  9. Robbie Strahm says:

    One of my maternal great aunts who was more like a grandmother to my siblings and me, lived on a farm in the Flint Hills. Her birthday was early in April and she always wanted to have a “weenie roast” as her only gift. Although April weather in Kansas can be iffy, it always seemed to be nice on her birthday. A few other cousins would join us and we built a fire on a gravel bar in one of the creeks that ran across her farm. Hot dogs, chips, fruit, and roasted marshmallows never tasted as good anywhere else.

  10. Hillary Maxwell says:

    While I was a hard-working college student, I was invited to the mountains by some friends to picnic on the shores of Lake George in upstate NY. I remember how warm the rocks were on my feet, and the feeling of freedom from worries…if just for one gloriously sunny day.

  11. SHAREN SUSTE says:

    A fall “picnic” was changed to “picnut” as we headed to one of the last chestnut trees in our county to gather as many chestnuts as we could. A bellweather that winter was
    coming and the reward would be roasted chestnuts at Christmas

  12. Marilyn Williams says:

    The best picnic experience was on a cross country trip with our neighbors. Our 2 families finally made it to Rocky Mountain National Park and were running low on groceries. For lunch we decided to put what we had left in the fridge which mainly consisted of some cheese which we would pair with some crackers and popcorn. We were setting everything on the table & walked back in the camper for a knife to cut the cheese. Just as we returned, the biggest blackbird I’ve ever seen swooped down and stole our pound of cheese and took off! We laughed and laughed as we ate crackers and popcorn! Years later we still laugh about it!

  13. Marti Seelye says:

    I had 2 baby sisters (one is now in heaven). I also have 4 other siblings, but I would take the 2 little girls into the back yard where we had a garden. We’d lay out our blanket next to the garden and get out our little sandwiches and drinks, then add things from the garden like radishes, carrots, green beans, tomatoes etc. When we were all grown up, we’d do the same with our kids (except by then Mom/Gramma didn’t have a garden. We still had fun.

  14. Little Parrot says:

    My favorite picnic what a picnic taken at the Hollywood Bowl, in California, many years ago with my sweetie and now husband and he’s still my sweetie. So we had a great venue, lot’s of company and stellar music under the stars.

  15. Jill Yelland-DeMooy says:

    My brother, sister and I spent many summer afternoons down at the beach at the end of our road, we would pack up food, bathing suits and towels and a few dollars (earned working in the garden first) and hop on our bikes to ride down to the beach. We never set up near all the people with cars, but went further down the beach to less crowded areas. We would build forts, swim, and buy ice creams if the ice cream van showed up. Those were wonderful independent days full of sun, salt and lots of imaginary adventures.

  16. Dale Rogers says:

    My favorite Picnics came each summer, when we traveled down south to North Carolina(500 miles) from home each summer, to visit relatives. It was always so peaceful, cleanest air, and sense of so much excitement making our Annual vacation to see Grandma. And all our cousins. We had a big cooler packed with everything under the Sun. Extra treats we normaly would not afford ourselves, cookies and all Thanks for bringing back fond memories. Dale

  17. Nancy L Itson says:

    Picnic have always been fun to me. I have my parents old red plaid picnic basket from the 60’s, a real treasure to me and I get so much joy out of using it. I went on several picnics with my family growing up and that picnic basket was always in tow. Probably my favorite picnic was in my own backyard and was spent with my own children. We would eat out on the lawn with an old quilt for a tablecloth, spread out on the picnic table and that same old picnic basket overflowing with picnic food. Sandwiches, potato salad and all the trimmings. There is just something about eating outdoors that brings our entire family together and allows us to create newmemories.

  18. Leslie Primus says:

    My favorite picnic memory from childhood was the annual American Legion gathering. My father was a vet and a member of the legion as well as many of our neighbors.Everyone brought their own main dish and of course something to share with the table. The legion provided organized games for the children and adults and the prizes to boot. Egg toss, gunny sack races, balloon toss, tug of war, wheel barrow races and many others. So wholesome and family oriented! I remember attending the event well into my teens and it was so fun having grown up with so many of the other kids.

  19. Sherri Winters says:

    As a farm girl of the fifties, picnics were the big social events of the summer. The first one was always on Memorial Day. Gathering with friends and relatives at a near-by lake or park, it was finally warm enough for my three sisters and I to show-off our new “pedal pushers” (capris for you modern gals), and sandals! We came home sporting the summer’s first sunburn (a rite of passage back then), which quickly turned to a dark tan, since farm girls spend the majority of their free time outdoors. By far each year, the 4th of July picnic was my favorite. It started just before dusk – we had to hurry and get the cows milked & all the evening chores done up before the relatives started to arive. Daddy would have a bonfire to roast hot dogs, my Mom served a huge bowl of potato salad accompanied by fresh garden “corn-on-the-cob” and tomatoes. Grandparents, aunts & uncles were always there too. The younger crowd caught fireflies & June-bugs while waiting for it to get dark enough for Daddy to start setting off the fireworks. Finally, the sky changed from twilight to deep dark, voices quieted to whispers, then quickly changed to “ooos” and “aahs” as the night sky sparkled with the colorful fireworks, each one more beautiful than the last. Home-made ice cream made from fresh Guernsey milk topped off the magical night. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins lingered, not wanting the night to end. Best days, best picnics ever, are on the farm! Oh, to go back….

  20. Megan says:

    My favorite picnic occurred during a cool spring day in Red Lodge, Montana. The day was actually too cold as we picnicked in the jeep. I had cooked a wonderful lunch consisting of chicken salad sandwiches, chips and peach pie. My Boyfriend, Blaine and I, ate our meal and then went for a stroll in an art gallery. It was one of our very first dates.

  21. Sherilyn Peters says:

    In England behind New Webminister a small park area. Met some people from Australia. Had a lovely picnic lunch and great conservation.

  22. Dee Carter says:

    The picnic I cherish most was one at my Mother’s parents home. (My grandparents) There were long tables(with table cloths) set up in the front lawn and grandkids everywhere! Along with all the parents. My grandmother raised 18 children with 16 growing to adult hood. Most were there with all of their kids. Cousins by the dozen. It wasn’t the usual hot dog type picnic, they probably didn’t even know what a hot dog was then. I’m sure we had lots of desserts (their specialty), veggies, probably lots of fried chicken and biscuits. Or maybe smoked hams done by Grandpa in his smokehouse. Everyone ate outside on the ground or in chairs if available. This took place in the later 50’s in the hills of WV with lots of love and PEOPLE! Can still remember it clearly and I am 71.

  23. Eleni O'Neill says:

    My favorite picnic was the first one my daughter went on. She was two. She sat still for maybe ten minutes, noshing on crackers and cheese, then toddled around the grass on her wobbly baby legs. It was adorable.

  24. Winnie Nielsen says:

    What a cute pillow!! My favorite picnic experiences happened when the family would always take a picnic lunch as we drove to Indiana to visit my grandparents. We would stop at picnic tables along the roadsides for lunch and a chance to stretch our legs and just get out of the crowded car. My favorite spots were where there was a small stream near the table that we could take our shoes off and cool our toes!

  25. Beki Hancox says:

    My husband and I had not been married very long, and I was not a seasoned cook at all. But one Summer weekend day we woke up and decided to go to the mountains and picnic.
    We found a small store along the way. You know the type of store that is family owned. The doors are screened and you know everything is fresh.
    We purchased a loaf of white bread, a jar of miracle whip mayonnaise, a ripe tomato, a couple of bananas, and some chocolate bars and a bag of chips. We included some soft drinks and we were on our way.
    Everything smelled so fresh we could not wait! I began making sandwich’s; cutting tomatoes, putting mayo on bread, sprinkling salt and pepper on the fresh tomatoes.
    When we finally made it to the spot we chose to eat; we sat and laughed and ate the rest of our meal.
    I will never forget that trip.

  26. Julie Hofmann says:

    My favorite picnic happens with my grandson, in the early spring. We spread a blanket out on the front step where the spring sunshine warms us and have grilled cheese, pickles and apple slices with peanut butter.

  27. Diana says:

    Growing up, our grandparents had a cattle ranch, with several man-made “lakes” we would practice fishing at. We would always pack a picnic lunch, and sit on a floating raft/deck my grandfather and great uncle built. We’d dangle our feet in the water and squeal when the fish tried to nibble our toes! 😀

  28. Nancy Garabrandt says:

    My favorite picnic experience is not really a picnic, even though we had many picnics. This particular one was a fishing picnic, this one my mom came, which was unusual. This was just before my brother was killed, there were seven kids, me being the oldest. We stopped at the IGA and got some food, hot dogs, canned beans, Archway cookies, and some other things. My mom cut up the hot dogs to look like worms and put them in the beans, warming them over the campfire, she called it fishing bait. I think this particular time really stuck with me because it was the last good time we had together as a family. My brother was killed that fall the day before his 13th birthday. I have always treasured this family time, I am 60 years old and I can still remember almost all of the details of that fun time.

  29. Claudia Bell says:

    My favorite picnic was when my parents, my husband and I and our two children went on a picnic one afternoon. Andrea, who must have been about two years old at the time, had such a good time. When it came time to close up and go home, Andrea threw an absolute “fit”, crying, screaming, being totally unreasonable. She did not want to go home and that was that! This was totally out of character for her. Eventually, she wore herself out and you never would have known what had just happened.

  30. PHYLLIS SKALKO says:

    My favorite picnics were when Daddy would wake us up at 5AM to get ready and on the road to The Cement Boat in Capitola CA where he and his brothers and their families would meet us so the men could fish from the Cement Boat, a concrete ship that crashed on the shore and was just left there. The women would have brought roast chicken, green salads and potato salads and even though it was always cold and windy we played in the surf and when lunch was served we were so hungry and just the sea air and fog or sun made the food taste better and special. Happy were the times if the men caught anything. I can still smell the sea air and the fish flopping in the buckets.

  31. As a little girl, with Dad working two jobs to support nine of us, Mama-(who did not drive}, would set up a “blanket tent” by throwing up old quilts over the basement rafters and make us a “pavilion ” . The picnic food she’d serve us tasted better than any we’d eaten on a regular outdoor picnic.

  32. Gayl Weiser says:

    My favorite picnic experience? A former paramour and I decided to be daring and go on a cold weather picnic. He brought his little cooker-burner to make soup on. We drove into an area where we spotted an Amish buggy, with a woman selling baked goods. Hmmm what could be better with hot soup than fresh baked bread! There was a small grocery across from the Amish cart, so while I bought the bread, he went for butter. The woman’s name was Esther, and we found her maiden name and my great grandmothers married name were the same! I was so excited! I love my heritage and was happy to meet someone who might be a distant cousin. While we talked I noticed the beautiful peach pie, and bought it for dessert. I was so excited! Fresh bread. Hot soup! Peach Pie!!! We drove on to a very unusual area, a park with a petroglyph. It was bitterly cold! The sky was amazing blue fluffs of impending snow. I watched as soup was being prepped, the little burner trying to warm it up. But it was just too cold. We decided to tear off a chunk of the bread, slather it with butter and skip the cold soup. There was a rustling out in the woods, about 15 feet away. A wild dog stood watching. Hungry. We both bit into the bread at the same time, tastebuds searching, for nothing!!! It was tasteless. Absolutely NO flavor. None. Save maybe a cardboard kind of flavor. I very unladylike-like hacked it into the woods at the same time the cook hacked his. Followed by him heaving the loaf out into the woods. We eyed the pie. Two forks. Two small bites, and a spewing of something that was like glycerine lumps. Ugh!! We were scammed by Esther the Amish distant cousin. What a disgrace!! My Amish Great Grandmother Amanda would have most likely taken that nasty pie and lethal weapon brick of bread and chased Esther down the road waving both wildly. (Which is why I’m not Dutch )
    Not even the wild dog wanted it. He sniffed it, hesitated, and gave us both a real nasty glare.
    We went home and made pizza.
    Esther! You did your cuz wrong!!

  33. S M says:

    I love all picnics. They make me happy!!

  34. karen mckee says:

    My favorite picnic moment is yet to come. We have been working on our homestead for 5 years now. This year the cherry trees should fruit. The apple trees fruited last year. The chickens are helping us to prepare the garden beds. And my picnic will be on a quilt sitting among the fruit trees with a big jar of iced tea and some tuna sandwiches and a fruit salad. Just enjoying the sights and sounds and smells of work well done. I can’t picture anything better than that- OH, maybe if the grandkids show up!

  35. .MY FAVORITE CAMPING TRIP WAS TO YOSEMTE. We got there andon the picnic table was a bear covered in dripping red. My Mom started yelling…”he ate someone, he ate someone” He actually ate a waterrmellon he stole from someone. We just had a wonderful time sister and I fed the bears cookies!

  36. Rhonda Rhodus says:

    We started a tradition with our 3 grand children. We picnic at Apple Hill-using our wicker basket with mason jars filled with pumpkin soup, French bread with cheeses, hot cocoa in the thermos, fresh veges with hummus and other dips. We treat ourselves to the Fudge Factory as the children ride horses, throw fish food to the fish in the lake, walk around to the vendors and buy fresh apples before going home. We love this family time each year.

  37. Marianne Barta says:

    Love picnics! Favorite was when in elementary school and our small country school classes went for the day to climb some buttes, rock hunt and have some sandwiches.

  38. Anna Dobson says:

    When our family went to Mt Rainier picnic area, our daughter was only 2 months old. We were all sitting at the picnic table with our sweet baby girl was fast asleep in her stroller. There was a large gray squirrel about 15 feet away from us just waiting for a crumb to fall so he could enjoy some of our feast. We were all chatting away and had stopped watching the squirrel when my husband let out a loud yell because that daring squirrel decided to sneak under the table and use his bare leg as a launch pad, digging it’s long toes in to him. That squirrel was brave enough to jump from his leg over to the stroller hood, and peer over to look inside at our sleeping baby. We all let out a raucous laugh while simultaneously jumping up from the table over to the stroller to scare the squirrel away. What seemed like several minutes lasted only seconds, but that squirrel never did scamper away from our yells. Only when Grandpa got to the stroller first and waved his arms at the critter did it jump down and scurry away. We still laugh about that. Apparently, getting a look at our baby was more important than wanting to partake in our feast. Our son, who was 3 yrs old at the time, still remembers that picnic. Our daughter is now 36 and our son is now 39. Even after 36 years that memory is till alive in our family. And my husband refuses to ever wear shorts on another picnic.

  39. Laura Vickers says:

    Growing up it was just my mother and me. We did not have much, but Momma would make dinner special in the long days iof summer by packing up peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or whatever we had and go for a picnic. We would drive to a small lake nearby and sit on a quilt my great grandma had made under the trees and enjoy our feast. I would feed my crusts to the ducks as would Momma read.

  40. marianne regan says:

    I remember the snow bound days of picnics in the sun near the living room window. My daughter was a toddler and it was the best time!

  41. Debbie fielder says:

    My best picnic was with my Dad on the farm.He was working the field to plant corn I carried the lunch I made for Daddy myself When he saw me walking out to him he was smiling ear to ear.WE had only hamburger s POTOTOES salad.cold slaw and cookies Daddy said it was so good and thanked me.Then I got to ride on the tractor with him I was so proud.and he let me drive. WISH I STILL HAD MY DADDY.BEST TIME EVER..

  42. Audra Lee Hahn says:

    I love going to my Grandma’s house and she has the big pick nic basket filled wirh fried chicken and an old quilt and jars of ice tea all ready to go down by the lake and enjoy an afternoon eating, and lazing around watching the boats

  43. Deborah Powell says:

    I was visiting a girlfriend in Los Angeles. We decided to go to Solvang, CA, to visit wineries and do some shopping. Before starting out we loaded the car with our favorite picnic goodies and, of course, some good California wine. On the way to Solvang, we stopped at a spot overlooking the ocean fora picnic out of the car’s hatchback. It was a beautiful day with great food and an amazing view. It one of the best picnics I’ve ever had.

  44. Melissa Davis says:

    Brings to mind , years ago stopping a roadside park in Texas . Beautiful scenery makes your sandwiches taste so much better ! Very enjoyable .

  45. Merissa Racine says:

    I’ve never actually been to a traditional picnic, i.e., blanket and basket full of goodies.

  46. jane jordan says:

    I have two favorite picnic stories. I love picnics. I don’t think my 2 stories will give me 2 chances to win but I’ll tell you about both of them. Forty some odd years ago when I was dating my husband to be, I’d always heard him talk about this sweet piece of land that his family had purchased years before. They never did anything with the land and it was up in the Berkshires in Massachusetts in a tiny town close to where I’d spend vacations when I was a kid. We packed a picnic basket full of all good things and drove the 2 hours north tot he property. I don’t know if it was because we were young and in love, or because the property was smack in the middle of farmland that went on as far as you could see, or because it was just a perfectly warm summer day, but it’s a great memory even all these years later.
    The second picnic story that I remember well actually happened more than once. I had a best girl friend in high school. We used to stop at the bagel shop on Sunday mornings whenever the weather was right and we had an empty calendar. Usually it was the bagel shop but sometimes it was the bakery down the street. Either one. Warm, fresh bagels and a tub of whipped cream cheese or something equally as yummy freshly baked. We’d grab 2 large coffees and a Sunday NY paper and head up to Pound Ridge Reservation. A beautiful hang out spot with trails and rivers and campsites. We’d find a picnic table, set out our goodies and spend a few hours visiting and reading the paper and just enjoying each other and a nice day in the country. Great memories.

  47. Sue Keefe says:

    Nothing like a picnic! This combination of quilt and pillows puts the icing on the cake!

  48. Wanda C. Bamberg says:

    Well, this is probably not my favorite picnic story but it is the one I remember the most. A LONG time ago in the 50’s when I was about 7 years old, we went to a Family Reunion Picnic. The Great Uncle whose house we met at was way out in the middle of nowhere in East Texas (Crow, not far from Mineola). My Mother had made a new dress for me and she wanted me to wear it that day. Sooooo, while we kids were all out playing and roaming about, I tried getting through a barbed-wire fence….and I made it through but I tore my dress. Mother was NOT a happy camper and she really fussed at me. My Grandmother and my Aunt got mad at her because she fussed at me so…..they said she shouldn’t have had me wear that dress to the picnic in the woods anyway. Memories….. 🙂

  49. Susan bozarth says:

    As a child, my family would take car trip vacations. We would stop at roadside parks for lunch picnics. It was always one of my favorite parts of the vacations. I’ve always loved picnics and it probably was because of those childhood memories. I had no idea that it was cheaper to vacation that way, I just thought it was fun. And picnics and quilts go hand in hand straight from a cute picnic basket.

  50. Holly Tabler says:

    We had a lovely picnic on the Ski Hill during July. The slope was filled with wild flowers and bees buzzed round about us. All was great until my Niece got stung by one of those BEES! OUCH! Still a great memory! NO SNOW!!!

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