GIVEAWAY: “Art Quilts of the Midwest, Magic Happens”

In the Dec/Jan issue of MaryJanesFarm, “Magic Happens” (on newsstands Nov. 10), I led you here to my daily journal for a chance to win the book Art Quilts of the Midwest, by Linzee Kull McCray.


The 20 artists featured in this beautifully illustrated book have created a community of original art forms that bring new life to an old tradition. For a chance to win the book, tell me about your favorite quilt or quilter in the comments below by Dec. 1. I’ll toss your name into a hat and draw a lucky winner the second week of December. Stay tuned for more magazine-related giveaways!

If you’re not yet a subscriber to my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.

  1. Colleen says:

    My favorite quilters have always been my Mother and Grandmother. They helped me create my favorite quilt in 1971, when I was getting ready to head off to college. We worked on it at my Grandma’s house, while visiting, laughing, and drinking a lot of coffee. The beloved quilt is still in my possession, after traveling to Alaska with me, keeping me warm for 9 years up there, and then back to Michigan (my home state) again. Of course, it shows its “wear and tear”, but more importantly it brings back a lot of memories, and LOVE.

  2. My favorite quilters are my friend Angela and my friend Dixie. Several years ago they started a quilting group at our church. At the time, I had never sewn on a machine before. Angela convinced my to try quilting. I was very skeptical. I completed my first quilt in about 5 months. Angela assured our group of beginning sewers it would be easy. It was an Irish chain. I designed the next quilt that I made with both Angela and Dixie’s help. The Upper Room Quilters still get together every week in Dixie’s sewing studio.

  3. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I admire the quilting of Carole Provost-Meier, of our HenHouse. She owns a quilt shop that provides beautiful fabrics, accessories, and all manner of quilting needs. The quilts that she has made and shared online are beautiful! If I win this book, I will give it to her to enjoy and share with her quilting community.

  4. Daizy says:

    Hay there,

    Woe …that’s a tough question. My mother and grandmother quilted and there was always one in the frame downstairs. Nanny was at our house ALOT !! But If suppose it would be the Sunbonnett Sue quilt with all of the fabrics from shirts and jammies and dresses that were also handmade. I can look and feel the small pieces of fabrics and I can remember many of the outfits that they came from. It give me such a connection to my history.

    Next would be the Seven Sisters quilt that I got from a friends yard sale. She said her grandmother had made it. Now my friend was 70-ish when I bought that quilt…..for $10.00

    Quilts just hold a lot of love which gets shared by just being in its presents.

    Daizy #1093

  5. Bobbie calgaro says:

    My mom and grandma were not quilters per se but the made a few. My favorite is the an appliqués quilt that was a kit. By the time I was a child my grandparents were sleeping in twin beds due to my grandfathers back problems and grandmas arthritis. Grandma bought two kits for matching quilts. She and my mom worked on them all summer. I remember playing on the floor at their feet while they sewed on the appliqués. I now own one and my cousin has the other. Sweet memories of the past.

  6. Sydney2015 says:

    My favorite quilt would have to be “Jersey Girl”. It is a quilt of a cow, it is beautiful. I’m going to quilt it for 4-H this year, I can’t wait, I already got some fabric from an Amish dry goods store. You can find it here at

    I’m going to do it in realistic colors instead of purple and green. It is going to look like my AppleButter.

    My second favorite quilt would have to we “Laura in Redwork” a replica of Laura Ingalls red and white quilt. I bought the pattern and made it last year, it did not turn out very neat, but that’s how you learn, by making mistakes!

  7. Krista says:

    I would have to say that my favorite quilt is the one I made in high school. I took a sewing class and the teacher said we could make whatever we wanted for our final project. So knowing this I went big and chose to make a quilt. At the time I started to regret my choice but as I look back now I’m grateful for what I have done. I happened to pick one of the hardest materials to work with and I worked for many hours outside of school to complete this quilt in time. My completed quilt is large enough for a queen bed. It’s made of a minky type of material and is patterned white and neon green. It’s something I will forever be proud of. Especially since I made it all by myself!

  8. Chrissy says:

    My favorite quilt was a Sunbonnet Sue on my Mom and Dad’s double bed. In a family with several children, Mom and Dad’s bed was a place of quiet and comfort when we were sick, and I remember the stories my mind made up about Sue.
    I have two quilt tops, made by my cousin’s mother. They are two inch square blocks end on end, row on row. I have purchased a coordinating print for the backing, and that’s as far as I’ve gotten.

  9. Many years ago my mother created a beautiful Cathedral Window Squares quilt using old sheets fort the backing squares and scraps from her hundreds of dresses/etc she sewed for her 6 daughters and 1 son (OK, she did not sew him dresses…) and she did it by hand. The sheets were difficult to pierce with a needle, so this was hard on her fingers. Around 2005 I gathered quilt scraps and materials and backing to make my own Cathedral Window Squares quilt. But my job moved me from WI to NC in 2006 before I could start putting the quilt together. By 2014 I had still not started the quilt, so I gave away all the pieces and materials I had gathered, including the only pattern I had for the quilt. I fully expected to never make a quilt again – EVER!!. Well, I retired last year and got the “itch” again. So far I have gathered new materials and after months of search, found the pattern in The Ultimate Quilting Book by Maggie McCormick Gordon ($25) with 448 pages of quilting patters and quilting wisdom. Now I just have to find the time…… Just Kidding – I’M RETIRED!!!! I get to choose my time. YIPPEE, quilt, here we go. milka

  10. Diane Todd says:

    My absolute favorite quilt is one I just finished for my father-in-law’s birthday this November. I took leftover scraps (cut into 2.5″ squares) from 16 family quilts I’d made for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and created a mosaic of colors blending into each other to create a “quilt of many colors”. Laying it out was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle without a picture to follow. What joy for him when he received it, knowing it represented his family! What joy for me knowing that he loves his new quilt!

  11. Linda says:

    My very favorite quilt is one I recently found and purchased at an antique shop. The pattern is called a “postage stamp” quilt, and it is called that because all of the pieces are squares about the size of a postage stamp. When I found it in the store I looked it over and only found a few squares that were frayed a bit. This quilt is entirely hand pieced and hand quilted, and after I counted the squares down one side and across the top, and multiplied, this quilt is made up of 7,905 squares and each one finishes at 3/4″ square. Somewhere there was a quilter who worked long and hard on this quilt, and I find it hard to believe that her family gave this quilt up. But I found it and will treasure it. I sure wish we could post pictures here so you could all see it.

  12. Cathy R says:

    My treasure chest is full of wonderful quilts stitched in love by my Mother and both Grandmothers. While living in Houston, Tx I really enjoyed the International Quilt Show, the quilts are awesome works of art. I truly admire anyone who quilts!

  13. Gaye says:

    My favorite quilt was a family quilt that had used identifiable pieces of clothing of all the family members. The last child’s clothing used was my dad’s. My mother not a quilter kept clothing of mine hoping I’d do it or we’d have someone do it. Well sadly we didn’t get a chance as it was destroyed in a fire. I also don’t quilt but am interested and my daughter has started and I have many friends that do beautiful work!

  14. Lisa Allen says:

    A difficult question. My favorite quilter was my maternal grandmother. She was the only family member that quilted! And a lovely lady as well.

  15. I have many favorite quilts , as I collect antique textiles . But the one that is the sweetest is a vintage ” feedbag” quilt from the Depression made from old printed feedbags. The mills started putting the grains in printed bags to bring in more women customers . Since few had the money to buy new fabrics this was a way to get something new and not worn out for quiltmaking. ( and free! ) The design is all tiny little triangles made into flower baskets. see this pic:
    You can see the darling design and also my kitties Duke and Earl and some vintage punch needle hooked cat pillows also.

  16. Leslie Sitton says:

    Of all the quilts I have seen, I’m most in awe of The Quilts of Gee’s Bend. The most colorful quilts made out of random scraps of fabric in remarkable geometrical patterns.
    They have become pieces of modern art shown in museums.

  17. Rebecca Taylor says:

    My favorite quilt to do is a Jelly Roll Quilt! It’s super easy for beginners (that would be me) and I love how it always comes out different for each quilt.

  18. Diana says:

    Favorite quilter was my grandmother. Going to weekly quilting group gave me a true understanding of how few material things she had and how little was wasted Yet I never felt she was poor. Frugal yes. But never poor

  19. Idamarie Settlemyer says:

    My favorite quilters are the Gees Bend Quilters. wonderful, delightful quilts made from scraps they have saved over the years, creating beautiful designs and messages of love. If you get the chance go to one of their presentations-it is life changing!

  20. Janet schmidt says:

    In my past, I loved to quilt. My friend Joan and I would spend endless hours quilting & designing our masterpiece!! We taught my daughters some of quilting, and they have made very special quilts.! I have stopped quilting because of my diagnosis of MS, but plan on returning as quilting gives me peace, quietness, & brain stimulation
    Thank you for giving us a opportunity to explore!!

  21. Nita Denise says:

    My favorite quilter right now is my daughter, who at 40 embraced quilting with verve. She’s still working on her first top, a bright Courthouse Steps, but meantime pieced her second, a jelly roll race, which is now waiting to be quilted. Her sense of color and design is totally delightful, and her enthusiasm to learn equally so. She is helping a friend, an even newer quilter, and it tickles me that skills from her great, great grandmother, grandmother, and mother are continuing in a new generation. She is my sewing buddy and gives me fresh eyes and joy every day.

  22. terry steinmetz says:

    My favorite quilt is the one that I finished this year called “Then 30 year quilt”. I started it 30 years ago, when I didn’t know much about quilting. When I picked it back up to finish, I had many problems with it. But through perseverance & a great quilting instructor, who kept encouraging me when I wanted to give it up, I completed that quilt & it is displayed in my spare bedroom. I learned so many things about it & me. I’m glad I finished it!

  23. Kristi says:

    My favorite quilt is one I got from my mom who received it upon my grandma’s passing. It was a quilting bee quilt made by all the older female members of my family. It has a central square where is stitched mother (my great-grandma) and all the younger women, my grandma included, had squares all around it with their names embroidered. Some of these women I slightly remember but others this will be my only connection to them. I was blessed with my great grandma for 13 years of my life. It is slightly worse for the wear but will always be treasured by me. I will eventually pass it on to my 7 year old daughter.

  24. Sandy Koenig says:

    My favorite quilt has always been the Log Cabin, then I saw one that had some stars appliqued on it and fell in love with that look.

  25. Carolyn Shaffer says:

    About a year ago, I joined a Facebook quilting/fabric exchange group. I did this because my mother was in hospice and I believed that I would be living with her and would need something to do with her as her health declined. It turned out, unfortunately, that she passed away after being in hospice for less than a week, so I did not have that time with her that I expected. She is, and always will be, my favorite quilter. What I didn’t expect, though, was to create friendships with the quilting ladies on Facebook. It has helped me through grieving the loss of my mother and also keeping her spirit alive, to stay active in this group. It has been an unexpected blessing.

  26. Cecile Clausen says:

    My favorite quilt is a red and white New York Beauty that I saw in a magazine and recreated something similar to it. I just love the way it turned out. It took me two year to complete.

  27. Sonya Leonard says:

    My favored quilt it the one we called Strawberry Fields. My aunt that was 78 years old and had a very hard time seeing what she was sewing, made the top and I got it quiled for her, before she passed away a year later. It ment so much to me to get to work with her on this beautiful red and white gingam quilt. I miss her everyday.

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GIVEAWAY: “Canteen Wall Vase, Magic Happens”

In the Dec/Jan issue of MaryJanesFarm, “Magic Happens” (on newsstands Nov. 10), I led you here to my daily journal for a chance to win my canteen wall vase shown on p. 59.


In my article, “Holiday Décor from Vintage Finds,” I gave you ideas for creating unique décor using secondhand-store bargains. For a chance to win my canteen wall vase, tell me about your favorite vintage find in the comments below by Dec. 1. I’ll toss your name into a hat and draw a lucky winner the second week of December. Stay tuned for more magazine-related giveaways!

If you’re not yet a subscriber to my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.

  1. Rhonda Bowdy says:

    Was yard saleing one day and found old Christmas plates and cups exactly like my great grandmother had. Just had to get them.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I have not been out lately on a vintage looking trek through antique stores. Last Summer, however, I did find the coolest book named Primer of Hygiene with the first copyright in 1910. Being a nurse, this caught my eye and I had to have it. The book is in pretty good shape and what was fascinating was reading what was standard knowledge for human health at the turn of the century. Interestingly enough, many recommendations have not changed of how to live a healthy lifestyle. The book was also meant to be used in the classroom and contains study questions and suggestions for class discussions at the end of each information section. If everyone still read this text and learned the basics from it, we would have a healthier population!

  3. Ruth Hower says:

    That’s a beautiful re-use for that canteen and cookie cutter! I have a huge collection of vintage aluminum bakeware, coffee pots, etc., which includes two similar “canteens” except that they’re bedwarmers!!

    Just the other day I found something I’d never seen or heard of – a sad iron heater! When I googled it I found they’re also called railroad or camp stoves. It’s about 8″ high, a Kerosene reservoir forms the base, there’s an adjustable wick (wider than a lamp wick) and on top a place to sit a sad iron to heat it! Imagine! You could heat an iron without lighting a fire in the stove in the summer heat. But more than that, can you imagine ironing with something weighing over five pounds, and trying not to scorch all those pleats and ruffles in those lovely Victorian gowns and blouses. Oh my! But are we fortunate or not? Seems things were so much more uncomplicated then.
    Thank you Mary Jane for this sweet opportunity!

  4. Deborah McKissic says:

    oh, this is clever..I really like this wall vase…the last vintage item I bought at an antiques store was an old wood garden tool carrier. It has a beautiful patina to it and has six sections…four smaller ones on the ends and two bigger ones in the middle, with a wonderful wood handle on top of it that runs the whole length…I cleaned it with a gentle antique wood cleaner and then put in six golden depression glass jello dishes with tiny beeswax votives… inside…oh, the glow is wonderful and it sits on the middle of my dining room table with a vintage crocheted table runner under it..another find in the antiques store..

  5. Kyla Hill says:

    I love finding embroidery hoops and crafts to do with them. But I really love finding doorknobs!

  6. Teri Schneider says:

    I found in a small town near us a lovely pyrex bowl that finally finished off my set. I felt so very lucky because apparently from what I’ve researched online, this particular color is rare. Sure was whistling a happy tune that day! P.S. Your canteen planter is adorable! I’m going to ask my brothers if any of them still have their Boy Scout ones so I can try this 🙂

  7. Idamarie Settlemyer says:

    My husband found a box of burlap bags turned inside out with all kinds of quaint printing on them. I keep one hanging and trade them out once a month.

  8. Toni Kay Bennett says:

    On a trek to visit my daughter at college, I stumbled across a couple of vintage PINK glass milk bottles, 1 pint,1 quart and a pink storage jar that is pebbly glass at the top, and clear at the bottom. They make a wonderful set; I put fresh in the milk bottles and save the flower heads in the jar for a pretty focal point in my room!

  9. CJ Armstrong says:

    My favorite vintage find for glamping is a wooden ironing board in excellent condition. Found it at a thrift store for $3.00! We love to use it on one side of the glamper trailer tongue, hang Scottish themed tablecloths on it, decorate it with vase of flowers, solar lights, etc. Tickled pink for such a find!

    Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this giveaway!

  10. Kayley says:

    This vase is absolutely beautiful! My favorite vintage finds are usually clothes. Certain clothing items that are vintage are fun to wear because they’re unique in this day and age.

  11. Gaye says:

    Where to begin! I can never pick an all time fave but a current one is a lovely vintage warming baby food plate. It is divided in three sections, painted in each a kitty, a puppy and the biggest is little bo peep and her sheep. It is real heavy! I bet it kept baby’s dinner warm a good long time! It seems to be stainless steel, porcelain and Bakelite.

  12. Linda says:

    My boyfriend was looking at some pictures for a nearby estate sale and there was an old sewing machine shown. I collect sewing machines, but my boyfriend wanted to go see this one because he thought it was an industrial machine that he could use to make seat cushions for his pontoon boat. We went to the sale and when we saw the machine it was a lot smaller than it looked in the picture – and BEAUTIFUL! It turned out to be a Wilcox and Gibbs treadle sewing machine from somewhere around the late 1800s. It’s cabinet and the machine are in excellent condition – and it is a chain stitch treadle machine. So – my favorite vintage find was my Wilcox and Gibbs treadle sewing machine. It was my 18th sewing machine (I now have 21 – 12 of which are vintage) and it is the most beautiful one of all.

  13. Marilyn Collins says:

    My favorite vintage find is any old edition of a book. Thanks fro the giveaway

  14. Sandy Rees says:

    I found a ceramic Christmas tree that you put little Lite Btrie type ornaments in the little holes. Reminds me of grandmas.

  15. My favorite vintage finds are some old tea cups and saucers I use to hold my pins and needles when I sew.

  16. Sydney2015 says:

    My second favorite vintage find would have to be a piece of furniture(it’s hard to explain!). The woman we bought it from took an old headboard and footboard from a bed. She put them close to each other and added shelves, she painted it green. It is just beautiful! It sits outside on our big deck and holds up my mothers orchid collection.

    My favorite would have to an old set of schoolbooks. I found then in an antique store. It was missing the fourth primer, but I bought it new from the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum. But they are just gorgeous books in amazing condition.

    I also have an old lantern collection, my most recent lantern is one I bought from an Amish bakery. They had used it until it both ran out of wick and started rusting. My favorite would have to be a decorative lantern(I don’t think it has ever been used) that was my great grandmothers. It fell one day and the beautiful pink glass chimney broke, I still have the base.

  17. Carol says:

    I discovered a recent find that I love – it is from a huge store along CA Hwy 395; the store appears out of nowhere along that desolate road, so of course we had to stop. I was with business colleagues on the way back from a seminar, and no one objected to stopping! Outside the building in the front yard was a collection of just stuff, from big metal equipment left over from area mines, to a little, randomly placed, dirt encrusted white enamel bowl. I picked it up and dusted it as best I could, and saw it was old, but perfect. I also saw it was priced to sell.

    I took it into the store and handed it to the shop owner, who held it for me while we all looked around. By the time I got back to the front counter, the shop owner had washed the bowl for me, and it was indeed in perfect condition. I plan to use the bowl in my soon-to-be renovated camping trailer. The bowl, the trailer, it’s all meant to be.

  18. Janet schmidt says:

    My favorite vintage holiday items : a piece displaying Santa that was in my home when I was growing up. A hobby of mine is finding antique ornaments I antique shops. I have ornaments that were my mothers & grandmothers which I recall on their trees and I am past 50 years of age.

  19. Toni Fenton says:

    I wasn’t even shopping, and happened to glance up and saw a vintage glass measuring cup with a beater contraption inside. The beater has a wood type knob “holder” and beneath the wood knob handle to turn the beaters inside the bowl is a metal cover that sits atop the glass measuring cup. The glass is an 8 cup measure. I had to buy this. When my grandchildren visit every other weekend, Saturday is our “egg” breakfast day and my 4 year old granddaughter goes after the glass measuring cup with beaters and she beats the eggs for our scrambles. On Sunday, my 7 year old grandson uses it to help make the batter for our waffles. This beautiful piece, which I’m sure was not given away, but saved, has found it’s way into my home, and is creating cherished memories for our next generation.

  20. Karen Ringen says:

    My favorite vintage find so far is an old cigar box full of 100 year old paper dolls and lots of clothes for them.

  21. Joan H says:

    It’s hard to pick, I have a few, but it’s not hard to describe the feelings of of awe when I come upon something that has a history I know nothing about. I can see and feel the signs of use and age that inspire me. One of these items is an oak kitchen work center with the drawers in the base that when opened are actually metal bins with deep, rounded bottoms. It’s beautiful.

  22. Sandy Koenig says:

    My favorite vintage find was at a yard sale about 35 years ago I found an old thread chest by Merricks American Thread company. Four long draws 2 smaller ones. I paid $12.00.

  23. Cecile Clausen says:

    My favorite find was a ventage J & P Clark cotton sewing cabinet. Found in Comfort Texas a few weeks ago. It is in wonderful shape.

  24. Susanne says:

    I found a lovely etched pitcher at a thrift store just like the one my grandma always used . It made me think of Grandma every time I used it. It didn’t survive a clash with the granite counter top a few years ago and I still miss it.

  25. Leisa Joan says:

    I work at an auction every Thursday night after my regular job, so it’s hard not to buy things when the price is right. I like to get things to use in my garden, like an antique hose reel, or sprinkler, or an old chandelier to hang in our maple tree. it looks fabulous!

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GIVEAWAY: “Girl Ran Away, Magic Happens”

In the Dec/Jan issue of MaryJanesFarm, “Magic Happens” (on newsstands Nov. 10), I led you here to my daily journal for a chance to win a beautiful spoon-handle pendant from Erin Thormosdgard’s jewelry business, Girl Ran Away with the Spoon.

Girl Ran Away with the Spoon creates handcrafted artisan jewelry and gifts in the heart of historic downtown Miles City, Montana. For a chance to win one of Erin’s spoon-handle pendants, tell me about your favorite farmgirl artisan in the comments below by Dec. 1. I’ll toss your name into a hat and draw a lucky winner the second week of December. Stay tuned for more magazine-related giveaways!

If you’re not yet a subscriber to my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.

  1. Kim Rountree says:

    My favorite artisan farmgirl is my mom who was raised on a small farm in eastern Tennessee. Quilts were a given and my grandmother made them from scraps. Later in life my mom began making quilts as a hobby. She makes them totally by hand and they are truly works of art.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    My Farmgirl favorites on the page of expressions of “Magic Happens” are Vintage Feed Sack stockings and red farm graphic tea towels. I am especially enamored by the feed sack stockings. Totes adorbs!

  3. Cathy R says:

    Favorite farmgirl artisan: MARYJANE BUTTERS! Thank you for all the wonderful things you have created and shared with us!!!

  4. Rhonda Bowdy says:

    My favorite was my grandmother. She used to can everything. She had the neatest feed bags. I loved being able to pick what color I wanted and sew something. We made from aprons to skirts. They were all beautiful. Miss them.

  5. My favorite Farmgirl artisan is my garden buddy Annie Allbright, the most creative person I have ever met . She is just now finishing up her ” fairy gourds” which are her own homegrown huge hollowed out gourds. She filled them with woodland things like moss, live plants,her own glass sculptures and such and they are so much more artistic and truly magical than they sound. Her entire farm is filled with her artwork, as she is the queen of upcycling. I adore her giant dragonflies she crafts from wooden fan blades and hand paints. Or her glass ” totems” that tower throughout the property. Or her wall of blue glass that undulates through her flower beds. She recycles the deep cobalt blue Skye vodka bottles. I could go on and on- she gives classes a few times a year as well. She is an inspiration.

  6. Alise says:

    My favorite farmgirl artisan would be my mom. She made much of my and my sisters’ clothes when we were young and she really did do fine work.

  7. Bobbie calgaro says:

    I’d have to say my mom. She sews with the best of them. All my clothes were handmade growing up. All the curtains in the house. She loves to do needlework and knit too.

  8. Troi Hackett says:

    How about my latest fav? I have so many, my friend who remakes vintage windows to sell in West bottoms of Kc. Prairie moon primitives that I met at silver dollar city.

  9. Janice Slater says:

    My favorite artisan is my friend Shirley. She started quilting seriously at the age of 70 after her husband passed away. She has made beautiful quilts for every member of her family, (about 30), as well as for friends. At the age of 82, she drove down to Portland Oregon, to take care of her grandson for a week and deliver another quilt to an older grandson living there. He has requested quilts for his children to come, thinking she might pass away before he gets married. We had a good laugh over this one. She has such a great heart, many talents in the fabric arts, and amazing energy. I think she will live to see many great-grandsons or grand-daughters and make quilts for each. I have so much admiration for her.

  10. Linda says:

    I find it very hard to choose just one favorite farmgirl artisan; there are so many who are highlighted in MaryJanesFarm magazine, who participate in swaps on MaryJanesFarm chat room, who have etsy shops, and who post items for sale in the Marketplace category in the chat room. I love working with fabric, so always enjoy seeing new ideas for items to make for myself, my home, or for gifts. For instance, the rolling pin holder shown on page 89 in the Dec/Jan issue is a perfect gift item for a friend who has a rolling pin collection. Thank you for all the creative ideas that get my creative juices flowing.

  11. Laura Long says:

    My favorite farm girl artisan were actually two artisans. Christine and Barbara Granzen who lived across the street growing up and taught be to sew, in the 5th grade. Sewing ever since and I do think of them every time my foot hits that pedal.

  12. Sandy Rees says:

    I am currently loving the simple farm related artwork by Chris at The Eggs & I

  13. CJ Armstrong says:

    Love the jewelry here . . . thanks for the opportunity to participate.

    My favorite farmgirl artisan is Sharon Bakke. She does the most creative, incredible papercrafting I’ve ever seen. I am the proud owner of some of her cards and ATCs which I will treasure forever. She also does wonderful paintings!


  14. Diane says:

    My favorite farm girl artisan is, Brandy, a friend I met when our husbands served together in the Army. She helped design and oversaw the building of their log home. She trained, rode, taught riding on, and cared for horses. She looked for ways to reuse interesting items and materials in the building and decorating of their home (concrete walls from an old bank for kitchen counters, old dressers for bathroom sink vanities, rough-edged planks for open staircase) and was creative with her family’s food preparation.

  15. Susie Maass says:

    My favorite farm girl artisan is my Mom. She grew up on a farm in Washington State and learned to can, sew, cook and bake from her mother. She made most of our clothes, which I didn’t truly appreciate until I was in high school and found that my Mom could recreate just about any piece of clothing I wanted and make it uniquely mine, rather than something that came off a rack! She cut out recipes from the newspaper and magazines and came up with creative meals for our family, even when times were hard. She made loaves of bread and pans of cinnamon rolls every week, and even though I envied my classmates sandwiches made out of Wonder Bread, I knew that mine were made with love, which made them oh, so much better.

  16. Kathleen Leader says:

    My favorite artisan farm girl is my youngest daughter who’s 24! Together we create wonderful gifts and decor for family,friends, and us. We waste very little,love to recreate treasures we find and are given. Thank you for ideas you share with us too. To create and recreate makes us very happy farm girls!!

  17. Gaye says:

    I have so many but my fave will always be my youngest daughter! Se we are both Spoonies
    Yet she plants our garden, she draws, writes,bakes,decorates cakes and just so much more. She plans to open a café someday which will no doubt feature only artisan created bounty. I’m very proud of her and the young lady she’s become.

  18. Daizy says:

    Yep….its the women in my life. They aren’t here any longer but both of my Grandmothers taught me soooo much ….I learned to sew on a sewing machine with a pedal. I learned to cook and can from the masters!!! I learned needlework from them also and now I enjoy sewing quilts, like those masters. I miss them but because they taught me so much I feel them near me all the time.

    Hugs and prayers,
    Daizy #1093

  19. Krista says:

    I would have to say that my favorite farmgirl artisan would have to be my grandmother. She was such a strong and powerful woman. She made anything and everything. She was especially gifted in her sewing and cooking. I am blessed to have many of her sewn items in my possession. In particular, some of her homemade Christmas decorations. It is also a blessing to have all of her most wonderful recipes all in one amazing book. Even though we all know mine will never taste just like hers, it’s fun to make her recipes.

  20. Pamela says:

    My favorite farmgirl is my mother in law Kate whom just passed away this last August from cervical cancer. She was the greatest cook and the greatest inspiration to her children and myself. Kate loved to bake and can tomatoes, pickle. The best Granola of a mom. I truly love her and miss her. The HOLIDAY S ARE GOING to be different this year.

  21. Deborah McKissic says:

    I have so many farm girl artisans that have touched my life and taught me so many things…sewing….from my grandmother….I still have her first electric singer sewing machine and sew on it…my mom….who taught me how to bake bread, and shares her knowledge of herbs… grandfather….now he’s not a “farm girl artisan” but a grandfather artisan…who taught me to garden and cook….he was a wonderful cook and a landscape designer by trade….my oldest sister, who ran her own craft store in Gatlinburg, Tenn., and always sends me material and patterns in my “care packages” so my hands will always be busy…

  22. AnnieB says:

    My favorite farmgirl was my grandma who passed away this year at 95. She did it all, gardening, milking, cooking, sewing, stitching, and lots of loving. My mom was single so the four of us kids spent lots of time with grandma and grandpa. My grandma was so fabulous that my career goal, my entire life, was to be as great a grandma as she was. I can only hope I have succeeded.

  23. Kyla Hill says:

    My favorite farmgirl artisan is my mentor Lynn. My mother wasn’t a creative person to her own acknowledgement but wanted to feed my passion for creating the best she could, so she contacted a lady in our church to mentor me. She took me to tea parties, fashion shows, home shows, fabric stores, fairs and more. After each event, I had to pick my favorite item : recipe, clothing, home decor item etc and recreate but in my own sense. She taught me what I didn’t know, encouraged me to learn new things on my own, and even taught me to catch crawdaddies! For the past year I have been working in a floral shop as a flower girl. My mentor came to me with our Autumn wreath for the church and had me repair and decorate it. Just recently she gave me the privilege of challenging me to spruce up the church’s many evergreen decors for this year’s Advent ceremony. I am looking forward to the challenge and am grateful that even all these years later she is still mentoring me and challenging me!

  24. Idamarie Settlemyer says:

    I’m thinking the feed sack stocking lady! now I have all kinds of ideas about what to do with my collection of burlap bags!

  25. Toni Kay Bennett says:

    As a new subscriber, Erin is my favorite so far! Her spoon creation remind me of my mom, who had several spoon rings she loved. I have the only one left, and can’t really wear rings as an RN. Erin’s beautiful work makes me think I can use my jewelry tolls and possibly fashion a pendant out of my treasure!

  26. My Mother-in-law is my favorite artisan farmgirl. She and my Father-in-law started organically gardening a few years ago. They work in their garden from sun-up until sun down Mom is and avid sewer and knitter as well. She has dabbled in painting, and wool felting as well. She is a great cook and baker. Both she and Dad are super generous with everything. I am blessed to be married to their son and to call them my family.

  27. Sydney2015 says:

    My favorite farm girl artisan would have to be MaryJane! You make such amazing things and you inspire me to do something great!

  28. Leslie says:

    I’m most inspired by Amanda Blake Soule. She’s a blogger who homeschools, gardens, knits, sews and crafts. I do many of the same activities although I crochet rather than knit. Also I bake bread from fresh-ground grains and can a bit more.

  29. Lindsay Bruns says:

    My favorite farm girl artisan is quilt designer, Lori Holt. Lori’s designs and her excellent use of color come together to create captivating quilts.

    Thank you for asking!

  30. Janet schmidt says:

    Years ago I grew up in a very small town. I became a nurse, married, and have 2 wonderful daughters. We live on a beautiful country setting and obtain this by choice. My husband grew up in the country and loved everyday. We wanted our children to experience the same. We have sheep, chickens, ducks,cats, dogs,and had horses & pigs. Our gardens are huge and plentiful for all. We love the hard work, and are grateful for all & what we have learned. We would not change anything. To name my favorite farm girl artisan – would not be just one but every aspect of a simpler, quiet, country life!!!

  31. deb church says:

    i can’t pick just one. i have always admired the handiwork of anyone who was passionate about their craft, be it sewing, pottery, doll making, painting, playing an instrument or whatever they enjoy making. it is all inspiring.

  32. Joan H says:

    My favorite farmgirl (at heart) artisan is one of my bff’s Diane. Born in Poland, raised in NYC, she grew up with old world customs. We met about 15 years ago and she taught this city girl (Phoenix) the value of scratch cooking while expanding my quilting world. A few years ago she bought a long-arm machine and she immediately demonstrated real talent. I love her!

  33. Carolyn Shaffer says:

    My favorite farmgirl artisan is half of a couple, Anne Bosch, with her husband Marc Robertson. Together they own Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill ( They make amazing wool yarn out in the country in their own woolen mill! Although you will only see their beautiful yarns if you go to their website, they have a lovely residence in a rural Wisconsin area and are living the farm life to the fullest!

  34. Billie Cox says:

    Mom was my favorite. She canned all of our food, took care of chickens, had a garden,had a milk cow and made butter. Those were the good honest days. I miss mom very much.

  35. The local arisan farm girl is Shelly Poetter, who started a scrap book retreat in our neighborhood called the Country Cottage east of Blue Earth, MN.
    She is a talented hostess and crafter!

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GIVEAWAY: “Lost Ocean, Magic Happens”

In the Dec/Jan issue of MaryJanesFarm, “Magic Happens” (on newsstands Nov. 10), I led you here to my daily journal for a chance to win the beautiful coloring book, Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure & Coloring Book, that appears on the back cover.

Written and illustrated by Johanna Basford, creator of Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest, Lost Ocean invites kids and adults alike to discover an enchanting underwater world hidden in the depths of the sea. Through intricate pen and ink illustrations to complete, color, and embellish, readers will meet shoals of exotic fish, curious octopuses, and delicately penned seahorses; visit coral reefs and barnacle-studded shipwrecks; and discover intricate shells and pirate treasure.

For a chance to win Johanna’s book, tell me what your favorite indoor winter pastime is in the comments below by Dec. 1. I’ll toss your name into a hat and draw a lucky winner the second week of December. Stay tuned for more magazine-related giveaways!

If you’re not yet a subscriber to my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Ohhh, this looks like lots of fun! Immediately, the Beatles song popped into my head: “I want to be, Under the Sea, in an Octopus’s garden…”

  2. Heidi M says:

    Winter is my favorite time of year! I love the colder temps, and enjoy the days when the snowfall helps us all slow down a bit. When the snow is falling, my home feels warmer inside, and my mood is more relaxed. During this time, I love to curl up in a chair, and read MaryJane’s Farm or a book. The kids and I also enjoy a great game of Clue!

  3. Rhonda Bowdy says:

    I read a lot, knit,find new recipes to try. I still garden in the winter because I live in Florida.

  4. Kim Rountree says:

    My favorite indoor winter activity is reading a good book while snuggling under one of my favorite quilts made by my mom.

  5. Lois Lantz says:

    My favorite indoor winter pastime is crocheting and crafting. Although I live in sunny South Florida, I like to pretend I’m back in the cold winters with a fireplace, cozy cup of coffee, and nice, warm comforter. 🙂

  6. Merry Jones says:

    My favorite pastime is cookie baking with mom, a tradition we have done since I was a little girl. I also love to sew toys for my kids and nieces and nephews, winter is the perfect time to cozy up and craft.


  7. Bobbie calgaro says:

    I always love to read but a good jigsaw puzzle is my favorite.

  8. Valerie says:

    My favorite winter activity is to curl up in a cozy spot with a good book or my crochet.

  9. Frances says:

    My favorite indoor winter pastime is curling up like a ball in my red blanket with a cup of hot mocha and watch Christmas movies when it’s raining outside.

  10. Marcy says:

    I have her Enchanted Forest coloring book and I just love it. I never thought I would want to color again but I am loving it! It’s so calming and it helps keep me centered and helps me just breathe and be in the moment. Thank you so much for the chance!

  11. CJ Armstrong says:

    First of all, thank you for the opportunity to participate in this giveaway. I’ve just gotten back into coloring, having found a neat adult coloring book at Michaels.

    Favorite past time for me in the winter would be papercrafting with sewing coming in as a close second which would be in contention with playing the piano!

    Thank you again!

  12. Teri Schneider says:

    I love to sew in the winter because it seems so restful to me…just like winter 🙂 And this year I have something special to work on. My daughter is getting married next April and we are making a “guest quilt” for everyone to sign at the reception. Soooo, looking forward to it!

  13. Susan Boysen says:

    Favorite indoor winter pastime…big pot of homemade soup on the stove, fire in wood stove, and knitting in hand! Coziness…

  14. Jenn Thompson says:

    Enjoy time with my family around the fireplace 😀. Keeping cozy and warm playing games, reading books or a good movie.

  15. Melia says:

    My favorite indoor winter activity…there are so many! I like working on crafts and have plans to get a lot of sewing done this winter. Love hanging out with friends and family watching movies too. I do love being outside playing in the snow though too!

  16. Laurie says:

    I live in the south so winter isn’t that big of a deal most of the time. I can still cycle and I still need to mow my lawn (when I bought my house 3 years ago I inherited a yard with grass that grows in the winter!), but I do enjoy baking. I have a wild Alaskan sourdough starter that I bake with and love it! I share my goodies with all my neighbors – they love it too. 🙂

  17. Patti Calandra says:

    In the past few years, I have taken up knitting and I enjoy creating something that will keep someone warm.

  18. Jeri-Lyn Walsh says:

    My favorite winter project is working on a paint by number kit, usually of flowers or landscapes. Come February though, it’s all about picking out seeds to grow in the garden and getting them started!

  19. Kathleen Leader says:

    In the cozy winter months I love to create. I color, make journals of all kinds, knit ,quilt and sew. I share these with friends and family. I also love watching birds I feed.

  20. Marianne Labokey says:

    I love cooking, baking in the winter

  21. Frannie LoGrasso says:

    I love crocheting and scrapbooking with my daughters, then we join the couches together and enjoy popcorn and a movie with my hubby and our two dogs. Makes for a cozy night

  22. Jaylyn M. says:

    I really like to just play games like boggle or read books. We put on our Fireplace for Your Home dvd and pretend we’re sitting around a fire 🙂

  23. Sharon Wells says:

    I enjoying knitting in my rocking chair by the cast iron stove. Oh yeah, and eating homemade, warm out of the oven chocolate chip cookies.

  24. Cathy R says:

    In the winter I look forward to snuggling by a cozy fire and read non-fiction books while something wonderful is baking in the oven. Just got my first adult coloring book and colored pencils and waiting for that first snowy day to get back into something I love as a child! Blessings!!!

  25. Annette Carpenter says:

    Snuggling under a blanket by the fire with a good book and a big pot of soup simmering in my cast iron pot.

  26. Vicki Lee says:

    I love a day inside where I can curl up with a good book and just read. I am a public librarian so can always find that perfect good book.

  27. Emmy kats says:

    Baking and coffee roasting.

  28. Jennifer grabinski says:


  29. Hannah Harrelson says:

    I enjoy finding new sweet potato recipes and cooking the sweet potatoes that I dug up from the fall! On those cold winter days nothing welcomes you home better then the delicious smells of sweet potato delights!

  30. Delene Alexander says:

    For me winter means lots of football, I like to color in my coloring book as I watch. I also read a lot, no matter the season.

  31. Dianne Rider says:

    A good book, a comfy quilt, and my kitty Sophie on my lap. A nice glass of white wine is sometimes in the mix as well. The times I most like to color is when I am flying. So many people on the plane smile and nod, which I interpret to mean they wish they had thought of it! What a great way to pass the time and, because I am a nervous flyer, coloring naturally relaxes me. Love, love, love it !!

  32. Amy Kehoe says:

    I love working with fiber, spinning of knitting in front of my fireplace and a hot cup of coffee by my side.

  33. Idamarie Settlemyer says:

    My son gave me a small adult coloring book to “meditate” with while he was on his motorcycle trip to Utah. I’m addicted! And this one looks especially delightful! But if I don’t have a coloring book, I love winter evenings making rag time quilts. Again, very therapeutic!

  34. Amanda says:

    The wintertime is perfect for snuggling under a warm blanket, sipping a cup of herbal tea and reading a good book.

  35. Shaina M says:

    My favorite indoor pastimes are playing with my 1 year old little girl, baking goodies, and crocheting with a fat hook.

  36. Margie Cunningham says:

    My favorite winter pastime includes cooking, baking and putting together jig saw puzzles near the fire.

  37. Krista says:

    I love adult coloring books and this underwater one sounds so exciting. I would have to say my favorite indoor winter pastime would have to be wood crafting or putting together a good Christmas puzzle. Both of these pastimes are perfect with background Christmas music or a Christmas movie. I just love these pastimes when it’s cold and snowing outside.

  38. Larranie says:

    I love to curl up with a good book, favorite drink, and comfy loungey wear… well anytime not just cooler months. Now, It’s holiday time and I sit down with my planner and detail what I plan to do for others…visit someone I haven’t seen in awhile; write a long letter to a far away pal; put together something handcrafted for a surprise! These are now days I don’t need to be running around in bad weather on messy roadways.. I am encouraged to mediate now more then ever to find peace within myself and enjoy each moment with those in my life.

  39. Jennafer Disbro says:

    Quilting and reading.

  40. Kelly Dewey says:

    Spending time with my family. Holiday crafts with my little one. Making delicious cozy recipes to warm the house and our bellies 🙂

  41. Teresa Moore says:

    I love to sit by a fire with a cup of hot chocolate and read a good book.

  42. Vanessa Bugge says:

    My favorite indoor winter activity would probably be listening to music and reading with a fire in the fireplace and tea to drink, while cozied up on the sofa with a blankie.

  43. Gaye says:

    Baking! Bread cookies, even better with kids around. Alternatively when I need peace and quiet, I like to curl up with Mary Janes Farm and a cup of tea/cocoa/hotcider/hot toddy…

  44. Carole koon says:

    My favorite indoor past time on the weekend winter’s is to journal and watch public television. I love art and garden, building and farming. Around the farm table this old house antique road show and the many cooking shows. I get to scetching and writing lots of ideas for creating. Your magazine ignites those ideas for me too.

  45. Corine Runnion says:

    Weaving, stained glass, card making.

  46. Ellen Mohler says:

    Looking through seed catalogs!

  47. Cindy Parker says:

    Curling up by the fireplace with a book and a mug of hot cocoa

  48. Troi Hackett says:

    After finishing evening chores,I luv the chance to sit with a cup of hot tea under an Afghan, and either hand quilt, crochet, or my newest crafting punch needle. Winter evenings sure help make up for the busy hay season of late summer/harvest.

  49. Becky Lorge says:

    I enjoy sewing, cross stitch, painting, playing piano, spending extra time with my cats, rabbits, chickens, birds and dog. To totally relax – warm soak, followed by hot tea, a good book or an old movie, next to the fireplace of course. 🙂

  50. Wehaf says:

    I love to curl up and read by the fire!

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GIVEAWAY: “Welcoming Winter’s Birds, Magic Happens”

In the Dec/Jan issue of MaryJanesFarm, “Magic Happens” (on newsstands Nov. 10), I led you here to my daily journal for a chance to win a 10-pack of organic, vegetarian suet to help welcome winter’s birds into your back yard.


If you’ve ever paused beside a window in wintertime, warm coffee cup in hand, and watched a sprightly flock of songbirds flitting among the branches of your back yard, you’ve been blessed. For a chance to win a 10-pack of assorted organic, vegetarian suet to welcome them (from the aptly named company, Birds Don’t Eat Cows), tell me about the winter birds in your area in the comments below by Dec. 1. I’ll toss your name into a hat and draw a lucky winner the second week of December. Stay tuned for more magazine-related giveaways!

If you’re not yet a subscriber to my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.

  1. terry steinmetz says:

    I love to watch the birds all winter long. They lift my spirits each day! I have for the most part chickadees, nuthatches, purple finches, bluejays, pileated woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers,hairy woodpeckers, and winter wrens. Occasionally, we see rose-breasted grosbeaks, too. Oh I almost forgot about the flickers that visit my birdfeeder.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    We keep suet out all year because our Downy and Red Headed woodpeckers come daily to feed on it. In the winter, we have various migrating birds who visit our backyard including Goldfinches, Purple Finches and Robins. Since we live in the city, we don’t have the full spectrum of the many other species that are known to be here as well. My favorite migrating birds are the Sand Hill Cranes. They will be coming very soon as it usually coincides with Thanksgiving. I love lying in bed at night and hearing them calling to each other as they arrive my the light of the night sky to a prairie loaded with food of all kinds for them. Their arrival always gives me a sense of being a part of our planet and seeing their V in the sky is one of the best gifts of a Florida Fall.

  3. Janice Slater says:

    I am blessed to have a beautiful backyard, although a bit fallish looking now. I have always fed the birds outside my patio door and arranged a garden to attract hummingbirds. During winter months I hang suet from the branches of my Apple tree. We have many varieties visit, sparrows, goldfinch, and more. The most interesting visitors we have watched this summer and fall are a family of woodpeckers. They tried for a couple of days to figure out a way to land on bird hangars meant for smaller birds. They are now very adept at clutching the sides, upside down, hanging on for dear life, successfully eating away! Birds are amazing creatures that I have enjoyed my entire life. Enjoy your day everyone.

  4. Dawn pilat says:

    My favorite winter bird story is the time I was hanging christmas lights and I noticed a few chickadees flitting around. I went in the garage and got some sunflower seeds in my hand. Soon the chickadees were coming and taking the seed from my hand! Truly magical!

  5. drMolly says:

    We enjoy feeding the birds all year long. In the warm seasons it is the hummingbirds, but in the cold seasons it is all of the lovely little birds that over winter here on our part of the Palouse. We have Gold Finches that stay all year plus Chickadees, SnowBirds, Sparrows of many varieties and other Finches, too. Plus when we are very lucky we have Quail come into town and visit the ground under our feeder to get what the little birds have let fall to the ground. Oh yes, and on occasion we have Flickers come to the suet feeder.
    We feed only black sunflower seeds & thistle seed. There is less waste this way as the birds don’t pick through & “throw out” the seed they don’t want to eat.

  6. Christie says:

    Last year I made some Suet with my mom, first time ever of making Suet for the birds. I hung mine in the backyard and quite often would see little Chickadees taking a nibble. Very often I don’t feed the birds due to the fact that we have black bears around often and they like to “steal” the food I put out for the birds. I did thoroughly enjoy watching the Chickadees that did get a chance to enjoy the Suet my mom and I made, my children also enjoyed watching them. 🙂 We have a number of birds here, but mostly I have seen Chickadees, Red Cardinals, Blue Birds, and always a Crow or Raven hanging around.

  7. Teri Schneider says:

    Oh my gosh! I’m so, so excited! I saw my first pileated woodpecker yesterday in our neck of the woods. We’ve had Downys, Harrys, and Red bellied, but this was a first 🙂 Love, love, love my birds 🙂

  8. Krista says:

    The main birds that we have visiting our house are bluebirds and quails. We feed our bluebirds whole peanuts and the quails enjoy bird seed. It amazing to watch the quails move around the backyard in packs. There is always a large family of them traveling around together. It’s also enjoyable watching the bluebirds grab the peanuts and open them. I have also watched the bluebirds hide the peanuts for later use. The bluebirds look so beautiful outside up against freshly fallen white snow. Occasionally we have smaller birds fly threw but not as frequent as our bluebirds and quails.

  9. Linda says:

    I love watching the birds that I see in my yard. In the summer there are a lot of hummingbirds, robins, lots of cardinals and finches, blue jays, and woodpeckers. I put up 2-3 hummingbird feeders and at times I have had 15-20 hummingbirds around my feeders at the same time – all vying for a chance at the feeders. I have a wire Christmas tree I put up in my yard in the winter and I like to decorate it for the birds with popcorn strings and suet cakes. It is so refreshing to see the tree and the feeders full of birds.

  10. Corine Runnion says:

    We love to have a variety of birds and would lije to make some suet nut seed balls to hang in the tree.

  11. I’ve been feeding birds “forever”. When I rented and upstairs apartment from my dad in Wisconsin until 2006, I would feed birds on the front “porch” upstairs, and my dad just barely tolerated it because of the mess and because I would be walking on the roof of his sunroom downstairs. Dad transitioned to his spirit side in 2006, and I thank him for allowing me to make the mess. When I moved to Greensboro NC, I really went crazy and purchased all kinds of feeders for my “backyard” as I face a small 1-acre “woods” between my patio and the busy street beyond. Wild Birds Unlimited has been a happy recipient of my addiction, and most of my feeds came from their excellent, healthy seeds/suet/nuts etc. When I retired in 2014 my income required that I tone down my enthusiasm for my critters (yes, not just birds, but also squirrels, chipmunks, oppossum, and the occassional turkeys or deer that lost their way crossing busy Friendly Avenue going from the 400+ acre woods of Guilford College to investigate the stands of “woods” interspersed between the residences and apartment buildings and pond on “our side” of the street. Winters here consist more of rain and sleet. But when there is sleet, I get hundreds of all types of birds at my feeders even though my normal is a few dozen all year round, and many dozens of migrators at various migration periods. Until winter requires me to feed more critters, I am down to just 4 feeders and suet and ground feeding. milka

  12. Melissa Bennett says:

    Love my birds in the winter. Get to see who sticks around!! it’s just as soothing as watching my fish tank. Love my birds!! Hope everyone enjoys their winter birds. Stay warm!

  13. Chrissy says:

    The variety of birds varies with intensity of the weather. My favorite is the one I’m watching at the moment. I cannot watch a nuthatch without smiling at his upside down antics in his tuxedo. When I hear a chickadee, the mantra in my head is always “chick-chickadee, chick-chickadee.” In the summer, when I hear a blue jay’s raucous calls, sounding like “CAT-CAT-CAT,” it’s the announcement there is one skulking around. The little mews of the finches are sweet to hear. The gentle clicks tell me a titmouse is present. At dawn, just after noon and at dusk, I hear my pair of cardinals. When the wren comes in the early summer, singing his love song, I hope his bride and he choose a home wisely, and not in a traffic area, because his bumble-bee warning can be rather annoying.
    I feed sunflower seed in a hanging feeder and on the ground. The squirrels will eat from the ground (until supply is depleted) and the cardinals and doves graze there as well. A wild bird mix is in a hanging tube because it’s okay to have sparrows. There is a sock with thistle seed for the finches. The flicker and downy woodpeckers search the bark for hidden treasure and are drawn by the suet feeders.

  14. Muffy Myers says:

    My favorite bird in the winter is the cardinals that decorate the trees behind our house. Especially when there is snow. The striking red males look amazing against a snowy white backdrop.

  15. Sharon Jeanne says:

    Waiting for the first winter’s snow and the tiny, little chikadees to start hopping about looking for breakfast. The cardinals and bluejays are engaged in a daily contest right now to see who can eat the most before the early sun settles.

  16. Amy Kehoe says:

    I am always excited to see a cardinal’s beautiful burgundy feathers in the winter against a snowy backdrop. I especially love the females. They just seem to have a precious secret to keep.

  17. patricia whitworth says:

    To see such beauty on drab winter days is the joy that feeding the birds bring.

  18. Bonnie ellis says:

    Those stellar Jay’s are so beautiful in the snow. We have blue jays here. They are eye-catching too.

  19. Bobbie calgaro says:

    Gosh, I just love the birds from the little tufted titmice to the Hawks and even those ugly headed turkey vultures. The bluebirds stay with us all year. If the robins leave they are not gone long, my feeder has red birds, blue jays, juncos, chickadees, red breasted woodpeckers. A lot of times I’ll see flickers and occasionally goldfinches. North Catolina is rich with winter birds

  20. Jaylyn M. says:

    So, I have no idea what the bird scene will be like around Houston this winter. This is our first year here! The neighbors have said that the migrated birds are so loud that you can barely hear anything else if you’re outdoors. We shall wait and see!

  21. Jacqui says:

    I have enjoyed watching birds all my life but even more so the past two years. My grandson, Ethan, loves to sit outside on my back porch and listen to the birds in the yard. He calls the Cardinals “Red” when he hears them. He points in the direction of their calls from one side of the yard to the other. He is also fascinated with a Red tail Hawk that frequents a neighbors yard & flies around mine.

  22. Deon Matzen says:

    I have a friend who is a triplegic (lost the use of three limbs) Three years ago she was moved to a sheltered care facility. For the first year she had a outside room where the employees would scatter apples outside the residents windows and the deer would come up to feed. The last two years she has had a room on a courtyard with no access for the deer. Last Christmas I bought her a suet bird feeder so the birds would come to her window. She always had feeders when she lived on her own and missed the outside animals a lot. Now they come right up to her window and she can watch and paint them in watercolor while they are just a few feet away. If I am the recipient of the suet cakes, they will go to my friends so she can continue to enjoy the birds just outside her window.

  23. Kathleen Leader says:

    I have a large back yard that I love to fill with beautiful home made feeders bird baths and suet feeders. The squirrels like to join in too. Every now and again the deer help themselves to soon treats as well. Orange slices popcorn apple slices add color and fun to feeding our outdoor friends all year.

  24. Cathy R says:

    I enjoy all the birds that visit our Idaho hill! And the other wild creatures that want a treat too! Thanks for the fun giveaways!

  25. Vicki Lee says:

    Where we live in rural South Dakota I don’t see many winter birds. We have a lot of sparrows. The birds we enjoy are the wild Pheasants (SD state bird) and hopefully, Pin Tail Grouse. But, if I am chosen to receive the suet I will keep track of what birds come to our ranch to eat.

  26. Idamarie Settlemyer says:

    I love watching all the birds! and tempting them close to the deck with suet cakes and peanut butter cones dipped in wild bird seed. The precious little finches get black thistle seed and the beautiful quail get the cracked corn. Make sure they all have a water source as well!

  27. Amy Wray says:

    I enjoy the cardinals, blue jays, red-headed woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers and chickadees that visit our feeders each winter. I especially enjoy watching them with my grandbabies! We keep a bird guide nearby to identify our birds.

  28. Mary Pitman says:

    We love to watch the birds at the feeders in the winter. We have cardinals and juncos and bluebirds sometimes and last year I saw a bird that we’d not ever seen. I looked it up in my bird book, and it said they are native to Arizona. But I live in Oklahoma! such a pretty red bird it was!

  29. Cheryl Ayers says:

    Moved to the alleghany mountains almost six years ago. Always dreamed of country life and this area is absolutely beautiful. One of my favorite things is my bird feeder. Have suet year round and also hummingbird feeder in the summer. There are downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, pileated, red bellied woodpecker, nuthatches, blue jays, juncos, chickadees, and some passerbys. And of course chipmunks, bears, deers, flying squirrel, red and grey squirrels, foxes, porcupines, raccoons, all like to sneak in for a few bites of the suet. Their antics, the whose next on feeder, and insistence I fill it when empty keep me amused no matter how bad the day. This year my pairs of woodpeckers all brought their babies to eat and they have stayed.

  30. I live in a mostly wooded farmette and have a lot of standing dead trees. These are ” magnets” for all the woodpeckers ! I have 2 pileated woodpecker couples whom I see (and hear – oh boy are they loud! ) all the time. They are truly impressive birds . But lets not forget all the smaller woodpeckers like downies, ladderbacks, red headed, red breasted.etc. too. And scads of flickers as well. Of course with my woods and the 100 acres of undeveloped woodland behind my farmette I have every other kind of bird that you could ask for in the eastern seaboard. Yes, even water birds like egrets, great blue herons, snow geese , and such as we have a wildlife sanctuary with a huge lake and much water very nearby. And the most impressive of all are all the owls ! I don’t often see them but hear them at night.This area is renowned for its owls. I could sure use some help feeding everyone!

  31. Alise says:

    Chickadees and cardinals! I’ve watched them since I was young- I will never get tired of them.

  32. Wehaf says:

    We have lots of songbirds and often see cardinals as well.

  33. Ann says:

    Winter finds chickadees, and titmouse plentiful at the feeder. Woodpeckers brighten it up. I enjoy watching them all. Of course we also share with the squirrels who can eat so much so quickly!

  34. Deborah McKissic says:

    I have an old flowering cherry tree outside my living room window…I call it my “four seasons” tree as it is lovely no matter the season….an old, old tree,…but, the birds love it and the feeders we hang there…I love the tiny chickadees…like they are all dressed up for dinner in their tiny black and white suits! The cardinals red color against the pine trees with snow on them is so eye catching…the woodpeckers are the crazy ones…except the downy woodpeckers….and the rose breasted grosbeaks, they are just so pretty with that flash of red on their chest….there is also a Carolina wren living in the cherry a hole…..and she sure is loud….but she loves peanuts and the suet feeders…and, we have a lot of goldfinches and I leave my Echinacea standing as they pull out the seeds all winter…

  35. Toni Kay Bennett says:

    I just recently was able to start feeding my birds again, and I especially love my downy woodpeckers and the cardinals. The splashes of red, white, black and darker red of the female cardinals always brighten a dreary winter day!

  36. We mostly have cardinals, nuthatches, tufted titmouses(mice), and chicadees. There are also a variety of woodpeckers.

  37. Sydney2015 says:

    We have cardinals(beautiful), bluejays, finches, woodpeckers, wrens, and a few others. These ones are the main birds that we have around here. My grandmother has a pine tree and under that pine tree she has suet, a bird bath, and many bird feeders. She loves to sit and watch them(so does Sadie, her dog).

  38. Vickie Chandler says:

    I absolutely adore birds all varieties. Right now we still have about 20 finches and sparrows that are wintering over. I look out my kitchen window many times a day and watch them feed and fight, they are so cute. I put out alot of suet over wintertime and really enjoy the red headed woodpeckers who come to visit. My all time favorite bird is the darling little chickadees

  39. Elaina j monk says:

    We are grateful to have a small cottage by a county park were we can watch eagles and osbrey dive for fish in the warmer months we have bluebird boxes and bird feeders a crow who likes left over noodles and this year a racing pigeon took a rest and refuel on our metal roof for two days.😊

  40. Emily Mathews says:

    In Chicago, our winter birds are hardy. We have a cardinal who trumpets his morning call as I walk down the alley with our dog. The sparrows drain our feeder as soon as we can fill it up. Pigeons flock at the park and on electrical wires. Occasionally we’ll see something more exotic like a crow or jay, but our sparrows, cardinals and pigeons entertain to no end.

  41. Judy Dick says:

    In Birmingham, Alabama our birds are happy and full. On our feeder we have Chickadees,
    Nuthatches, Doves, Sparrows, Cardinals, Blue Birds (who raised 3 families this summer), wrens, titmice, finches, crows, Cooper’s Hawk and or Chicken Hawks, Great Horn Owls, brown thrushes, and occasionally Blue Jays. They share with the many squirrels and chipmunks and have plenty of trees with plenty of holes to live in and store their food. Many sleep under our decks and on our decks and feel free to fly through even when we are standing or sitting on the decks. We get to see and hear their calls and songs of joy and sometimes fear when Mr. hawk decides to come calling. Most entertaining and definitely a learning experience daily.

  42. Karen Ringen says:

    I’m a tour guide at the local cemetery and I spend every season there birdwatching. My favorites are the Tufted Titmouse and the Dark-eyed Junco.

  43. deb church says:

    we have lots of titmouse, chickadees, cardinals. at certain times there are finches, the purple finches are so pretty. doves are here sometimes. grosbeaks will be here closer to spring. and occasionally we have to get the bird book out to try to identify some.

  44. Joan H says:

    I left my birthplace, Phoenix, two years ago, with the love of my life. We live near his birthplace now, rural NE Arkansas. What a difference. I had never seen geese fly over, or cardinals either. I’m loving it!

  45. Linda Kowal says:

    When we purchased our dream home I became an avid bird-watcher. 19 years and 2 bird-watching granddaughters later the thrill is still there. It’s mesmerizing to watch the cardinals, finches, chickadees and junco’s flit and fly and land to feed. My oldest granddaughter Leah gets as excited as I do when we see a “new” bird. We also love spring’s arrival which is announced by the arrival of hummingbirds and orioles. I will never forget 3 weeks ago when a mourning dove sized bird landed on top of my bluebird house. There was something different about his coloring and then I saw his beak and claws-I had a HAWK! I raced for my bird book and sure enough it was a broad-winged hawk. He took off with such power my bird house swung back and forth like a swing. We are definitely a bird loving household and an eco- friendly one:filtered water,recycling,composting and use organic.

  46. MaJo Roof says:

    My husband and I love to feed and watch the birds in our backyard in Ohio. We feed them black oiled sunflower seed, thistle and suet. In the summertime, hummingbirds are the favorite. It’s always sad to see them leave come late October. We have cardinals, chickadees and finches all year, but as winter gets close, we start seeing the nuthatch, titmouse and juncos. Downy woodpeckers come around more in the winter and we love feeding them suet. It’s always so exciting when we see a new bird at the feeders!!

  47. Carolyn Shaffer says:

    I live near the Wisconsin River, so there are a lot of birds that visit the area. Just this week, I saw around 500 sandhill cranes on their trip south after having spent the summer here. It is truly amazing! However, in winter, I am so lucky to be able to see eagles that stay year around to fish on the river. They are so beautiful and majestic, though cardinals are the most colorful winter visitors.

  48. Liisa says:

    I really enjoy watching my backyard birds during the winter months, and am working on adding a wider variety of feeders and food in attempt to attract a wider variety of birds. Most commonly, we see nuthatches, chickadees, blue jays, juncos, cardinals, and hairy and downy woodpeckers. I am participating in Project FeederWatch for the first time this year. Thank you for the opportunity to win some organic suet for my feathered friends. 🙂

  49. Katherine says:

    Living in the frozen northeast we always fed the birds during the cold winter months. The Chickadees would be so brave and eat right from our hands. Even the Chipmunks would become so accustomed to us they would perch on a knee or boot and take seeds from our hands. Now that I live in S.C. the winters aren’t as cold and I wonder who I feed the birds for, me or them. But the excitement is always there.

  50. Leisa Joan says:

    I live in SW New Hampshire, so we have a lot of blue jays, chickadees, house wrens, and cardinals. i like to put out lots of different kinds of bird seed to attract them into my yard, plus a heated water bath.

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GIVEAWAYS: “Magic Happens”

Stay tuned all this week for giveaways from our Dec/Jan issue, “Magic Happens.” You’ll find giveaways for the books Lost Ocean and Art Quilts of the Midwest; a beautiful spoon-handle pendant from the cleverly named Girl Ran Away with the Spoon; some vegetarian suet from my article, “Welcoming Winter’s Birds,” and my handmade canteen wall vase from the article, “Holiday Décor from Vintage Finds.”

Look for each post this week to enter for your chance to win these fabulous prizes!

Tuesday: “Welcoming Winter’s Birds, Magic Happens”
Wednesday: “Lost Ocean, Magic Happens”
Thursday: “Girl Ran Away, Magic Happens”
Friday: “Canteen Wall Vase, Magic Happens”
Saturday: “Art Quilts of the Midwest, Magic Happens”

“Magic Happens” will hit newsstands tomorrow, Nov. 10. If you’re a subscriber, you’ve probably received your magazine by now. If you’re not yet a subscriber to my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.

  1. Kim Rountree says:

    Would love to win coloring book for my daughter.

  2. Kim Rountree says:

    I love this magazine. Would love to win the coloring book for my 23 year old daughter. She used to color while in college to ease stress. Now she’s graduated but hasn’t been able to find employment in her field. I would love for her to be able to enjoy coloring away her stress.

  3. Janice Slater says:

    Looking forward to your blog each day. Enjoy your magazine to much.

  4. Anna christine says:

    LOVE This magazine!!! My aunt renews my subscription every year for my bday, favorite gift!!! smiles from the mailbox 😉

  5. Kathleen Leader says:

    I love to color! It’s so relaxing and yet so creative. I would treasure a beautiful color book that this book is,thank you for the chance to win this treasure.

  6. Gloriana Smith says:

    I love to color as well! It is so relaxing and makes me feel a little more creative! It’s definitely one of my favorite winter pastime. 🙂 Thank you for this magazine! I absolutely love it! Keep up the good work!

  7. Nita Denise says:

    Love coloring books as well as MaryJane’s Farm. Found my first issue at a tractor supply store and subscribed immediately! I’m also a quilter, so Art Quilts of the Midwest would be just wonderful! Not sure if I need to leave multiple comments for each book or wait for some announcement…will watch this space to find out, I suppose.

  8. Barbara kull says:

    Lost Ocean would love to win!

  9. Debra Seaman says:

    Thank you for the opportunity to win this wonderful book!

  10. Cassandra Brungardt says:

    In the winter I like to do all sorts of ‘hand work’ as my aunt use to call it because once spring is here it’s time to work in the garden. I like to knit, crochet, sew and embroidery. I do love to color.

  11. Betty Sterling says:

    My favorite winter indoor activity is creating beaded jewelry. Coloring is becoming a close second. Have fallen in deep infatuation with the new coloring books.

  12. Kate Foley says:

    My favorite winter pastime is crafting with my seaglass that I’ve collected all summer. I love anything ocean related, and I would love to win your beautiful “Lost Ocean” coloring book!

  13. Carolyn Shaffer says:

    My favorite winter pastime is reading, followed by watching movies while knitting. If I could do this while allowing the snow to remain unshovelled, that would be even better.

  14. Leisa Joan says:

    One of my favorite winter activities is making cookies & homemade hot chocolate for me & my girls, especially after being out in the snow, or shoveling it….

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WINNERS!!! Giveaway: “Mountain Rose Herbs, Hanky Panky”

The FOUR winners of my “Mountain Rose Herbs, Hanky Panky” Injur-Heal Balm giveaway are:

Mary Jane Grellner, who said:

“I have supported organics for a very long time. We used to grow all our own vegetables and give some to food banks when possible. I canned about 200 jars a year and loved doing this, but then we moved to a really small house when we retired with a little backyard. Now we feed a host of hummingbirds and have put up 10 bird houses and a bird bath for our feathered friends to enjoy. I just found your magazine and LOVED it immediately; will be a new subscriber today!”

Sharon Wegmeyer, who said:

“I serve on the board of our local Farmers’ Market. If possible, I always purchase either local or organic and buy as little as possible from big box stores. We grow some of our own organic produce in our backyard garden and are hoping to purchase some acreage soon!!!”

Jillian, who said:

“I love Mountain Rose Herbs. I recently ordered a ridiculous amount of essential oils. I had been given some by a rep for an MLM, but balked at the price for tiny bottles. I have been a customer for years with Mountain Rose, so I went back to them when needing oils. I’m glad I did. I love their tea, as well. I drank a pregnancy blend the entire pregnancy with my youngest. I wish I had known about it with my oldest of the two.”

Pearl Maxner, who said:

“I support organic agriculture by growing organic; raising organically fed chickens, ducks, and goats; and buying from local organic farmers. We make sure when we do have to buy from afar, we buy trade-free organics. The earth is so bountiful! We spread the word as far as we can to educate others as well.”

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Congratulations Farmgirls! This is the perfect gift to keep in your purse for that unexpected need.

  2. Krista says:

    Congratulations Mary Jane, Sharon, Jillian, and Pearl! Enjoy your new organic balm. This is definitely something to keep around for all those aches and pains you may get. Thanks Jillian for the input on the pregnancy blend tea. I will be checking into that today!

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WINNER!!! Giveaway: “Crafting a Colorful Home, Hanky Panky”

The winner of my “Crafting a Colorful Home, Hanky Panky” giveaway is: Robin Lovinggood, who said:

“Yellow is my favorite; its brightness and light just make me feel good. But I also love red and white together in my bedroom. And pops of all colors around me I every room.”


And the original post for the GIVEAWAY was (thank you to the 61 women who shared their “colorful” comments!):

In the Oct/Nov issue of my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, “Hanky Panky” (on newsstands Sept. 15), I led you here to my daily journal for a chance to win a copy of Kristin Nicholas’ book, Crafting a Colorful Home.

I featured Kristin’s colorfully craft-abulous creativity with lots of photos that will inspire you to bring color into your life. The book, “a room-by-room guide to personalizing your space with color,” gives you both ideas and easy projects that will help you craft your way to a more colorful home.


For a chance to win Kristin’s book, tell me what your favorite color (or combination of colors) is in the comments below. I’ll toss your name into a hat and draw four lucky winners in mid-November, when the Oct/Nov issue expires on newsstands. Stay tuned for more magazine-related giveaways!

If you’re not yet a subscriber to my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.

  1. Shannon Cassidy says:

    I love the combination of neon green and red with a bit of yellow and blue.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Robin, let the magic of color begin for you! Have fun with this book making transformations in your home.

  3. lynn vecciarelli says:

    I love the colors of the Caribbean; teals, blues, yellows and oranges. I look at them in a room and they just make my heart sing and put a smile on my face.

  4. Krista says:

    Congratulations Robin on winning! I hope you will find some amazing ways of transforming your home into yellows, reds, and whites with your new book! Enjoy your new crafting.

  5. sabrina dohm says:

    I love all colours!! but I especially like jewel tone teal and royal purple, somehow it reminds me of peacocks.

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WINNER!!! Giveaway: “RePurpose with Cari, Hanky Panky”

The winner of my “RePurpose with Cari, Hanky Panky” giveaway is: Renee Fisher, who said:

“The trial-sized paints will be perfect to refinish an old wooden picture frame for my very first pastel painting. It’s of a line-up of old canning jars in various sizes and colors that hold staples on my kitchen counter. I loved the challenge of painting the jars to look ‘see through’ like real glass!”


And the original post for the GIVEAWAY was (thank you to the 35 women who shared comments about their upcoming repurposing projects!):

In the Oct/Nov issue of MaryJanesFarm, “Hanky Panky” (on newsstands Sept. 15), I led you here to my daily journal for a chance to win samples of Cari Cucksey’s RePurpose Chroma•Color ReColor Paint in my favorite color combination, turquoise and red.

Cari, the star of HGTV’s Cash & Cari,


“is an antiques matchmaker who runs estate sales, operates a vintage store, and refurbishes just about anything she can get her hands on,” according to her website, Eventually, when people began asking her about where to buy paint for their repurposing projects, she created her own paint and stain line. RePurpose Chroma•Color ReColor Paint is a water-based paint and primer in one with low VOCs that creates a soft, smooth finish and comes in 25 colors. And Cari’s water-based RePurpose ReColor Tinted•Tincture Stain comes in 12 colors.

Enter to win two 4.5-oz “Try-It Size” samples of Chroma•Color ReColor Paint, one in turquoise and one in red, by telling me what you plan to repurpose in the comments below. I’ll toss your name into a hat and draw a lucky winner in mid-November, when the Oct/Nov issue expires on newsstands. Stay tuned for more magazine-related giveaways!

If you’re not yet a subscriber to my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Have fun with your new paints, Renee! Post a photo for us to see what you made with them.

  2. Bobbie calgaro says:

    I have two chairs from my grandparents house that originally came from a Bell telephone office where my aunt worked. They could use a makeover and the paint would be just the thing.

  3. Krista says:

    Congratulations Renee! I can’t wait to see your old wooden picture frame completed with your new paint. That turquoise is so beautiful and just so happens to be my favorite color. I hope you can find many other items to complete with these pretty paints. Have fun and enjoy!

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WINNERS!!! Giveaway: “Filthy Farmgirl, Hanky Panky”

The FIVE winners of my “Filthy Farmgirl, Hanky Panky” soap giveaway are:

Nadine Morton, who said:

“My favorite cleaning idea is to soak the humidifier parts, water-stained jars, and glasses in white vinegar overnight. It does a good job of removing the white residue from our city water.”

Billie Cox, who said:

“Sometimes when I’m cleaning up after my cows, I get the smelly on my hands or on the handle of the rake and I clean my hands with grass until I get to the house.”

Linda Lamphier, who said:

“My favorite clean-up tip involves poison ivy. I am exposed to it frequently as I weed in other people’s yards! Wash as soon as possible with cold water and soap that is not anti-bacterial. Another option is to make a poultice with baking soda and let it dry on the infected skin. Lemon Joy dish soap is mild, and rubbing it directly on the skin until it froths and leaving it to dry works well, too. If you can’t get inside to wash right away, rub gritty sand on your exposed skin to neutralize the oil. With all these options to choose from (and others), I rarely get a rash any more. Making your own DIY laundry soap with Fels-Naptha, borax, and Washing Powder also takes the oils out of your clothes!”

Dawn Pilat, who said:

“Keep a water barrel by the back door and dip your hands in for a quick clean up before you go inside.”

Teresa Stiner, who said:

“I put some vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher before I run it. Helps to keep D/W clean and with rinsing.”

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Enjoy trying out these cool soaps, everyone! I love the wrapping graphics and some of the interesting scent combinations.

  2. Krista says:

    Congratulations Nadine, Billie, Linda, Dawn, and Teresa! Thank you for sharing such great clean up ideas. I will be sure to remember these for future use. I am actually planning on trying out Nadine’s clean up idea today. I have a water-stained item that I want to try soaking in white vinegar.

  3. Linda Pavey says:

    Vinegar and baking soda followed by a pot of hot water down the house drain’s keep them open and fresh – I do this monthly.

  4. Linda says:

    Congratulations to all the winners!

  5. connie says:

    When my grandmother passed away, while going through the items left in the house, came across an old lantern, use by the railroad (my grandfather). Have it hanging up in the basement from the beams. Every time I look at it, I think of them.

  6. Julie Cales says:

    In the wintertime is when I really enjoy cooking and sewing. We don’t care for air-conditioning, so it’s a lot more enjoyable when it’s not so hot, and the outside calls to me in the spring, summer and fall.

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