by CountryThreads on October 7, 2017

Connie and I stopped at the antique mall on our way home last night.  Look at this great wood cutout picture of a Jack Russell Terrier!  I can’t believe I found this piece of folk art which has pencil scribbling on both sides.  I’m hoping I can remove the pencil marks carefully.

I also bought this puppy picture.

And this sewing basket.

I have several sewing baskets like this with much nicer attachments on the lid but I bought it for its contents.  I’ll keep you wondering until the next blog post.

I happened to stop at the thrift store today and found this original oil painting of the Little Brown Church located in Northeast Iowa.  The beauty of this painting is in the artist, Ruth Brown, who lived on the first farm west of us.  She died quite a number of years ago and even though I attended her farm sale, I was not lucky enough to have been able to get one of her paintings.  My heart jumped into my throat when I saw her signature on this painting today.

Ruth was a talented quilter as well as an artist and I wish I had spent more time with her all those years ago.  She had the most beautiful wool braided rug in her dining room that she made with her mother and grandmother when she was a young girl.  We were in the same neighborhood club and one year when their dog kept running away and would show up here, we agreed that I should keep the dog.  That was Red, one of our golden retrievers.

Both Iowa State and Iowa won today – a great day for the state.  Everybody’s happy – ha!

One more note about the quilt show yesterday.  Someone asked about the jacket I was wearing.  Here it is.

If you look at the picture of Connie and me at the top of this page, you will see that Connie is wearing the same jacket in a different color.   We shopped together in Minneapolis last fall and both of us bought the same jacket.  The day that picture was taken a year ago was the first and only time Connie ever wore that jacket.  She decided she hated it and off it went to Goodwill!  Yesterday people kept mentioning the jacket and how much they liked it and every time we heard a compliment, we would laugh and laugh. One wearing and she hated it and I got nothing but compliments on the same jacket.  One gal even wanted to feel the fabric.  Haha!  Oh, what a good laugh we all had.

Someone asked about the golden retrievers, the street scene and the fish quilts – these are prize winning art quilts and are one-of-a-kind.  There is no way anyone could or would produce a pattern for quilts such as these.  I guarantee that nobody except the original artist could even make it.  Wish I had taken some close ups – each quilt has thousands and thousands of small fabric snippets.  Each one was simply unbelievable!

I’ll reveal the contents of the sewing basket tomorrow or Monday.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie Rowland October 7, 2017 at 7:37 pm

As to the painting it was meant to be. What a pretty picture and great memories.


Synthia Noble October 7, 2017 at 7:50 pm

You certainly do find beautiful bargains!! I wish I could follow you around!! 🙂

The painting of the little brown church brought back memories of when I was a girl; maybe 10 or 12. My grandmother and my aunt took my brother and I on a road trip and that was one of our stops. Since I knew the song about “the little brown church in the dell” before we saw it, we sang the song all during the trip. Thanks for the wonderful reminder!


Donna Sproston October 7, 2017 at 7:51 pm

Ruth is smiling down knowing you have that painting. I love watching the Iowa fans wave up at the children. One little boy finally got to sit up there and wave today. Will has been there since Christmas and last month got his new heart. In our community we are all waving for Will and those others, many with equally touching stories.


Jean Elliott October 7, 2017 at 8:43 pm

Ruth Brown was my Aunt Rachel Jones mother! I forwarded this post to her! I spent a lot of time at the farm with Ruth. I distinctly remember cleaning her chicken house once …oh my goodness …the smell. She taught me how to can pickles and she was just a wonderful woman in so many ways. I was very happy to see this post and that you have one of her pictures.


Mary Etherington October 7, 2017 at 10:47 pm

Jean – I did not realize Rachel was your aunt — I am so happy you sent the post on to her. I just love the painting and consider myself lucky to have it!


Jean Elliott October 7, 2017 at 10:50 pm

I haven’t heard from her yet but I’ll let you know what she says. I remember being in Ruth’s studio. Your story about her was really nice. I’m sure Rachel will like it.


Paula October 8, 2017 at 7:47 am

Souds like you had a really good day at the thrift store. Good finds. Love old sewing stuff…..Paula in KY


Patsy October 8, 2017 at 8:02 am

The Little Brown Church in the Vale? My Marshalltown, Iowa Mom used to talk about that little church frquently and sang the song to us when we were kids. I love seeing your Iowa photos; they bring back memories of so many visits. I know my Marshalltown uncle was a happy, happy man yesterday with wins from both Iowa teams.


CountryThreads October 8, 2017 at 7:22 pm

Patsy – the Iowa State win was unbelievable as they were 31 point underdogs! So fun!


Debbie October 8, 2017 at 8:18 am

I love the jacket, funny story too. I wish I had been at the Goodwill when it was for sale.


Lee Hardwick October 8, 2017 at 8:15 pm

Me too!


Diane October 8, 2017 at 9:13 am

One of my favorite songs. I did not know the church was in Iowa–very neat. That painting was meant to be for you:) I have a sewing basket like that in natural. It belonged to my grandmother who may or may not have been a quilter. I, too, love the jacket and the adorable pictures of the Jack Russel and the puppies. What fun!!


CountryThreads October 8, 2017 at 10:21 am

The Little Brown Church in the Vale is located in Nashua, Iowa east of me about one hour. My parents were married there in 1946 and I have visited a couple times. It is charming!


Diane October 8, 2017 at 3:01 pm

That is so cool that your mom and dad were married there. 😃 It’s on my bucket list for someday, I hope.


Jo Kramer October 8, 2017 at 5:28 pm

You found AWESOME goodies Mary…I’m so glad retirement is letting you get away and do some fun things. I think Connie is a good influence.


MartyCae October 8, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Love all the treasures! Got a charge out of the jacket story!


Lee Hardwick October 8, 2017 at 8:14 pm

Love the jacket! My Sister has a basket like yours too. Love your posts, you are very clever!


Ann Barlament October 8, 2017 at 11:15 pm

My grandparents had a pump organ and on Sunday’s I would sit in front of the organ and we would sing about the little brown church….


Dorothy Sheldrake October 9, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Hi Mary
I have a little doggie somethin somethin for you and would like to get it in the mail, but need your mailing address. If you like you can just email it to me at


CountryThreads October 9, 2017 at 2:12 pm

Dorothy – my address is listed at the top of this page – Same as Country Threads — oh how exciting!


Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts October 9, 2017 at 3:31 pm

I can’t tell whether your pencil-marked doggy is varnished or not…but there are a couple of good methods for removing pencil marks from wood (try the back first!). Light marks can often be removed with a soft eraser, followed with a bit of warm sudsy water (just dish soap) applied with a clean cloth and gently rubbed in, if the eraser alone hasn’t removed all the marks. Then rinse with a cloth dampened with clean water. If you don’t soak it, the wood grain shouldn’t swell with this treatment. On unfinished wood denatured achohol rubbed on with a clean cloth (takes a few seconds of rubbing) works very well too. If there is a finish, then that can react to chemicals, so test first!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: