From My Carolina Home

Quilting, cooking, reading books, gardening, crafting, sewing, photography and more


Decorating for Autumn

The weather should be cooling off a bit this coming week, at least that is the hope. It sure was still too warm last week when I met a friend for coffee. She reads my blog and said it was time to show some fall decorations. Of course, she is right (yes, you, CW!!). I did get a few out last week, and started the process with a Pumpkin Tablescape, but I realize I haven’t shown anything else. There is a method in my madness for that, as some things I am saving for the special event next month. More about that later in the week. But for now, I did get a few little details for the kitchen sink window sill.  The Happy Harvest sign is small, and the little tins have candles in them, never burned.

Decorating for Autumn ~ From My Carolina Home

In the library, a vibrant quilt called Autumn Around the Bend is hanging over a chair. It is difficult to get pictures in this room because the light is so bright through all the windows.

Decorating for Autumn ~ From My Carolina Home

Here’s the front of the chair. That little leaf pillow is all wool applique. No, I didn’t make it, but I plan to to something similar soon.

Decorating for Autumn ~ From My Carolina Home

Behind the chairs is a bookshelf that holds my cookbooks. The top now has an autumn leaf plate that was decoupaged with leaf fabric on the back by a local artist. Brown candles with pretty little candle rings, fall leaves and a ceramic pumpkin surround a stack of cookbooks that promise wonderful meals for cooler nights.  Casseroles, slow cooker meals, or pot pies, which to choose for that first cold weather meal?

Decorating for Autumn ~ From My Carolina Home

My favorite autumn candle scent is called Autumn Wreath, sitting on a Maple Star hot pad. I burned one entirely last year and part of this one too. I really need to find a Yankee candle sale and get a couple more.

Decorating for Autumn ~ From My Carolina Home

The candle sits with the rooster placemats I made two years ago, flanked by autumn leaf plates.  We have breakfast on this counter a lot.

Decorating for Autumn ~ From My Carolina Home

On the kitchen pie safe, I put the Maple Leaf Table Runner I made two years ago.  A few more cookbooks chosen for their cover colors and recipes.  Who doesn’t like a hearty soup with homemade bread on a cold rainy day?  A tin with pumpkins and an autumn leaf basket go well.

Decorating for Autumn ~ From My Carolina Home

I also made a companion three leaf table runner for the little library table in the kitchen, but it wasn’t with the other one. It wasn’t in the autumn decor boxes. It wasn’t in the linen drawers in the antique china hutch. It wasn’t in the linen drawers in the antique secretary. Ok, now I am getting frustrated, where did I put the bloody thing? Cedar chest? No. Basement shelves? Nope. Under the bed? Ridiculous, I never put anything under the bed but I looked there anyway. I went back to doing some other things, but it still bugged me. Office closet? Nope. I complained to DH that I couldn’t find it, and he couldn’t offer any suggestions for places that I hadn’t already looked. But I went through all of them again. Two hours later it dawned on me. I gave it away. I took it as a hostess gift to some friends we were staying with last July. I figured I could make myself another one, then promptly forgot all about it! So, the library table got a rooster placemat.

Decorating for Autumn ~ From My Carolina Home

Isn’t that rooster trivet cute? Of course, it was a thrift store find just a couple of weeks ago, the colors are perfect for the kitchen.   The Gooseberry Patch cookbook Celebrate Autumn comes out each fall, maybe this year I’ll actually cook something from it.  Another thrift store find was the black plate stand. I stacked autumn inspired hot pads in it (made from the same panel as the rooster placemats) for both decoration and easy reaching from the stove.

Decorating for Autumn ~ From My Carolina Home

I hung the Maple Leaf and Cornucopia wall hanging up in the den.

Decorating for Autumn ~ From My Carolina Home

On the top of the cabinet is the Anita’s Arrowhead Mini Quilt, some ceramic pumpkins and orange candles. The ceramic turkey is the perfect fall color for now, so he gets to come out earlier than the others. Also, he was a thrift store find last summer and I hadn’t packed him up.

Decorating for Autumn ~ From My Carolina Home

So, that is where I am for now.  The big dining room table isn’t set yet, and I’ll save that tablescape for a bit later.  I am really sewing like mad, trying to finish off the projects that I am going to have for the event next month.  I know, I am teasing you.  I just don’t want to talk about it yet, but I promise you will have fun.  Look for a big announcement post on Friday.   I also want to get the veranda looking more fall-like, and I need a few pumpkins and mums to complete it.  Plus I need to clean up the detritus of summer.  So, more later.

One more thing, the winner of the drawing for the Birds in the Air book…


was number 44, Mary!  Mary said  ‘Enjoyed reading your frank reviews. I look forward to reading Birds in the Air and A Vintage Affair.”.  Mary was sent an email last night to let her know.  Congratulations, Mary!!

Are you decorating for fall now?


Help for the Humane Society

Want a way to recycle and use up fabrics, batting and scraps along with some other things that would otherwise go to a landfill?  I have a project for you that is fast, easy, and will clean out your sewing room in a hurry.  Rural counties are always in need of donations to help with their work saving animals that need homes.  The farther away from a larger town, the more they need help.  In several of the rural counties in Western North Carolina, their entire budget for the year doesn’t cover the costs of caring for the animals.  As a result, they are happy to have little extras for the dogs and cats.  I spent two afternoons making dog beds and crate mats to take to the humane society groups needing the most help.  These are ridiculously simple and will clean out all the bits and pieces you want.  Start with those orphan fabrics in your stash, the ones you’ve had for years and still cannot find a project for. Sew three sides, and fill with batting scraps.

Dog Beds Recycling Scraps

Crate sizes used by most humane groups are 12×18, 18×24, 24×30, and 36×42.  Crate mats can be these sizes, or anything close will do.  Smaller ones need smaller flatter crate mats, just a little something for a cat or dog to lie on while being transported. After inserting a few layers of batting, just turn the raw edge to the inside and sew the opening closed with a topstitch. Sometimes I add a little stitching in the center to keep the batting pieces from shifting. OK, so that’s two.

Dog Beds Recycling Scraps

Then I gathered up some old t-shirts. These have some stain on them that won’t come out in the wash. I cannot wear them anymore, but the fabric is fine. Trust me the dogs won’t mind!

Dog Beds Recycling Scraps

See that tomato stain?  Nothing has taken it out over several washings with pretreating and Oxyclean.  But, it won’t be seen in the final bed. I turned the t-shirts inside out, and marked a line across the shirt under the sleeves to sew on.

Dog Beds Recycling Scraps

Sew on the line. Do not cut off the top.

Dog Beds Recycling Scraps

Just turn right side out, and include the sleeves and neckline inside as more stuffing.

Dog Beds Recycling Scraps

Because these are heavy knits, I can fill them with all the bits and scraps that I would usually have to throw away. If you save these in bags, you will be surprised at how much you have after just a couple of weeks – enough to fill a dog bed easily.

Dog Beds Recycling Scraps

I keep a bag hanging off a closet door near the cutting table, and just throw bits in it as I cut, trim, and square up blocks. Bits like this, the edge of batting and fabric that I trim off a quilt after quilting. I cut away the part that is usable again, saving large pieces of fabric and batting aside, but those strips of fabric and batting that are sewn together go into the scrap bag.

Dog Beds Recycling Scraps

I had a couple of pillows I made years ago that were stuffed with fiberfill. It is amazing how fluffy it will get if you pull out the old stuffing, and pull it apart with your fingers. It will go a long way in a dog bed, and the dogs will be very happy to have the softness and will not care that it has been in a pillow before.

Dog Beds Recycling Scraps

OK, so nicely stuff the t-shirts, then sew the bottom closed with a topstitch.

Dog Beds Recycling Scraps

They might be a bit ruffly around the edge, but that is OK.

Dog Beds Recycling Scraps

Continue for all the old t-shirts you have. Easy sewing because the bottom edge isn’t a raw edge, you can just topstitch.  If you have a knit stitch, you could use that if you wanted to.

Dog Beds Recycling Scraps

And, voila! Dog beds! These were delivered last month.

Dog Beds Recycling Scraps

Next week, I’ll show you another idea for pet beds to help our humane societies. Today, I’ll be volunteering at both the British Car Club Autumn In the Mountains car show at Jackson Park, and in the morning volunteering at the Friends of the Library Book sale.  If you are local, today’s sale is all the books you can fit into a milk box for $6.  The drawing for Birds in the Air will be around 6 pm, so you still have time to enter.  It is a bit later than I originally thought as I forgot about all I have to do today.

So, do you have old t-shirts to turn into something useful?



Late September in the Garden

Fall colors are going to be late this year and likely not as pretty as in other years due to the dry weather, the need for rain, and warmth that is lasting too long.  We need a cold front, and some rain!!  I cannot find much in the way of color yet.  We should have some by now as our peak is usually the second week of October.  Some of the Bradford Pear trees have begun to change in town, but on our property not much is happening.  Well, except for the stupid locust trees that are raining brown leaves on the driveway.  Everything else is staying green for now.

Driveway leaves

Up on the veranda, the geranium decided to have one more burst of hot pink blooms. Not one of my fall colors, but it didn’t care about my color scheme or the harvest wreath hanging near the door.


In the large pot near the front door, a volunteer yellow double begonia came up totally unexpectedly. I planted these last year, but went with the white single begonia this year. It sure took its time, not flowering until now.

Double begonia

The white impatiens continue to bloom, amazing that they just don’t seem to want to quit. But I am sure that the warm weather is responsible.  All three pots under the little tile tables look like this one.


The watering can plants have struggled a little, never really taking off the way I had hoped. But this intrepid pink impatiens finally bloomed nicely.  All the lobelias are done and gone.

Pink impatien

The purple torenias in the hanging baskets are still blooming some, but are looking really ragged.  If it wasn’t for the hummingbird still visiting them I’d take them down.  She stopped by yesterday and hovered right in front of me as I was watering them. The yellow torenia is still going, but it is winding down too.

Yellow torenia September

The flowers themselves are also much paler in color, but still pretty. I would have cleaned them up a bit, but it is just still to warm for me.  Pulling weeds, cleaning up the grass in the beds, and deadheading the flowers is all on the list of things to do.  Maybe early next week when we are supposed to get a little cooler.

Torenia yellow

So, I looked around for some fall color, and all I can find is this little bit on a maple tree up the mountainside.

Late September Garden at From My Carolina Home

And just a little bit in this tree on the north side of the house.

Fall Leaves Sept 2016

The rest of the forest all around our home is still green to the west, …

September Forest 1

green to the east…

September Forest 3

and more green in the back.

September Forest 4

A few visitors came by, nine turkeys all hungry for the acorns falling all over.

Late September Garden at From My Carolina Home

I tried to get some pictures of them in the field but they ran off pretty fast.

Late September Garden at From My Carolina Home

There was some color in the sky one evening last week.

Late September Sunset 3

I hoped they were bringing rain, but alas, not to be.  Still the evenings are cool, and it is nice to sit on the veranda in the rocking chairs and watch the light play in the clouds with the setting sun.

Late September Sunset 1

In other news…

If you missed the giveaway yesterday for the book, click on Sewing Fiction Stories of Life to enter. That drawing will be Saturday so you still have time to comment.

And on the Bloggers Quilt Festival, nominations are open for Viewer’s Choice.  Nominations will be taken through the weekend, then voting on all the categories begins Monday.  Visit this link and nominate your three favorite quilts for Viewer’s Choice voting.  Click HERE.  Actual voting for quilts in the categories begins next week.

So what are you up to?  Gardening, sewing, reading?


Sewing Fiction Stories About Life and Giveaway!

Continuing the series on sewing fiction,  I received an advance reader copy of Birds in the Air from the author.  I think Frances could tell by my blog that I am a quilter that reads, and asked if I would like to read her new book.  Of course, I said yes, as it was set around a quilt show in a small town in North Carolina.  Right up my alley.  Later I found out that not only is she a resident of NC, but she has been quilting for a number of years too!  I did not promise her a review, she sent it with no strings.  But guess what, it is a wonderful story.

Birds in Air

Birds In The Air by Frances O’Roark Dowell is named for a quilt block, and I had to look it up to see it.  Amazing, Tango has that basic shape in it.  The story involves a woman whose family moves to a small town in the mountains of NC.  Her husband and daughter settle in quickly with job and school, but Emma needs something to do.  Finding an old quilt in an attic trunk is the catalyst for searching out the local quilt shop.  She is not a quilter to start with, but that quickly changes.  Through a series of events, she ends up learning to quilt as well as becoming the publicist for the local guild’s quilt show.  That doesn’t sit well with some of the members who consider her an outsider.  Conflict with another guild member creates a disaster for the quilt show, and help comes from an unlikely source.  The story is interesting and told in an easy to read style, and I found it difficult to put down.  I also like that Emma is happily married, as many of these series begin with a divorce so the woman can find her own way.  I like that a married woman can also find her own way while having a family and a committed relationship.  I finished it in just a few days.  The book will be published on September 24th, and one lucky reader will get a copy from the author.  Just comment on this post.

Books with a Sewing Theme ~ From My Carolina Home

The second book to tell you about is The Florabama Ladies Auxilliary and Sewing Circle by Lois Battle. This book is also set in a small town, with a newly divorced woman moving there for a job. This book was another one where the title is misleading. There is a sewing bit in the last third of the book, but it isn’t explored as well as it could have been. The story follows the ladies as they are downsized out of jobs, and try to find their way in new situations, returning to school and finding work. The sewing circle becomes a way to make some money, but even that has a disaster that the central character should have seen coming, I sure did. It annoys me when a woman is portrayed as just being stupid, making idiotic choices. So, I cannot really recommend this one, there are better books to spend your time reading.

Sewing Fiction Series on From My Carolina Home

Then there is Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing, but I almost wall banged this book halfway through.  That is where the book is so bad you throw it against the wall to avoid wasting any more time on it.   The dialogue is stilted, (no one really talks this way), being bludgeoned with platitudes, overly perky ‘blog posts’, and has completely unrealistic plot with an even more unrealistic conclusion. It seems to be written by someone very young and idealistic, but the world doesn’t work this way. I’m sure I’ll be branded as a “negative nellie” as stated in the novel to be ignored as someone unhappy with their life, but I am very happy with my life thank you very much.  And if you cannot handle criticism, you will never grow.  This story had so much potential, a fresh point of view and story of achieving dreams with determination, but didn’t deliver. The characters never really captured my interest. It left the impression of being a Young Adult novel written by someone who hasn’t really had any similar experience, rather than being a novel of accomplishment through hard work. After all, how many 30-year-old protagonists with two years of grunt work experience (and two degrees, really?) get made CEO of a multi-national company? NOT!! Pass this one by unless you are in your 20s. There are much better books to read.

Vintage Affair2

One of those better books is A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff that I reviewed last year. The book jacket describes this story as centering around a woman, Phoebe, who opens a vintage clothing store. She likes to think about the woman that owned a garment before her, what her life might have been like. When she encounters an elderly French woman who wishes to sell some of her garments, Phoebe finds a new friend with a story of her own. What the jacket doesn’t say is that both women are trying to overcome a tragedy in their lives. There is a connection between the two women in that each blames herself for circumstances beyond her control. The revelation of these circumstances to each other helps each woman to come to terms with the past and give light to the future. This isn’t a sad story, it is a beautifully written journey with hope. The descriptions of the clothes will make a textile enthusiast drool with happiness. She describes 1950s prom dresses with bustier tops and frothy net petticoat skirts as cupcake dresses. There is lovely detail in the descriptions of Vivienne Westwood skirts, a Balenciaga dark blue silk evening gown, and a pleated evening gown by Madame Gres, along with other items. It makes the reader want to visit this store and feel the fabrics, admire the buttons and peruse the hats and jewelry.  I’d really enjoy spending an afternoon there.

I recently found another book to add to Mt TBR (Mount To-Be-Read), The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham set in 1950s.  It was made into a movie starring Kate Winslet last year, but I don’t remember seeing it in the theaters here.  It is set in Australia, and is categorized as Australian revenge comedy.  It was nominated for a number of Australian film awards and won several.

Are you reading any sewing fiction from this series of posts? Or any sewing fiction?  Comment to be entered into the drawing for a copy of Birds in the Air.  The drawing will be by random number, and will take place on Saturday morning, Eastern Daylight Time in US.  Drawing is open to readers anywhere in the world.  Drawing has been held.

If you missed the first three posts on Sewing and Quilting in Fiction, click on Quilting Fiction, Sewing Mysteries, and Sewing Fiction.

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Welcome Autumn Cards

Autumn is a wonderful time to send a card to someone, just to say hi or thinking of you.  It doesn’t need to be a birthday or special day, just a card to tell someone that you haven’t seen in a while or that is having some challenges that you are thinking of them.  Even better when the thrift store yields a veritable bonanza of stamping goodies! On a recent trip to the Humane Society thrift store, I scored this marvelous rolling cart, stuffed with stamping stuff!! The front has two zip open pockets containing all kinds of decorative edge scissors, plus glue sticks and ribbons.

Stamping Score at the Thrift Store ~ From My Carolina Home

It had lots of fun leaves, dimensionals, yarns and decorative elements…

Stamping Score at the Thrift Store ~ From My Carolina Home

framelets and 3-D elements….

Stamping Score at the Thrift Store ~ From My Carolina Home

along with a stack of decorative papers and cutting tools.

Stamping Score at the Thrift Store ~ From My Carolina Home

All contained in this rolling cart. Yes, it was for sale at $30, but it gets better. It was 60% Off one item day!!  It didn’t take me 2 seconds to say yes to that offer, LOL!!

Stamping Score at the Thrift Store ~ From My Carolina Home

So, as if I needed an excuse to make cards, I got out my goodies. I wanted a couple of fall inspired cards to send to a couple of dear ladies having some health issues, just to say thinking of you. I had this idea, but I don’t have a punch in a leaf shape. So, I stamped a few maple leaves on ecru cardstock.

Autumn Cards at From My Carolina Home

Then I used the wickedly sharp razor knife and the cutting mat from the stamping kit to cut the leaves out.

Autumn Cards at From My Carolina Home

Then, I put the front side of the card into the embosser folder and sent it through the machine.

Autumn Cards at From My Carolina Home

I love this effect. Now, what to put behind to bring through the fall color. One of the sheets of decorative paper was perfect.

Autumn Cards at From My Carolina Home

Oh, even better, loving this look! But it still needs a little something.

Autumn Cards at From My Carolina Home

So, I added one ribbon for an accent.

Autumn Cards at From My Carolina Home

I like this design, so I did another one, this time with just paper and ink. I stamped leaves on a beautiful piece of brown mottled paper, and used a leaf motif ribbon.

Autumn Cards at From My Carolina Home

Inside both cards are the Thinking Of You sentiment, and I added some leaves inside too. On the cutout one, I thought the inside looked a bit sloppy, so I added a cover of just brown marbled paper.

Autumn Cards at From My Carolina Home

Naturally, both got my signature stamp on the back.

Autumn Cards at From My Carolina Home

Both cards done, and I stamped leaves on the envelopes to dress them up too.

Autumn Cards at From My Carolina Home

I am so ready for Autumn! Are you stamping for fall?



Of course I had to share with Vintage Charm at My Thrift Store Addiction!

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Bloggers Quilt Festival – Scrap Dance Tango

My second entry into the Bloggers Quilt Festival is in the Large Quilts category, and what better to enter than Scrap Dance Tango!  For new readers, this is my original design and was the mystery quilt for this year, and ran from January to June of this year.

Tango Cover Shots 6

This was incredible fun to do, and really did deplete the scraps bin.  The blocks were really easier than they look, and tesselate to create the secondary design with just a simple Tango step.  The pattern is available on the sidebar link.

Tango quilting finished 3

I had so much fun doing this one, it ended up a lot bigger than I originally planned, LOL!  So, voting starts next week, and I will remind you, LOL, (shamelessly begging for votes).

Tango quilting finished 1

Yes, I am planning a new mystery quilt for next year, it will be super fun!

You can see the entries so far at Amy’s Creative Side blog, just click on the icon.  Many thanks to Amy for hosting this fun event!



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Bloggers Quilt Festival – Scrap Dance

This week is the entry week for the Bloggers Quilt Festival sponsored by Amy’s Creative Side.  I decided to enter Scrap Dance this year in the Small Quilt Category.  It is just under the limit of total inches.  For those reading my blog for the first time, this is an original design that was my mystery quilt along for 2015.   The pattern is available on the sidebar.

Scrap Dance on bench

You can vote for your favorite quilts next week, and I hope you will vote for mine.  There are some wonderful prizes for participants, and I really need your votes.  Don’t worry, I’ll remind you when voting opens, LOL!!


Many thanks to Amy for hosting this fun event and blog hop.  There will be a ton of inspiration for everyone.  This week is the linkups for entries, you will all get to vote next week.





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