From My Carolina Home

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


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Cheekwood Mansion

Our visit to the Cheekwood Estate included a tour of the mansion, at least the parts open for visitors.  The 55-room mansion construction began in 1929, and took until 1932 before the family could move in.  The architecture is simply wonderful if you like details like I do.  Sadly, only 9 rooms are restored from the huge mansion, and available for view.  For some reason, I didn’t get a view of the whole front of the house, I think because we came through the gardens to get to it and I missed the overall view.  But you can see a picture of the three story mansion and read the entire history of the construction HERE.  I did get a picture of the stonework and lovely wrought iron on the left side.  Note the ornate cement work too on the decorative urn along with the curved windows and details.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

According to our guide, the family had an affinity for eagles and angels, and these can be found in a lot of the architecture and furnishings.  In many rooms, large posters of reprints of an article from a decorating magazine published in 1932 showing how it looked at that time.  The restoration is attempting to find original pieces to restore to the space, or something of the time frame that has a similar look.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The eagles are seen in the staircase ironwork.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Also in the foyer, this fireplace mantle, intricately carved with a working clock with angels on either side.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The architect was Bryant Fleming, and he put a cornerstone behind the front door with his name and the date 1929.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Much of the upper floors is devoted to offices instead of restoration.  But the tour was good, with lots of little details, and I should have taken notes, LOL!! This is the upper hallway leading to the library, with the loggia to the right.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The story on this marble urn is the family saw one in Rome at the Vatican, and had it made to match the design they saw.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Along the upper hallway, trompe l’oeil alcoves with in ‘gilded’ frames are actually wallpaper.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Here is the large, ornate mirror of fun family legend.  Apparently Mabel Cheek was a strong willed woman with a mind of her own far ahead of her time.  She purchased the mirror, and it didn’t fit in their home in the town.  So it was said that her husband joked that she needed to sell the mirror or build a bigger house, and she took him up on the bigger house.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Angels dance on the top of the exquisitely detailed mirror.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The main living parlor was huge, full of light from the windows, furnished with elaborately detailed furniture and lamps.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The fireplace had a gold eagle at the top of the detailed columns.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

This portrait is one of the family, but I cannot remember which Cheek family members these are.  I really should have taken notes, but I was enjoying the day too much.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Lovely wood work in the library.  The guide noted that there is no ladder to get to the upper shelves, and we speculated that this room too was built more for making an impression on guests than to actually get to the upper shelves.  But, it is known that the Cheeks were readers, and one of the gardens is has a literary theme.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Just look at the ornate detail in this woodwork and clock.  Marvelous craftsmanship.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Back to the loggia, this room is available for events, connected to the outdoor patio.  There was a set up going on for an event so we couldn’t go out the doors.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

A table in the long hallway to the dining area had a large eagle base.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The dining room was all done in blues to complement the fireplace.  Note the eagles on the mirror over the fireplace.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The ornate valences over the curtains were gilded.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

That is actual lapis lazuli stone on the fireplace.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Around the next corner in the butler’s pantry, was a display of glassware.  Sadly, the kitchen has long been converted to other use and the original construction is gone.  I think the kitchens in old homes are one of the most interesting rooms, but seldom are they open to view even if they are still in existence.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

They loved ornate things didn’t they!

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

A large part of the Cheek fortune came from the sale of the Maxwell House coffee brand to what was then Postum Foods for $45 million dollars in 1929 before the stock market crash.  No wonder the depression didn’t touch them.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

This view from the front of the house shows the art museum built later along with other outbuildings and the stunning view.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

This view from the left side of the house is beautiful.  There is a covered stone patio there.  The trees had not yet begun their leaf turning.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Looking down from that same patio, the reflecting pool can be reached by the stone stairs.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

This patio is near the art museum, down the small stairs to the right side as you face the front of the mansion.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

One of the sculptures at the beginning of the Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail, we had to skip this as we were out of time.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The Cheekwood Estate is just outside of Nashville, Tenneessee.  I highly recommend the visit if you are in the area.

I think our home is ready for the long holiday weekend.  We are having our usual Thanksgiving day plan, with another dinner on Saturday night.  The turkey is defrosting, and will be put in the brine on Wednesday for baking on Thursday and leftovers all weekend.  We plan to have a spiral sliced ham for Saturday with my cheddar onion potatoes.  I think I need to share that recipe!  Oh, I have a wonderful breakfast recipe to share soon too.  Are you ready for the holidays to start?

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Cheekwood Gardens

Last month, I accompanied DH on a trip to Nashville for a few days.  He had an open afternoon one day, so we went to visit Cheekwood Mansion and Cheekwood Botannical Gardens during the Harvest exhibition.  This is a huge estate with an American Country mansion and 55 acres of gardens built in 1929.  We only got to a small fraction of the gardens, taking the Harvest tour walk and getting to a couple of the specialty gardens, but we had to skip the Sculpture gardens because we ran out of time. Visiting in the fall, they had a wonderful array of autumn color gardens. This orange gerbera daisy attracted one of the many butterflies in the Bradford Robertson Color Garden.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

The entrance was inviting us to keep walking, with pumpkins, gourds and autumn squash lining the walkway.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Walking paths were accented with pumpkins, and full of autumn blooming flowers.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

They do a fun pumpkin house every year. The frame of the house has small hoops of metal that cradle the pumpkins without damaging them.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

It is surrounded by bales of hay to define a ‘yard’.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Inside the bales, a pumpkin patch with pumpkins available for purchase.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

In the meadow next to the bar, a ‘tree’ made of potted chrysanthemums made a beautiful autumn display.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Next to that was a tower with orange and white pumpkins, so festive for the season.  Workers were still arranging more pumpkins under the trees for an event later in the week.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Autumn color abounded in the flower gardens as well.  This area is part of the Sigourney Cheek Literary Garden.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Orange impatiens were profusely blooming near the visitor center.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

All along the walking path out from the visitor center, lanterns were placed for an upcoming evening event.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

On the other side of the visitor center, more autumn pumpkins and gourds on display.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Rows of small yellow chrysanthemums in front of tall dark elephant ears had surprise pumpkins placed here and there.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

This was the first time I ever saw a ‘black’ elephant ear, never knew they came in this color.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Monarch butterflies sporting autumn color wings were everywhere, feasting on the bounty of nectar.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

These flowers and butterflies were in the Wills Perennial Garden.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Stunning color, rows of flowers, it was gorgeous in every direction and every path.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Again, a surprise of pumpkins tucked into the floral displays.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Coming back around after several hours of walking and seeing the mansion, we came upon the pumpkin house again.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

I should mention here that the entrance fee to see the gardens, mansion, art museum and the rest of the estate was $20 per person, but when I told the gatekeeper that we were members of our local arboretum, we got in free just by showing our membership card.  Many arboretums have reciprocal agreements like this, so if you are a member of your local arboretum, be sure to ask when you go elsewhere.  I took over 100 pictures of the gardens, but will stop here.  I’ll save some of the others for another post.  Tomorrow, we’ll visit the mansion.  It is gorgeous!

Thanksgiving is coming fast, and just in case you want to try it, my post on Brining Turkey will show you how to brine and bake the most moist and succulent turkey you have ever eaten.  The meat is moist and tasty even after a day in the frig too!

Do you like to visit pumpkin patches and fall gardens?


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Keeneland Library – A Hidden Gem

On our recent trip to Lexington, I was able to visit the Keeneland Racetrack and grounds. What a neat place to visit! There is such history here, for the history buff as well as the fan of horses. This history begins at the very entrance to the park, where the post is a replica of the original Kentucky Association track which was located in downtown Lexington. The monogram KA on the post is identical to the old Kentucky Association logo. While removing building materials from the old site, Hal Price, the first president of the Keeneland Association realized the KA would work for his track too, and help preserve that history.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

There were no races the week we were there, but the track and walking tour of the facility is open most of the time. If you get there early enough, you can watch the morning workouts on the track. I didn’t get there in time to see the horses training, but I could tell they had been there from the prints in the dirt.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

I did a self-guided tour using the printed map of the grounds that also gave a brief history lessons along the way. From the clubhouse to the giftshop, there was something to learn and appreciate. In the paddock area are a row of jockey figures painted in the colors of the winners of recent races.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

I can just imagine being here during the races. Of course, even though it isn’t the Kentucky Derby, I’d still need a pretty hat.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

As magnificent as the track and associated buildings are, I want to show you the hidden gem on the Keeneland grounds. I would venture that since it is the last stop on the self guided tour, many choose to skip it. But, if you are close this year, the Keeneland Library is well worth the visit.  Established in 1939, it has collections of over 30,000 books, one million photographic negatives, and thousands of magazine and newspaper articles dating back to 1836 along with horse related art and sculpture, trophies and artifacts.  It also has a collection of racing forms going back to 1896!  This year marks the 100th anniversary of Man O’ War’s birth, widely acknowledged as the greatest horse ever to race. Not only did he win 20 out of 21 races (only losing one to a bad start), he is credited with reviving the horse racing industry in the public’s eye after the misery of the first world war.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

This unassuming, small building set on the outer grounds a short drive away from the track holds wonders available to the public. The exhibit this year runs to the end of the year, and is a photographic history of Man O’ War’s life and achievements. It begins with a short video shown on a small TV in a space the size of a study carrel. The video was very well done, with a lot of actual footage from races, and training exercises, interviews read from actual newspaper accounts and interviews, and the story of his funeral and enshrinement at Kentucky Horse Park, after being moved from the original burial site on Faraway Farm.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

The tour around the library itself took the viewer past many photographs from the time, nicely annotated with notes.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

Interesting photos and notes on his descendants are also on display.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

On the other side of the library from the photo exhibit are the photo albums covering decades of Keeneland history.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

Amazingly, they are available for viewing by anyone walking in the door, no white gloves needed. Beginning with the bare ground, you can see the photos showing the building of the track, going through all the improvements over the years, along with racing photos from major races in each year. Each book has several years worth of history.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

One book, though, was dedicated to one race. In 1984 Queen Elizabeth visited the track for a special horse race, The Queen’s Cup.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

This is the first page of the album.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

Inside were dozens of photographs telling the story of her visit and special race day.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

On a wall in a study carrel is a most fascinating history lesson.  This is a geneaology chart from the first Arabian horses that launched a dynasty.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

It is circular in design as it is easier to see how the subsequent generations spread out with famous horses in the mix.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

Here is where Man O’ War adds to the chart, siring War Admiral (the fourth Triple Crown winner) and War Relic, grandfather to Intent and Relic, and more.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

Permanent photographs are around the walls showing the excitement of racing in stunning detail.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

Gorgeous windows make a light and airy place for study.  You’ll note there are not a lot of books on display, most of the collection is held underground in climate controlled areas, available to researchers.  It is a non-circulating library, meaning they don’t check out materials, but make their collection available to researchers both in person and online.  See the online catalog HERE.   There are a number of statues and figures to see like the one on the windowsill here.  If you are nearby this year, go see this beautifully curated exhibit.  Thanks to librarian Dan Prater, who showed me all the interesting tidbits, and kept assuring me that pictures were OK, and yes I could touch the albums.

Keeneland Racetrack and Library ~ From My Carolina Home

The Keeneland Library also has an online exhibit that you can see called Man O’ War: In Other’s Words. It is really something! Click on the link, the galleries are on the sidebar, and when you go to one, the photos are accessed by clicking on the titles at the bottom, one at a time, moving through his history.

Do you enjoy horse racing?  Have you ever been to Keeneland?

 

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Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Take Me Away!


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Preparing for the Eclipse

The date is getting closer to see the Solar Eclipse, the first eclipse that will be visible across the entire US in 99 years.  For most of us, this one will be a once in a lifetime experience.  It is logical that millions of people will take advantage of the opportunity, but planning will be essential.  The area of total 100% eclipse goes across the country, and everyone in the US will be able to see at least a partial eclipse.  We are planning to travel just an hour to get into the total zone.  Last weekend we did a trial run to scope out the area, locate bathrooms and figure out parking options anticipating that there will be a lot of people with the same idea.

©Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com, used with permission

Discussing the day, we have made lists of things to do and take for this spectacular day.  I started a bag of things to take, adding to it as I think of things.  Research on other sites gave me some ideas as well, such as taking a white towel to cover the camera so it won’t get as hot being in the sun for hours.  At this point, I think I have everything we might need for a day, and here is our list of essentials.

Sunscreen  – Bug Spray – Special Eclipse Viewing Glasses – hat
Paper Towels – A roll of Toilet Paper (anticipating that will be the first thing to run out)
Cooler with food, water, ice and snacks to last the whole day
Folding Chairs – umbrella – canvas drop cloth and a quilt to lay on
Camera – Solar Filter – tripod – white towel to cover the camera to keep it cooler – extra memory card, extra battery
Books to read, and tunes to pass the time.

Patience.

We got our glasses and camera filter at GreatAmericanEclipse.com, which also has a tremendous amount of information on the eclipse.  Please do not try to observe any of the partial eclipse with your naked eye, even a 99% eclipse still has enough brightness to damage your eyes or camera lenses.  Regular sunglasses are not enough.  When you put on the solar glasses, they are so dark that you cannot see anything through them under normal light, but look directly at the sun through the glasses, and you can see the sun.  The camera filter does the same thing.

Solar Pictures at From My Carolina Home

It is recommended that you take pictures of the sun ahead of the big day so you are confident of the camera settings using the very dark filter.  So, we have been doing just that. DH took this one as our first attempt.

Solar Pictures at From My Carolina Home

This is a picture of the sun through the trees. The camera wants to focus on the trees so it comes out blurred, but the outline of the sun is visible.

Solar Pictures at From My Carolina Home

Forcing the focus to the brighter area, it decreases the light but the edge is now obscured by the trees.

Solar Pictures at From My Carolina Home

I did find that focusing on the edge of the sun gave a sharper line and amazingly a nice gradient color to the sun.

Solar Pictures at From My Carolina Home

If you are interested in the history of eclipses, the NASA website has a lot of interesting information, including interactive maps and major events in history occurring with total eclipses in the past.  Click on NASA Total Solar Eclipse.  The main NASA webpage, Eclipse 2017, has activities, resources, printable pinhole viewers, and information on experiencing the eclipse this year.  A day ahead, be sure to charge your camera battery (both of them), assemble your essentials, and get your snacks prepared.  Here’s hoping the crowds aren’t too bad and are well behaved.

What are your plans for the eclipse?


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Having Fun in Lexington, Kentucky

Last week, DH had to go to Lexington, Kentucky to do some work, so once again I packed a bag and tagged along.  I had a fun time shopping and sight seeing while he was working. Lexington says it is the horse capital of the world, with much in the town being about the horse. There are horse farms, a horse racing track, an entire park dedicated to horses and Man O’ War, and many of the streets are named for race winners or tracks.  I took over 300 pictures, and I promise I will not show them all to you, LOL!!  But today, come with me as I shop and eat, visit quilt shops and bookstores, and have fun in Lexington.

Chocolates

In some places in town, there are horse statues painted by local artists that were apparently part of an art project some time ago.   We do the same thing here with our bears every year. I only found four of these horses, but this one was the most compelling, did you see what was behind it in the picture above?

Painted Horse 10

Oh, yes, a Kentucky institution, Old Kentucky Bourbon Chocolates. Every last bit of this store was chocolate! The aroma of freshly worked chocolate hit you as you walked in, there was no way to leave without having some.

Ky Chocolates 2

A couple of free samples later, I decided on a large box of Bourbon Truffle Chocolates, and two little samplers. One of the samplers was Black Forest Truffles (bourbon, chocolate truffle with chopped cherries), and the other was Chocolate Covered Bourbon Cherries. I am carefully rationing these out, excuse me for a moment while I go nab one, my treat for today.

Chocolates bourbons

This horse was across the street from the chocolate shop. It was beautifully done, and I think was my favorite of the ones I found.

Painted Horse 11

Next on the west side route plan was this shop, Quilter’s Square.

Quilter's Square 1

Beautifully light inside, and huge! Owners Chana and Kayla were so friendly and helpful, I really enjoyed chatting with them.

Quilter's Square 4

They are doing the Row by Row too, and had a darling hot air balloon pattern. Although I can’t show it to you, you can see in these pictures how many projects they have going on, with samples above the fabric. Just stop by and get their kit if you are near the area.

Quilter's Square 3

They had fabric and more fabric!  So much choice!  I could have spent a lot longer just admiring all the displays and quilts.

Quilter's Square 2

While I was on the west side, I had to go to my favorite chain bookstore, Half Price Books. I was delighted to find two stores in Lexington, this was the smaller of the two.

Half Price Books Lexington 1

Yet it was stuffed as is usual for these stores.  The cookbook corner had the same amount of space as this one for crafting, sewing, quilting, gardening and more.  The clearance section was huge too, with lots of books at just $2.

Half Price Books Lexington 3

Dinner that night was at a local eatery called Saul Good, I had a flatbread pizza.

Saul Good pizza

DH had a tuna steak, and shared his asparagus with me.

Saul Good tuna

On the corner of the shopping center, this horse was standing watch.

Painted Horse 5

The next bit of shopping was on the east side, with Sew-A-Lot leading off the afternoon of fun.

Sew-A-Lot 1

I have to say, I had just as much fun chatting with Patti, Thomas and Kim. They were trying to get to their lunch but were willing to chat as long as I was there, and I just couldn’t leave, LOL!! Sorry for delaying your lunches, but I was just enjoying myself too much!!  There were a lot of goodies to see, patterns and fabric galore.

Sew-A-Lot 2

Their Row by Row pattern was inspired by one of their customers who uses a little red wagon to carry all her class supplies. It is a darling pattern, so stop over and get their kit if you are nearby this summer.

Sew-A-Lot 3

The east side’s Half Price Books was next on the list, and wow, what a pretty storefront with the arbor and flowers!!

Half Price Lexington flowers

This large store kept me entertained for over an hour as I perused the fiction for books on my to-get list, and then the non-fiction for what might be fun.

HalfPriceBooks 2

The last horse is the only one of the four with a plaque to show what it was all about, but it wasn’t dated. This one is in front of the TV station and is named Color Bars. It was bought at the art event and donated to the station.

Painted Horse 4

Dinner that evening was at Columbia Steak House. The original restaurant has been there since 1943. We went to one closer to the hotel that has been there for 17 years. It is locally owned, not a chain.

Columbia exterior

I usually look for one of a kind places like this when traveling. We have to resort to chain restaurants often enough on the road, so these are a treat. We started off with a shrimp appetizer as we were both hungry. I had skipped lunch to shop and sight-see.

Columbia shrimp

My dinner was a nicely grilled rib-eye with steamed broccoli.

Columbia steak

DH had a Kentucky staple, a Hot Brown. I was surprised to find out that this is not an open faced roast beef with brown gravy. Quite different!! It is sliced ham and turkey on a piece of bread, covered in a mornay-like sauce, topped with cheese and sliced tomato then broiled to melt and brown the cheese. Then it is topped with crispy bacon. Yum!!

Columbia hot brown

Inside the restaurant was again, all about the horse, with somewhat old fashioned decor and horse pictures on the stucco walls.  It was a bit dark, with stained wood beams on the ceiling and wood floors.

Columbia interior

They had several beautiful stained glass like art on the doors and windows.  Only by getting very close could you see that it was done with paint, still they were nicely done.

Columbia window

So, that was shopping and eating. In future posts, I’ll show you some of the other places I visited, including the Arboretum and Keeneland. We were not able to get to the Kentucky Horse Park where Man O’ War is memorialized as the greatest horse that ever raced. The tickets were $20 each plus $5 to park, and we just didn’t have the whole day to spend there to make that worthwhile. But, DH will have to go back later in the year, so we may try then.

Are you going to do a Row by Row quilt this year? Do you have patterns left over from last year like I do?

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Take Me Away!

 


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The Swing Bag – A Scrap Dance Pattern

Wouldn’t you love to have a great travel bag for the holidays, or any travel weekend?  This weekender bag is compact yet packs a punch. You won’t believe how much you can fit into it, and still have organization!  It will hold enough clothes and toiletries for a weekend getaway, just Swing it over your shoulder and dance off to the beach or the cabin in the mountains.  The construction isn’t hard, just follow the steps one by one. The great majority is constructed flat, so it is easy to handle. Use up scraps by making a larger piece of fabric and cutting your focus piece from it. Use charm squares, jelly roll strips, layer cake squares, crumbs or orphan blocks, your only limit is your imagination!

After the initial bag was done, I showed it to some friends who suggested a few improvements.  So, the pattern has several options for extras in pockets and details.  Purchasing the pdf file on Craftsy for the very low introductory price of just $2 will give you more photos and more detailed instructions.  Click on Swing Bag for the pattern link.   I really appreciate any purchases as that is the way I pay for the costs of the blog, so I can bring more great free patterns, giveaways and projects to readers.  I also invite new readers to follow my blog for a wide variety of subjects, crafting and cooking, sewing and quilting, gardening and photography, mountain living and more.

And have fun with the  Christmas In July blog hop which will have new posts every day for 12 days.

Here are the participant blogs, have fun!!  And read down below for the giveaway!

Friday, July 14th
From My Carolina Home– You are here!

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Saturday, July 15th

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Sunday, July 16th

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Monday, July 17th

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Tuesday, July 18th
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Wednesday, July 19th 

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Thursday, July 20th

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Friday, July 21st

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Saturday, July 22nd 

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Are you starting on your holiday sewing yet?

 

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Finished or Not Friday


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Driving the Devil’s Whip

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, warm and clear, the best time to take a car club drive.  This time the drive leader had us meet in Swannanoa for an event that was supposed to be two weeks ago, but was postponed.  We drove as a group from Swannanoa to Old Fort, and then formed up again to begin the winding, twisty and steep drive up into the mountains by a road locals call the Devil’s Whip. It is Hwy 80, going north from Hwy 70 out of Old Fort. This road is 12 miles with 160 curves, some switchbacks, and rising in elevation 2000 feet in those 12 miles.    There are huge signs telling trucks not to take this route, then this small one that says “steep winding road”, yeah, no kidding!!

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

But, taken carefully, it is a fun drive with a lot of gorgeous scenery, trees meeting overhead to form green arbors over the road, and flowers blooming.  Well, that’s what I thought was good about it, DH preferred the curvy road driving.  I did try to get more pictures, but you have to trust me that it was a beautiful road, but difficult to get a good picture while going around all those curves.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

At the top, we turned left to enter the Blue Ridge Parkway east of Mount Mitchell. The parkway was busy, as usual for summer weekends, especially on clear days. Several tunnels are on the way to the peak of Mount Mitchell, where we were going to have a picnic lunch.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

The higher elevations have rhododendrons blooming profusely along the road. I tried to get pictures of them, but few turned out, and even this one that is clear doesn’t show you the mass of blooms we were seeing.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Reaching the summit at Mt Mitchell, the guys were pretty happy with the drive. Three of our members brought their British motorcycles.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Just look at the mountain view past the cars!  The orange car on the left is a Tesla, all electric and quiet as a ghost.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

The temperature on the top is often cool to cold, even in summer, but this day was nice. It was in the low 70s, and sunny, perfect for a picnic.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

The views were clear too. Often it is so foggy up here that you cannot see these vistas.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

I love seeing all the layers of smoky blue-grey that define the Blue Ridge mountains.  This elevation is in the parking lot, and you can walk to the highest point of 6,684 feet via a paved walkway.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Heading home, we enjoyed the parkway views.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

I kept trying to get more rhododendron shots, the purple-pink color was so pretty.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

There is nothing like a day on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it never disappoints.

What did you do for fun this weekend?