From My Carolina Home

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


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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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Be My Neighbor – Flimsy Assembly

When I left this at the beginning of the week, I had realized too late that I made two yellow houses to go next to each other.  One of those ‘oh, no!’ moments.  What is the good of having a plan if I don’t stick to it?   Well, perhaps it is to let you all know that mistakes happen, and there isn’t anything that cannot be fixed in some way.  I make plenty of mistakes normally, but this quilt has certainly tried my patience.  So now, time to punt yet again.

Be My Neighbor Block 16 at From My Carolina Home

The first thought I had was to just move this block to the opposite end. But, I have made one block in each row with the darker color blue, and this would put two right next to each other in the first position on two adjacent rows. So I thought, I’ll swap the two, but as you can see, they are not the same width.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Layout

OK, leave the house in the fourth position, then I realized that the house in the same position on the first row was also yellow. Good grief.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Layout

So, maybe I move the last house to position one, but again, I end up with the two dark backgrounds in the same position on two rows, plus it doesn’t separate the yellow very well.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Layout

OK, so this row goes back to the bottom. The only thing that makes sense now is to rip the first block from row 3 and put it on the right end, so the dark blues are again distributed evenly.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Layout

That is looking better, but now I have birds on two blocks in the first position on adjacent rows, when they were spread out better before.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Layout

But I am not ripping up an applique, LOL, I draw the line there! So, the only thing to do at this point is to swap row one and row two.  OK, maybe I have a good layout now with the colors and the birds well distributed from a design standpoint.  I’m good with it, so this is ready to finish up.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Layout

I sewed the end blocks to the rows on the third and fourth rows. Then, I begin cutting the sashing strips. I use one strip of sky and one of pebble fabric for road between the rows and across the bottom.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Assembly at From My Carolina Home

Cutting the strips to measure 60-inches, and pinning takes the longer set up of cutting board and pin board.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Assembly at From My Carolina Home

But, in short order the upper two rows are together.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Assembly at From My Carolina Home

Then the bottom two rows are sewn.  I only put pebble fabric on the bottom for now.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Assembly at From My Carolina Home

Now as I am looking at the two sections together, I see a big open space on the bottom right.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Assembly at From My Carolina Home

If I put a bird on that house, it would balance the distribution of the birds. So, more applique! Now is the time to do that, before the upper and lower sections are joined. Out comes the freezer paper, sections are cut and ironed.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Assembly at From My Carolina Home

I still should to buy some applique pins, but I am resisting that urge as I don’t really want to do a lot more applique.  I see this little guy as a Carolina Wren.  It took less than an hour to stitch him down.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Assembly at From My Carolina Home

Joining the top and bottom sections and finally, the blocks are together with the sashing!

Be My Neighbor Quilt Assembly at From My Carolina Home

I start auditioning border fabrics now too. The light green with the butterflies looked the best.  I also decided to add side and bottom borders of sky blue to frame out the neighborhood.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Assembly at From My Carolina Home

Two borders done, a narrow light blue sky fabric and then the light green with butterflies.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Assembly at From My Carolina Home

Here’s the bottom corner, with the same strips as between the rows.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Assembly at From My Carolina Home

One sky strip on the top with no pebble fabric. The sides have just the sky fabric.  The green is 3-1/2 inches wide.

Be My Neighbor Quilt Assembly at From My Carolina Home

And, there it is, finally all assembled!!

Be My Neighbor Quilt Assembly at From My Carolina Home

On to quilting it, LOL!!  Then I’ll need to do binding and all the extra details, then a label and hanging sleeve.  I think I can make it by the deadline now.

What are you sewing now?

 

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Finished or Not Friday

Can I Get a Whoop Whoop!

Main Crush Monday

 

 


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Scrap Dance Swing Bag, and a Correction on Two-Step

During my trip to Lexington, I took the Swing Bag to test it out in real use.  I have to say, (brag a bit, LOL!!) that it performed beyond expectation.  I expected it to hold some clothes and cosmetics, and be easy to carry, but I found that it did more than that.  The pattern is easy, mostly constructed flat, and the zipper insertion is a breeze.  You won’t believe how easy it is!  I’ll be making several more of these using up some jelly roll strips and piecing bits to make the next one scrappy.

First, it fit nicely on the top of DH’s suitcase with the handle reaching the top so he could stack it.  Sure made it easy to carry with another suitcase.

Plus, you will not believe how much stuff was in it.  I got all these clothes for a four day trip, plus three pairs of shoes (one a pair of walking shoes) and all my other essentials in it.   There are seven tops, two pairs of shorts, two pairs of long pants, plus sleepwear.

Items with liquids like my hair spray and contact lens solution were held upright in the long inside pocket, eliminating the need to encase them in a zip lock bag (although you could still do that).

All these items were in the bag, and that cosmetic bag is full!

The Swing Bag is wide enough for my cosmetic case to fit sideways at one end, with plenty of space for clothes and shoes.

The pattern has more ideas for adjustments to the pockets for ease of use, and also instructions to add a water bottle strap for use as a gym bag.

The Swing Bag will hold towels and a hair dryer, gym clothes, bathing suit for water aerobics, and a fresh change of clothes for after your shower if you want to use it as a workout bag.  It has more space than you will need for a day trip, and plenty of space for a week’s stay out of town.

A few comments have come in from pattern buyers, here’s a look at what others have said –

Mary (stitchinggrandma) said “I just downloaded the pattern , and I LOVE all the extra photo’s and details you included!!! Worth much more than the minimal $2 investment!”

Pat T wrote “*Thank you* for all you do, Carole, to teach, encourage, and inspire! I just downloaded your pattern at Craftsy!… Thank you for the extra pictures in it, and the extra details! (That makes your great directions very clear to even beginning sewers.)”

Gynette said “Just purchased your Swing Bag pattern and I’m delighted with the detail. So many details I missed on the blog. This will be a delightful gift for my high school aged granddaughter. But I will be making it from heavier fabric and a metal zipper for her. Also plan on making one for my quilting buddy, Carol (without the “e”) and one for me. I never seem to get me one made. Thanks for spending your time designing and offering this pattern. Now to peruse my stash for the perfect fabric.”

Thank you, ladies, for your support and encouragement!    Today is the last day to get the pattern on the intro price of $2, and see the details not included in the Christmas in July tutorial post. After today, the price will be reset to its regular price of $9.   Click on Scrap Dance Swing Bag for the pattern!

Last note, thank you to alert readers Rhonda and Donna who let me know about a mistake in the border instructions in the final reveal post for Scrap Dance Two Step.  The strips between the flying geese in the middle of the border should be 20-1/2 inches, not 16-1/2.  And the corner areas are 16-1/2, not 12-1/2 inches.  The block is 12-1/2 inches unfinished, so the strips must equal 12-1/2 + 4 inches for each section over the adjacent block.

The download has been corrected.  The area to put your counts now looks like this.

­­­_____ strips 20-1/2 x 2-1/2 between the flying geese in the border middles
_____ strips 16-1/2 x 2-1/2 between the flying geese and the  corners around the square block units
_____ strips 2-1/2 x 12/12 and 2 strips 2-1/2 x 14-1/2 for the bottom corners
_____ strips 2-1/2 x 4/12 and 2 strips 2-1/2 x 6-1/2 for the top corners

Download the corrected final reveal – Final Reveal  The pattern for Two Step will remain up for a few weeks, then will be removed from the blog and put on Craftsy.

And lastly, I have tamed the beast!!  The Be My Neighbor flimsy is done and I’ll show you my solution to the yellow houses on Friday.  Now, can I get it quilted without ripping?

Are you sewing today?


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Be My Neighbor – Blocks 15 and 16

Stepping up the pace now, my plan was to sew block a week for the next two weeks, sashing and borders in the third week, quilting during week four, and then binding in week five with a week to catch up if I don’t keep up.  But, after the last block was done, and the next one underway, I realized all the handwork I have planned is going to take it’s share of time and I have to add a hanging sleeve and a label to the back.  So, it was time to sew two blocks in a day to move the schedule forward at least a week. Block 15 was supposed to be in these colors, but after I laid out the green, it didn’t make sense anymore. It has such a strong leaf print, I didn’t want to use it.

Be My Neighbor Block 15 at From My Carolina Home

But the good news is I found just enough of the orange tree print to barely get a top and three branches for the tree. The pattern calls for seven branches and a top, so I had to expand the trunk and the sky above. I liked that idea better than introducing another tree fabric.

Be My Neighbor Block 15 at From My Carolina Home

Tree done, with the sky strip to add.

Be My Neighbor Block 15 at From My Carolina Home

Laying out the rest of the bits, for some reason I cannot now explain, I picked up yellow as the house fabric in place of the green, without consulting my plan. This will come back to bite me in just a little bit.

Be My Neighbor Block 15 at From My Carolina Home

I had cut the green piece according to the directions, but it wasn’t fitting as it should.

Be My Neighbor Block 15 at From My Carolina Home

Measuring again, then looking at the pattern, there is a mistake in the pattern.  Adding up the widths of the pieces across the bottom, you get 21-1/2, not 15-1/2.  I wanted to have the 10-1/2 x 2-1/2 piece under the house stretch across the width of the block as a ground.

Be My Neighbor Block 15 at From My Carolina Home

So, another piece cut and finished it up.

Be My Neighbor Block 15 at From My Carolina Home

Adding this block to the other two on the row, and arghh!! The center of the ground floral strip is still not right, it is bowing up in the middle so I must have cut it wrong.

Be My Neighbor Block 15 at From My Carolina Home

You guessed it, yep, had to rip it out and replace it.

Be My Neighbor Block 15 at From My Carolina Home

Then I had to change that fabric too, as I no longer had enough of the original choice.  Finally, will call this one done.

Be My Neighbor Block 15 at From My Carolina Home

The next day, on to the next block, the last one!! I pulled out my fabrics from my plan and set to work.

Be My Neighbor 16 1

Cutting out the bits, and laying them out, I started sewing on some of the pieces. It was fun to realize that I was on the last of the piecing for the house blocks.

Be My Neighbor 16 2

It looked so easy, so I dove in without reading the directions. Bad idea.

Be My Neighbor 16 3

The house window floral is directional, so sewing the house needed to be done with care.

Be My Neighbor 16 4

About here was when I realized that the upper cross on the corner was sewed too soon, and the bottom part needed to be separate to complete the house with straight seams.

Be My Neighbor Block 16 at From My Carolina Home

Oh well, ripped out a bit more.

Be My Neighbor 16 7

Now, this time I read carefully, as I have messed up on this kind of roof-chimney arrangement before.

Be My Neighbor Block 16 at From My Carolina Home

Got it right, no ripping this time.

Be My Neighbor 16 8

Laying out the block again, it is looking better. But even now, I still haven’t realized my mistake.

Be My Neighbor 16 9

More sections sewn, and it is done, whooppeee!!!

Be My Neighbor 16 11

Doing the happy dance, until I placed the last block next to block 15.

Be My Neighbor Block 16 at From My Carolina Home

And there we are, two yellow houses side by side.  Nope, can’t leave it this way.  Now, I need to figure out what to do, what to change with the least amount of hassle.  Yes, there is likely going to be more frogging involved, but just how much is yet to be determined.

What are you working on?


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Late July in the Garden

It is hard to believe, but I haven’t done a post about my garden in a month.  There has been a lot going on between the Christmas In July hop and the Safelight Project, but I know some of you like to know what is growing and flowering on our mountain.  Today, I’ll show you how my garden grows. I have taken photos of this group several times over the past month, and it just keeps getting prettier. The vibrant red geranium is set off nicely next to the white petunias. That pink variegated coleus is getting really tall now too.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Lettuce and garlic are coming up well in the pot on the right. Calibrachoa in three colors planted in two pots bloom only sporadically. The daisies in the back are done.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

White begonias are overflowing several pots on the veranda.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

After having my Summer Luncheon and giving away a bunch of day lilies, one of my guests dug up the white iris in her own garden she didn’t want anymore and dropped them off  on my veranda with a gerbera daisy. Those went into the ground the same day.  I love getting new plants!

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

The phlox is getting a bit taller, and the color of the flowers got a bit lighter.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Fresh parsley is wonderful for cooking, and this one is doing well with the yellow Calibrachoa.  Some of the parsley went into the shrimp risotto we had for dinner this week, adding a wonderful fresh flavor.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Multiple basil plants are giving me lots of fresh leaves for caprese salads with heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

These are Cherokee Purple tomatoes, cannot wait for them to ripen!

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

The tomatoes in this pot are coming along too.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

These are cherry tomatoes in the front bed, hoping for a good harvest here too.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Early in the month, the mornings were crisp and cool, perfect for sitting outside in the early dawn hour, listening to the birds. I found it was a great time to get some pictures of the choir in their natural setting.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Apparently there was a meeting scheduled, but I didn’t get the memo to attend.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

There were still plenty of birds visiting the feeder too. This young female cardinal stopped by.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Goldfinches stay here year round.  A male and female were in the tree, looking around and taking their turn at the feeder.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Now that I know what the wood thrush looks like, I have seen him quite often.  Oops, brain glitch, this is a purple finch, thanks, Jan!!

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Other mornings dawned foggy, lasting a couple of weeks, giving us humid, and (for us) hot days near 90°F (32°C).

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

There are a bunch of apricot gladiolas on the mountainside out back, I think some were planted by the previous homeowner and some may be volunteers. Either way, they are difficult to get to. But DH got out the limb lopper and managed to get some blooms for me to enjoy in vases in the house.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

I put them in vases with some of the pinkish hydrangeas and a few tall purple hosta blooms. They look really good with my Stacked Bricks table quilt.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

After those were done, it was time for the yellow gladiolas to bloom, pretty aren’t they!

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Our resident skink made an appearance.  Usually he runs away with any movement, but this time I caught him from the veranda while he was hiding below near the hydrangea.  He ran inside the drain pipe, then slowly peeked out to see if the coast was clear.  I think there is a good size family that lives here, and I like that they eat a lot of bugs.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

The snapdragons are still going, and I put the white iris in with them.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

White petunias bloom nicely in the front flowerbed next to more snapdragons.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

A woodpecker watches as I water the garden.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

The hydrangeas are still blooming too.  After I took more pictures of the gorgeous blooms I deadheaded the bush.  This lavendar color is so clear and pure.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

I did add some lime to the top in the hopes that I’ll get some more pure pink blooms like this one.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

This one is blue to lavendar on the same flower, such gorgeous colors!

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Looks like the African violets are going to bloom again too, unlike me they love the heat and humidity.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

The northern flickers are back too.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

A friend gave me this adorable birdhouse for the garden, and it looks perfect in the big pot next to the front door. I have been a bit disappointed in the lobelias, usually they give profuse vibrant blue flowers all summer long, but this year they aren’t doing as well.  The chocolate variegated coleus is getting bigger, and the begonia is blooming a bit too.

Late July in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

So, that is the garden in July.  The torenias stopped blooming for a bit, I think they got stressed when we were gone to Lexington for a few days.  They are beginning to bloom again, but will take a couple of weeks to fully come back.  I did see the hummingbird one morning while watering the flowers, she came up and hovered right in front of my face.  It was a magic moment, and I watched her in wonder.

What’s going on in your garden?

 

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Gardens Galore


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Let’s Talk About Pillows

When was the last time you bought yourself a new pillow for your bed? I asked this question of some friends recently, and their responses were much the same as mine – years.  We all know about dust mites, and keeping our bedding clean, vacuuming the mattress from time to time, but I’ll bet most of you, like me, don’t think about the pillows much.  Change the pillow cases, wash the covers, and wash the pillows if you can.  I have foam pillows which are next to impossible to wash, but I can put them in the dryer now on high heat for 15 minutes to kill the mites.  Problem is I forget to do that every three to six months as recommended.   Down pillows are the worst for growing mites, and it seems that the newer latex and memory foam is the best for keeping those colonies down.  There was a great sale at a local department store over the July 4th weekend, and I am sure that there will be good ones coming up for the next holiday. So think about getting yourself some new pillows.  Now, decide which of the old ones can go between your bed and the guest bed.  But, don’t throw them away, make these really super fast dog beds.  I cleaned the pillows as best I could in the mud sink with a brush and soapy water (they won’t do in my low water washer), dried them in the dryer to get them as fresh as possible.

Pillow Dog Beds at From My Carolina Home

Then, I purchased some pillowcases at the thrift store for $1 each. I brought them home and washed them. Inserting a pillow, I simply topstitched the opening closed. Assembly time less than five minutes.

Pillow Dog Beds at From My Carolina Home

Then, there was this fabric in the stash. I got it because of the light pink part, never opened it up to see the border print. Now it is in the ‘what was I thinking?’ pile.

Pillow Dog Beds at From My Carolina Home

I put the pillow on the fabric and cut a piece large enough to cover it, folded it right sides together, then serged the sides. Sewing would work just as well, but I need to use the serger to keep it working well.

Pillow Dog Beds at From My Carolina Home

The pillow was inserted, and the end was sewn shut by turning under the raw edge and topstitching.

Pillow Dog Beds at From My Carolina Home

This took 15 minutes total. I don’t think the shelter dogs will care about the color.

Pillow Dog Beds at From My Carolina Home

One of the pillowcases was a king size pillowcase in flannel with a large, thicker piece on the end. So, I cut that off to make the case a better size for the pillow.

Pillow Dog Beds at From My Carolina Home

I turned the raw edge under….

Pillow Dog Beds at From My Carolina Home

and topstitched it just like the others. The flannel slid around a bit, so I pinned this edge.

Pillow Dog Beds at From My Carolina Home

Donated to an outlying shelter that has little support, five dog beds made quick and easy.  Making all these beds took about an hour total sewing time.  Add a bit for the cleaning and drying, but all in all a very fast project.

Pillow Dog Beds at From My Carolina Home

So, now you can have some fresh pillows for your bed, and the dogs get new beds too.  Nothing goes to the landfill.  How long has it been since you got a new pillow?

 

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Vintage Charm

Talk of the Town


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Be My Neighbor Block 14

This block was one I needed to redesign as a sailboat doesn’t fit with my view of the neighborhood.  Turned out it was pretty easy to do. Here again is my plan. I need to step up the timeline on finishing the flimsy here if I want time to get it quilted and bound by the deadline for entry into the state fair. One thing that takes time is making decisions on color and print for the houses, so I got out my pastels basket and made decisions for all the blocks on the fourth row at once.  It is also a way to remember which block on this row is getting the darker blue for the sky.

Be My Neighbor Final Row Plan at From My Carolina Home

Then I put the choices in individual bags, so I can get sewing faster when I get to the next block.

Be My Neighbor Final Row Plan at From My Carolina Home

Digging out the bag marked 14, I pulled out the book of patterns and looked at the size of the block needed.

Be My Neighbor Block 14 at From My Carolina Home

The house block in the first row, Block #1 without the tree, was the right size according to the notes on Block 14, so I created a six inch center block for the focus.  It is a simple nine-patch with HSTs in the corners. I used the roof dimensions on the other block and created that bit. Then I filled in the space with a strip of purple, and added side strips to the focus bit to make the house the right size.

Be My Neighbor Block 14 at From My Carolina Home

Those were sewn together, then a purple strip was cut for the house bottom, again using the dimensions from the other block pattern.

Be My Neighbor Block 14 at From My Carolina Home

For the ground, I cut a large piece to length and sewed it to the bottom of the house.

Be My Neighbor Block 14 at From My Carolina Home

Then, I cut it to size with my rotary cutter.  All done.  Easier than I expected it to be.

Be My Neighbor Block 14 at From My Carolina Home

So, now 2 more blocks to do, sashing and borders to add, quilting and binding to go.  I have barely six weeks to finish, so gotta get busy!  A block a week for the next two weeks, sashing and borders in the third week, quilting during week four, and then binding in week five, should get me done with a week to spare.  Or a week to catch up if I don’t keep up with the plan, LOL!!

What are you working on now?

 

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Wednesday Wait Loss