From My Carolina Home

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


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Autumn Jubilee Wrap Up

Today will wrap up the Autumn Jubilee event, but read to the end for a sneak preview of the next big Mystery!  I have loved seeing all the progress photos on Flicker.  The colors chosen and the projects made are just wonderful.  Once again, I’d like to thank all my favorite companies for their participation in providing giveaways for readers.

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Giveaway drawing winners

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Aurifil winner Nancy at Joy For Grace blog, new follower using a blog reader.

Connecting Threads winner of the mini conthrdspumpkinquilt stand and topper is Vicki H, blog reader subscriber.FatQuarterShop-300x300

The winner of the Fat Quarter Shop $25 gift certificate is Danice G, email subscriber.

backside_fabrics_logo_addtm Back Side Fabrics $30 gift certificate winner is Val at Val’s Quilting Studio, blog reader subscriber.

 

paisleyposies Stampin Up Paisleys and Posies bundle winner is Margaret N, email subscriber.

Magnet King – winners of the craft kits are Mary C and Pat T.

From My Carolina Home – The random number generator gave me this picture on our Autumn Jubilee Flickr group, quilting winner – Diann B!   Diann may have finished this mini-quilt, but she wins quilting of a table topper.

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Congratulations to all the winners!!  Yes, there will be more events like this one next year.

Now, for the preview!  I have been sewing like crazy on next year’s mystery quilt.  The design is done, one throw size quilt top is pieced, and at the moment it is on the quilting frame.  I do like the design, and I think it is a good scrappy look.  I am planning to make another larger one to check the measurements.  The sneak preview is this – the design will take advantage of jelly roll strips, charm packs and layer cakes, along with some fat quarters. So, take advantage of the clearance sales on those precuts and you’ll have a big head start on the mystery.  I just ordered three clearance charm packs for the 5 inch squares I’ll need for the larger size, and save cutting time.

I have another new design coming up next week using jelly roll leftovers.  It will be a very fast project using just 9 jelly roll strips, so dig out those strips, or cut some WOF strips 2-1/2 inches in width to quilt along with a project that can be finished in an afternoon.  Plus, the red two tone quilt is in the design process and I think will be a quilt along too.

Did you have fun with Autumn Jubilee?  Please join me in thanking all the wonderful sponsors of this event.

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Autumn Jubilee Update

Time for an update and a look at what readers are doing with the blocks for Autumn Jubilee.  It is so much fun to see all the ways you all are putting your leaves and pumpkins together.

Autumn Jubilee Runner Finish 2

Susan did a great job with her runner, starting with large leaves, and making the pumpkins small.  Her quilting is wonderful too!

Autumn Jubilee table runner all quilted and bound.

I have to show you Diann’s mini quilt and matching pillow. What a cozy corner, love those fabric choices!

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Danice is doing both the runner with these marvelous scrappy leaves…

AUTUMN JUBILEE SMALL TABLE RUNNER

and the stitch along! Great progress!

AUTUMN JUBILEE WOOL PENNY RUG- front

I love these scrappy fall color leaves by Desert Sky Susan!

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The pumpkin border on Judy’s runner is just the perfect choice.

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Debbie finished her mini quilt….

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and also is doing the stitch along.

Felt Sunday Project

Tomorrow will be the largest project in the series. Enter for me to quilt it for you by adding your progress photo to the Flickr group. It can be any of the quilt-along sizes, runner or topper doesn’t matter, just that you’d like to have me quilt it.  I’ll choose a winner from the pictures on November 1.  You don’t have to be ready to ship, just have a progress photo up.  The winner will send their top and backing to me whenever it is ready to be quilted, and I will provide the batting, quilting with this pumpkins and leaves pantograph, and return shipping.

Autumn Jubilee Runner Finish 3

Depending on when I receive it, I’ll try to have it back to you in time to use on Thanksgiving.  But if it is later, that’s OK.  Timing will be up to the winner, so no pressure to finish unless you want it for this year.

All the giveaways are still open for comments, so if you missed one you still have time to enter.

What are you working on?


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Needlecraft Mystery Series

A nice long weekend and it looks like it is going to rain on Sunday all day, and maybe Monday too.  DH and I had planned a hike, but I think it will turn into a couple of days of sewing and reading.  Actually, those are wonderful days in my opinion!  Now is a good time to tell you about a series I have enjoyed.  It is another in the cozy mystery genre, refreshingly with an older woman in her 50s as the central character (instead of the usual mid-30s cutsie with the hunk policeman boyfriend).  Beginning with the first in the series, Crewel World, readers are introduced to Betsy and her sister Margo in a small town in Minnesota.  When Betsy’s sister is murdered in the store, Betsy is taken on an emotional roller coaster, eventually needing to do some sleuthing on her own to find the truth.  She inherits the store and has to learn how to run it with the help of the part time staff. What started out for Betsy as a refuge from a bad divorce turns into a learning experience for taking care of herself.   The neat thing is the focus on needlecrafts, not only crewel, but knitting, crochet, and cross stitch.  Each book has a pattern in it too.  Next is Framed in Lace where a skeleton is found wrapped with a piece of lace that holds a clue.  These first books are only available in paperback, and I think I donated them back to the library some years ago.  I really would rather read hardback books, I find them easier to hold and read.  As I finished books in this series, I put them on an antique shelf that is sitting on the mantle in my basement sewing space.  Books work as decor you know, as I wrote about in Decorating With Books and More Decorating With Books.

Needlecraft Mysteries

The next book in the series is Stitch in Time dealing with a damaged tapestry.  It is followed by Unraveled Sleeve where Betsy and her friend Jill go to a knitting retreat.   The fifth book Murderous Yarn, deals with antique car racing.  I found this one particularly interesting as DH has done some vintage racing in the past.  Again, a piece of needlework holds a clue to the truth.  After the second book, the books can be read out of order, as not much changes in Betsy’s life.  That is the only disappointing thing about the series.  There isn’t a lot of growth in the main character, or change in her life once her divorce is done in the first book.  I find that I am more curious about the other characters in the series and how their lives change.

I think one of the better mysteries in this series is Buttons and Bones (#14), set in a remote cabin where a skeleton is found under a linoleum floor.  This one really had a different story than the usual, dealing with events long ago during World War II, and again a needlecraft in the form of a crocheted rug is a clue to the truth.  In Threadbare (#15), a homeless woman is found dead wearing an embroidered blouse that is her will.  Another twist on the usual story, Betsy has to solve two murders that are connected.

Needlecraft Myst 2

So, you have a series of cozy mysteries with needlework.  No, they are not great literature, and sometimes the mystery is a bit too easy to solve, but after dealing with CEUs, I am ready for something a bit mindless.  I still have these two on the to-be-read pile.  And Then You Dye is book #16, and The Drowning Spool is #17.  That will likely be it for me for one series, I have too many other books to read.

Needlecraftbook covers

After a while you begin to ask, how many murders can happen in a small town?  Horrors!  And the series sometimes gets a bit stale.  Maybe that is why I haven’t picked these up.  But the last one I read was Crewel Yule, book #8, read out of order because I wanted to save it for the holidays.  I did enjoy it, so hopefully I can get back to these soon.  Perhaps I can visit Excelsior again soon, checking in with friends not seen in a while.

What are you reading now?

 

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Scrap Dance Tango – The Reveal!!

The Scrap Dance Tango mystery is complete.  Thank you to all who participated.  I hope you will consider purchasing the pattern, as it is those sales that support the costs of the blog and make it possible to bring you new and free projects.  Click on Scrap Dance Tango!   Thank you!!

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Scrap Dance Tango

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Scrap Dance Virtual Trunk Show and Giveaway Winner

Our Scrap Dance for 2015 is done, and here is the last update with the finishes posted on Flickr. Time for a virtual trunk show.  So many wonderful color combinations!  Thank  you to everyone that participated, posted progress pictures, and finishes!!

Scrap Dance on bench

Mary was one of the first to finish.

Finished the Scrap Dance quilt along. Decided to go with scrappy borders and scrappy binding.

Carol did this fantastic quilting on her Scrap Dance.

Carol's Scrap Dance mystery quilt.

Carol's Scrap Dance mystery quilt.

Carol's Scrap Dance mystery quilt.

Here’s Heidi’s wonderfully quilted too.

Scrap Dance Mystery QAL

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Once again, here are Susan’s lullaby quilts.

Dots, Hearts and Stars I

Dots, Hearts and Stars II finished, "fraternal twin" to the first baby quilt, from all the same scrap and background fabric. Different border, binding, backing and a few different quilting lines.

Here’s Shahan’s runner, …

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and Wilma’s lullaby quilt.

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I love the colors in Cathy’s quilt.

Scrap Dance Mystery Quilt 2015

Here’s Emily’s finish.

Scrap Dance Finished

I think this color combination from Edy is wonderful!!  Everyone knows how I love that autumn palette. Fabulous.

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Brenda finished hers too, love the blue background.

New Quilt

If you would like to make a Scrap Dance quilt, the pattern is available in my Craftsy store.  And the Amazing Value Play will remain on sale until December 31.  It is 25% off the regular price of $10, and no coupon required.  The price has been changed on the listing to make it easier.

The extended deadline has now passed, and a winner has been chosen by random drawing. I put all the names of those with finished quilts shown on Flickr into a basket and picked one out. The winner is …..

Cathy DiGuiseppi!  Congratulations, and I sent you an email to get your address.

Thank you to all who participated in Scrap Dancing!  I am working on the next design now, and will start a new Scrap Dance 2 in January.  We’ll use the same Flickr group, so if you are already a member, nothing more to do but gather your scraps and get ready to have some fun!  If you want to join the fun, just log onto Flickr and ask to join the Scrap Dance group.


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Book Review – The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

I really like the writing in Kate Morton’s novels.  It is thoughtful and measured, not rushing to reveal too much at one time, but at times maddeningly so!  The reader sees into the mind and thoughts of the characters, understanding their motivations.

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In The Distant Hours, a young researcher and writer uncovers a link between her mother and a favorite novel from her childhood called The True History of the Mud Man.  But, the link carries a secret, the novel’s origin is a puzzle to be solved, and her attempts to uncover the truth leads her to an old castle and a trio of spinsters with secrets as well.  Each one has a slightly different view of the truth.  That truth must be kept hidden, until the day comes for it to be told and evidence revealed.

The reviews on this novel are very mixed, it is either loved or trashed.  I enjoy books that don’t have to have a lot of action, where the novel’s moodiness becomes part of the story and a thunderstorm becomes a pivot point in the past and present.

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I enjoyed the story, savoring the wonderful prose, not rushing to find out the ending.  This is a slow read, one to be enjoyed especially if you like an absorbing story that pulls you in slowly and won’t let go. Because the book moves slowly, I am able to keep up with the story while working around the last 20 hours of continuing education reading.  That reading plus the 576 pages of The Distant Hours means that I haven’t done a bunch of book reviews lately.  I am going to take a break from long novels and continuing education, and read several shorter books next.  I have to get the To-Be-Read pile down a bit, LOL!!  Only the cream of the crop will be reviewed on the blog, you can take a look at my Goodreads reviews on the sidebar to see some of the others, including ones to avoid.

What are you reading now?


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Dog On It – A Chet and Bernie Mystery Series

Prepare to fall in love with Chet, a 100-pound canine private investigator (who flunked out of K-9 police school) in business with his human, Bernie. Chet narrates the books, but this isn’t a fantasy book, he acts like a normal dog. He doesn’t speak to Bernie, but he does think, narrating the books in first-dog (like first-person, but with four paws).

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He is intensely loyal to Bernie, in ways only dogs can be. He seems to find out things that take Bernie a while longer. Chet gets distracted by smells and sounds, loves a good nap and a good stretch, gets confused about things he hears, hates cats, loves to ride shotgun and frequently lets his dog impulses take over when finding the occasional forgotten tidbit, unattended meal or something to chase. He is full of life, and at times full of himself, helping Bernie solve the case with a lot of humor. Chet isn’t too clear on things like cash flow, a wild goose chase, and the meaning of a red herring, but he does try.

dogonit Dog On It by Spencer Quinn

In the first novel in the series, Chet and Bernie are hired to find a missing girl named Madison, a sullen teenager with divorced parents who are not getting along. Her father is a real estate developer whose finances are a bit dicey. Bernie is going through his own troubled divorce. Chet is finds out the truth about Madison’s disappearance when he takes off on high adventure in a moment of impulse. He then has to figure out how to let Bernie in on what he knows but is quickly forgetting in light of stray burgers, random thoughts, nap times and gourmet dog treats. A reporter, Susie, wins Chet over quickly and she comes in very handy at just the right time. The story is told as seen through Chet’s eyes with all the distractions one might expect in a dog like unattended burgers, errant golf balls, his buddy Iggy, and a strange she-bark. The tale has intrigue, bad guys, chase scenes, and all the elements of a great mystery novel, with a fresh unique point of view.

 hangtail  Thereby Hangs A Tail by Spencer Quinn

In the second book in the series, Chet and Bernie get involved in the dog show arena as they are hired and fired as bodyguards for champion Princess and her owner.   When Princess is dog-knapped, they are on the case again. They investigate a ghost town, and find corruption in local law enforcement. Separated from Bernie, Chet makes a startling discovery, but then has to find his way back, picking up more clues along the way. Once again, loyal Chet finds out more facts sooner than Bernie, and helps the investigation. His distractions are charming. The reader will really believe that this is the mind of a very smart dog who envisions himself as a crackerjack investigator while he barks in response to the neighbor dog, gets heavy eyelids before a nap, rides shotgun, identifies the bad guys by smell, loves treats and those that give them, and whose tail has a mind of its own.

There are five more books in the series, listed below with the publisher’s synopsis for the first three.  These are all on Mount TBR (To Be Read) at my house.  If you are a true fan of Chet, he has a blog at http://www.chetthedog.com/. This series is charming, at times hilarious, at times thrilling, with mysteries to solve. I highly recommend!!

fetchthief To Fetch A Thief by Spencer Quinn

Chet has smelled a lot of unusual things in his years as trusted companion and partner to P.I. Bernie Little, but nothing has prepared him for the exotic scents he encounters when an old-fashioned traveling circus comes to town. Bernie scores tickets to this less-than-greatest- show-on-earth because his son Charlie is crazy about elephants. The only problem is that Peanut, the headlining pachyderm of this particular one-ring circus, has gone missing—along with her trainer, Uri DeLeath. Stranger still, no one saw them leave. How does an elephant vanish without a trace?

knewtoomuch The Dog Who Knew Too Much by Spencer Quinn

Bernie is invited to give the keynote speech at the Great Western Private Eye Convention, but it’s Chet that the bigshot P.I. in charge has secret plans for. Meanwhile Chet and Bernie are hired to find a kid who has gone missing from a wilderness camp in the high country. The boy’s mother thinks the boy’s father—her ex—has snatched the boy, but Chet makes a find that sends the case in a new and dangerous direction. As if that weren’t enough, matters get complicated at home when a stray puppy that looks suspiciously like Chet shows up. Affairs of the heart collide with a job that’s never been tougher, requiring our two intrepid sleuths to depend on each other as never before.

fistfulcollars A Fistful of Collars by Spencer Quinn

Hoping to bring some Hollywood money to the Valley, the mayor lures a movie studio to town to shoot their next major production starring Chad Perry. Known for his bad behavior, Chad needs a babysitter and the mayor hires Chet and Bernie for the job. The money is good, but something smells fishy. When they dig into the details of an old crime, they discover that Chad has links to the Valley that go way back. To complicate matters, for some odd reason, Chad’s cat, Brando, seems hellbent on making trouble for Chet.

pawandorder  soundfurry Paw and Order, and Sound and the Furry come next.

This is a really fun series, and I would imagine that all dog lovers will enjoy it.

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Have you read any of the books in this series?