From My Carolina Home

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


Travel Pillow Case

One thing that I do not like about traveling is hotel pillows.  For some reason most hotels have gone to all down pillows, which to me are very uncomfortable.  They go flat in a hurry, and I need the support for my neck to last all night.  So, I started asking for acrylic or polyester pillows when I check in, but even this is a problem as many hotels no longer even have those for the asking.  A couple of years ago, I began taking my own pillow with me on driving trips after I was forced to go to a discount store and buy a pillow while out of town just so I could sleep.  Checking the room as we were checking out, I completely overlooked it as it had a white pillowcase just like all the others in the room and didn’t stand out at all.  So I left a brand new pillow behind.  I decided to fix that last year with a pillowcase that couldn’t be overlooked.  I really liked this rose print, and it was the perfect size for the case.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

I used the roll-up method, simple and no exposed unfinished seams and no hand work.  I’m sure most of you have seen these on the internet for years.  But for anyone who hasn’t seen this, here are the instructions.  Begin by cutting these pieces-

  • 27″ x width of fabric from selvedge to selvedge of the main fabric – the rose print here
  • 9″ x width of fabric from selvedge to selvedge of coordinating fabric for the cuff – dark green
  • 2″ x width of fabric from selvedge to selvedge strip of solid fabric for accent strip – gold print

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Press the accent strip in half lengthwise to make a 1″ folded strip with the raw edges together.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Lay your fabrics in this order.  The cuff print on the bottom, flat and face up with the selvedges on the sides and the raw edge at the top.  Then place the main focus fabric also face up matching one of the WOF raw edges.  Roll up the other end so it is small enough to work around. Place the trim on top, raw edges meeting.  All selvedge edges will be on the sides, and may not be exactly the same width.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Now bring the bottom edge of the cuff print up to the top, over the roll of focus fabric, meeting the raw edges.  You now have 5 edges meeting at the top.  The other raw edge of the focus fabric is rolled up inside it.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Pin in place.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Sew a single line of stitching through all five layers.  You can use a serger if you wish, and I did just to keep it in good working order.  It isn’t necessary, as all the raw edges will eventually be covered.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Pull the focus fabric out one end to turn the whole assembly right side out.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

If you have selvedge edges left on as I did, trim them off at this time.  Note the cuff seam is now finished on both sides.  This is the inside of the pillowcase.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

The accent is a flange on the right side (outside).

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Now, sew a French seam to finish the case.  Place fabric WRONG sides together, folding the case to meet the sides of the cuff and main focus fabrics, and pin to hold the flange straight.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Sew or serge a 1/4-inch seam.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Turn the case inside out to meet right sides together.  Sew the same seam again this time at 1/2-inch, enclosing the raw edges of the previous seam.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Do the same French Seam across the bottom and you are done.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

That’s it, so simple.  To get a printable pattern, click on my affiliate Craftsy Link – Pillowcase Tutorial.  There is a downloadable free pdf in the tutorial.
Happy Cloud Quilt Batting by Fat Quarter Shop

Today is the last day for this Notion of the Month at Fat Quarter Shop – Quilt Dots.

Now, I cannot help but see my pillow on any hotel bed.  I haven’t left it behind since I made this pillowcase.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

These quick pillowcases make wonderful quilt covers too, and can be made any size you like.  For Queen or King size, just cut the focus fabric longer than the 27-inches of a standard pillow (whatever your pillow needs), the width of the fabric is still the same, and the other pieces would also be the same.  Have you done these before, or is this a new idea for you?


Scrap Dance Swing Bag

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!” (purchased during the introductory period for blog readers)

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.”

Click on Scrap Dance Swing Bag for the pattern!

Are you sewing today?



Val’s Tuesday Archives


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!


Saturday, July 15th


Sunday, July 16th


Monday, July 17th


Tuesday, July 18th
Wednesday, July 19th 


Thursday, July 20th


Friday, July 21st


Saturday, July 22nd 





Are you starting on your holiday sewing yet?



Finished or Not Friday


Quick Trip to Chattanooga

Last week another opportunity came up to take a really fast trip with DH.  He had a small job to do in Chattanooga, driving over one day and back the next.  It was too good to pass up, so again I packed a bag and tagged along.  We drove over in the morning, and there is nothing like going over the high pass on I-40 in the morning light.  The mountains are just gorgeous green now!  There was a bit of overcast sky part of the way, but no rain.

Hwy I40 - 11

Hwy I40 - 16

Very little traffic for a good part of the way made for a relaxing drive.

Hwy I40 - 17

Arriving in Chattanooga just after lunchtime, I dropped him off, and went shopping all afternoon.  I started at an enormous bookstore called McKays.  You have to see it to believe it.

McKays Books Chattanooga 1

Reading and video are on the ground floor, audio cds and vinyl are on the second floor balcony that ran all the way around the building.

McKays Books Chattanooga 2

This is the hardback fiction aisle, it keep me occupied quite a while.  Then the cookbook aisle was calling.  I know I was there at least 2 hours!

McKays Books Chattanooga 5

The result of my browsing was a small haul, with an author signed, first American edition, hardback copy of the Jeffrey Archer book I was missing for just $7. All the other books ranged in price from 50 cents to $1.50. Yep, that little!  The cookbooks , Best of the Best, were just 50 cents each.  I plan to attempt making paper soon, and found a book on that subject as well. The other books have been on my hunt list for a long time, over 2 years for On Rue Tatin!  Finding treasure is exciting, but finding it at $1 was a special thrill.

McKays Books Chattanooga 7

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the thrift stores, but that wasn’t a fruitful venture.   The one I spent some time looking for was closed on the weekday that I was there.  Several more thrifts were visited but nothing spoke to me.  Back at the hotel, I asked the nice, and very helpful young man named Rhett at the front desk for a recommendation for dinner.  We were directed to Mount Vernon, a Chattanooga institution since 1955.  As luck would have it, it was only about 10 minutes away.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 9

Rhett had given us a coupon for a free appetizer of fried green tomatoes that came with a horseradish sauce.  Yum!!

Mount Vernon Restaurant 1

DH and I both had fish, mine was salmon with a lovely garlic and parsley butter.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 2

He had grilled haddock, and we both got the squash casserole.  I’ve been working on a squash casserole recipe at home, and I’ll be posting that soon.  I want to make it one more time to be sure I have it the way I want it.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 3

I liked the ambiance of the place, so inviting with low lamps and nice decorations in the lobby.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 7

So many times, older restaurants like this get stagnant and stale, but not this one.  The music was low, modern jazz.  It looked like it had been updated with soft colors in yellow and blue with off white trim, warm and elegant but not dated.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 6

Service was outstanding.  The menu was fresh and on trend with locally sourced food as much as possible.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 5

The next morning, while DH was working again, I drove up to Lookout Mountain and was surprised to learn that there are no lookouts. I am spoiled by the Blue Ridge Parkway with its many overlooks and free parking areas to take pictures of our magnificent views. But, the only way I found to get even an idea of the view was to park at a meter regulated space, and try to get a picture across a private garden of the valley beyond.

Lookout Mountain 2

It looked like a lovely space, but it was posted as private, and surrounded by fencing, with the entrances gated and locked.

Lookout Mountain 3

There are a few attractions to see, but they were really pricey and didn’t have views. I thought the underground caverns would be fun, along with seeing a very high waterfall that was in the caverns, but I wanted to do that with DH, not by myself. So, I went down to the Riverwalk.

Tennessee Riverwalk 5

It is a beautiful area, clean and nice for a long walk on the Tennessee River.

Tennessee Riverwalk 2

Heading back toward the area where I had parked, I spotted a blue heron on the walk.

Tennessee Riverwalk 6

Amazingly, he wasn’t afraid of me at all.

Tennessee Riverwalk 8

I asked him what his thoughts were this fine morning, but he didn’t care to share them.

Tennessee Riverwalk 9

Walking a bit further the other direction, there are bridges for cars and pedestrians, along with the lovely shoreline scenery.

Tennessee Riverwalk 11

I also visited a really wonderful quilt shop, I’ll show you that with the next Be My Neighbor block.  Picking up DH, we decided to have lunch before beginning the drive back home, spending barely a day in Chattanooga.  I am certain we need to go back again, there was a lot to do, and I want another meal at Mount Vernon.  On the way home, we stopped in Knoxville at the other McKays Used Bookstore, and yes I found a few more books, just as inexpensively too.  This was a really fast trip, but enjoyable with a nice bit of time to just talk while in the car.  I left my laptop at home, and just enjoyed the scenery and the time with my dear husband.

Have you made any quick trips like this?



Brag About It

Foodie Friday and Everything Else


Take Me Away!



Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway

We love driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, and these pictures are from a drive we did last July. There are a number of neat tunnels on the parkway, fun to honk the horn as we go through with our car club.  I haven’t shown the tunnels before, so now is a good time to show them, while I study.  The mountains are so gorgeous in summer, so green with many days of hazy blue over the distant peaks.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

Rocky bald areas accent those lush green hills.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

Most of the tunnels are stacked stone, with lovely green mountain laurel, rhododendrons and other green shrubs surrounding the openings.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

Inside, some are short enough to see light on the other side, while others will put you into pitch blackness for a bit. These are all west of Asheville, before you get to the high point.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

Coming out into the sunshine.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

And then a short drive to another tunnel.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

Sometimes as soon as you leave one tunnel, there is another one in sight.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

There are five or six of these fairly close together on the parkway going west.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

Stopping at one of the many overlooks, the view is just spectacular.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

Each overlook has beautiful views.  It is heaven to live in the mountains.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway ~ From My Carolina Home

DH sold his little British car, so we haven’t been out for a drive recently.  We are hosting a special kind of rally event Saturday, but we will be doing timing and scoring, so not driving.  We really need to go on a hike soon.  Do you have nice areas nearby for a day drive?

How about some shopping without having to drive anywhere?
New fabrics in my Etsy Store, Click HERE.
This week, new items in my eBay store, listings end Sunday!  Click HERE.
New pattern in my Craftsy Store, click HERE.