From My Carolina Home

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


Summer Bliss in Purple

Have you ever just fallen in love with a magazine cover? Usually, this isn’t what I do. Books and magazines are sources of inspiration, and lots of ‘maybe someday’ plans, but this one really grabbed me. I love tessellating designs, and this one spoke to me.   I am not a fan of blue, but the juxtaposition of blue to yellow to green really pops. I thought I’d love it if the blue was purple instead.

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The magazine is American Patchwork and Quilting, Issue 117, August 2012. When it arrived in my mailbox, I was captivated by the cover design. The designer is Marti Michell (not the first design of hers I’ve liked). The sample on the cover was quilted by Rachel Greyling. You can see the magazine cover and Marti’s original quilt here –

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The pattern calls for 14 different fabrics! I thought a couple of the patches could be the same fabric so I wouldn’t need quite as many.

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I made a slight change to the border, and enough blocks to span my king size bed. I quilted it using a pantograph called Plumeria Garden designed by Lisa Calle at Intelligent Quilting. This took up all the extra wonkiness, and the quilt lies absolutely flat on the bed. It will be my spring and summer quilt, lighter weight batting so it isn’t too warm, just enough over the sheet for cooler nights.   I took a picture of it on the bed, but I can’t use it yet.


I made the decision to enter it in the American Quilter Society quilt show coming to Charlotte this summer. I have no illusions of winning any ribbons (only custom quilted quilts get those), but I figure if the show needs some filler to round out the show, maybe it will be considered for the color choices. In any case, I love the quilt, and it will grace my bed in the warmer months for years to come.


Here’s the label, giving credit for the design to Marti Michell, she earned it!  Thanks, Marti, for this great design!!


Happy Quilting!!



How To Square Up A Block

Squaring up a block is the best way to be sure that your blocks are all the same size. This is easy, but can be time consuming with a lot of blocks, on say a king size quilt. But it is worth the time.  It will ensure that your quilt lies flat, and that the blocks all line up the way they should.  Begin by finding your square ruler with a diagonal line.  I recommend that you have at least two at your disposal – a 6-1/2 inch square and a 12-1/2 inch square.

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Place the diagonal so it goes through the middle of the block (or along the seam of a HST), putting the halfway point in the middle. So, for a 2-1/2 inch block, put the 1-1/4 inch mark in the dead center.


Cut off the excess on two sides.


Turn it around and line up the cut edges with your finished size, be sure your diagonal is across the center, then cut off the excess of the remaining two sides


Oops, I moved the ruler and didn’t notice it before I took the pic.  It is now 2-1/2 inches square.


If you have a more complex block, the procedure is the same.  Start by putting the center of your ruler in the center of the block.


So here we want a 4-1/4 inch block so put the 2-1/8 inch mark in the center.  Cut off the right side and the top.


Now turn it around 180 degrees, and line it up again, with the cut edges at the final size, the diagonal line running through the middle and to the corner points.  Cut off the right side and top again.

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Voila!!  No matter how careful I am, my blocks are never straight after sewing, so I do this with all my blocks.  After the block is constructed, I’ll square it up to the final size – mostly 12-1/2 inches.  Then the blocks always line up, the points are straight and not cut off or floating.


These QOV blocks squared up to 7-1/2 inches.  You’ll be seeing more of them in future posts.

I hope this is helpful, happy Quilting!!



Around the World in Salt

It was quite a revelation to me last year on a cooking forum that there were a lot more types of salt in the world than just regular table salt and sea salt. I was fortunate to have a generous benefactor send me a number of different ones to try. These are finishing salts, some you can cook with, but most give their flavors best to sparing use on the finished dish. Most do well with blander foods that can handle a strong flavor like eggs, cauliflower, potatoes or popcorn. Some are better for bringing out flavor in dishes like a seared to perfection steak, chicken breast or pork chop. Try a bolder flavor in my quick Chicken and Asparagus Dinner.


I have also found the smoky ones to taste wonderful on salads and sliced tomatoes.

Late Summer Cookout ~ From My Carolina Home

The delicate flavors go well with seafood and in desserts like salted caramel brownies. All are available online, some in specialty shops or places that carry international gourmet foods.


Flower of Bali – a limited supply each year as it is harvested from evaporation in the hollowed out trunks of palm trees in Bali. It is a light sea flavor with a large grain, perfect as a finishing salt on meats and poultry.

Pure Ocean – Another large grain sea salt, mostly pure without minerals, large crystals and a mild flavor.

Hawaiian Coral – a large grained sea salt with coral color from the clay evaporating trays

Smoked Sand – a smoked salt, ground into a fine grain

Himalayan Pink – rock salt from the Himalayan mountains of Pakistan containing calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron that gives it the delicate color.

Fish dishes like my Quick Weeknight Fish Dinner are perfect for finishing salts like these.

Smoked Dark – Extra bold strong smoky flavored sea salt wonderful in a dry rub on meats to be grilled.

Eurasian Black – Actually is a pink color, a smoked large grain with a sulfur mineral content and a strong flavor. It is wonderful on egg dishes like quiche and deviled eggs.

Murray River Australian Flake – Harvested along the Murray River, it is a coral color large grain salt with a mild flavor, great on fish.

Fleur de Sel Camargue – a finer grain salt with a pale pinkish hue, mild to taste sea salt harvested on the coast of France

Sel de Guerande – A French sea salt with minerals, flaky textured with an earthy, wood smoke flavor and a golden color.


Bold flavors do very well with mild dishes like my Shrimp And Avocado Flower appetizer.  Here I used the Bold smoked large grain salt, detailed below.

Shrimp Flower Appetizer at From My Carolina Home

Black Truffle Sea Salt –  One of my favorites, it is a delightfully strong, earthy black truffle flavor due to the dried bits of truffle mixed in with large sea salt crystals.  Wonderful on eggs and chicken.

Halen Mon Wales – larger grain with a flaky texture gently infused with smoke from Welsh oak chippings which gives it a lightly sweet smoked flavor, ideal on vegetables, fish and eggs.

Hawaiian Red – a sea salt evaporated in Red Alaea clay trays which impart some of the mineral to the salt and bits of clay mineral.

Bold Smoked – a wood fired salt with a large grain perfect as a finishing salt, great on beef and tomatoes.

Lavender – contains an infusion of lavender flowers, perfect with herbs on chicken or fish, lovely in salted desserts.

Hawaiian Black – contains black volcanic lava charcoal in the large grains of the sea salt.


Just about all of them are wonderful on deviled eggs, especially topped with chilled shrimp.  See my Perfect Deviled Eggs with Variations for the last recipe you will ever need.  I give you categories to use with amounts to mix and mingle, making the taste different each time, or stick with a favorite.  Top with a smoked salt or a large grain sea salt for wonderful flavor!

Perfect Deviled Eggs From My Carolina Home

Speaking of eggs, have you tried my Anything Quiche?  It is crustless, to keep it gluten free and low carb.


All of these salts have the same sodium content by weight as table salt, so this isn’t a way to reduce your sodium intake. However, some claim that you will use less of a finishing salt than you would a regular table salt, so in that way reduces the overall intake. Either way, add more flavor to your dishes with a little exotic salt.  Have fun!!

Have you used exotic salt in your kitchen? Do you use sea salt or other types of salt for cooking and eating?



McTavish Monday Part 4

This is an ‘I Spy’ quilt I made for a kids quilt charity project.  I decided it would get the McTavish treatment.  The back doesn’t show the quilting because the thread was an almost perfect match.

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The binding was finished over the weekend.  Amazing how a hideous print makes good binding!


Overall I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.  Thanks, Amy, for inspiring me to give this a try!

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Saturday Hike and the Eyecatchers quilts

It was a lovely day in the 60s, so DH and I set off again to hike our beautiful mountains.  I had a special destination in mind this time, as the Folk Art Center near Asheville was having a wonderful quilt exhibit.  I wanted to see the show after the hike, so from the Folk Art Center parking area we picked up the Mountain to Sea Trail, and set off.

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Lots of trail, but not a lot of pretty scenery, no overlooks and no waterfalls.  The only points of interest were the stone bridge we used to cross over the road and the mountain range in the distance.  But the quilt show was worth it.

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We hiked a total of about three miles, out and back.  Around the Folk Art Center  I did find some flowers.  These little rusty colored flowers are on trees now.   I had to research what they were and found out they are Red Maples, the same trees that turn gorgeous red in the fall.

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We went into the exhibit after our hike.  If you live within a day’s drive of Asheville, come see this exhibit.  It is the private collection of Barbara and Robert Hunter called Eyecatchers.  And they certainly are!!  Their story and some pictures from the exhibit are on the Folk Art Center’s gallery – here.

In the front of the center is a quilt depicting scenes from around the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It was neat, but hard to get a picture as it is behind glass.

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On the way home, we did find a cherry tree just coming into bloom.

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And these little puff ball flowers, don’t know what they are.


Arriving back home, the little hyacinth is valiantly trying to give me a bloom, only three little flowers, but they are pretty and have a lovely sweet scent.


So, back to quilting, and reading, and cooking, and well, you know!



Well, since you asked…..

A blog I follow put up a link party asking for us to show our show winners.  OK, well, since you asked, it isn’t bragging, right?  Hehe.  Here’s some of mine.

This leaf quilt called October Mountain Breeze was made about 10 years ago, regular readers will recognize it from a previous post on the first, best and most recent quilts.  I love this quilt, it is king sized, with random numbers of flying geese in the border.  It won an honorable mention for design at our local guild show a few years ago.

October Mountain Breeze - HM

This one was the most fun win ever.  It is five cornucopia blocks with pieced leaves and two borders, one with metallic threads.  It is quilted in a leaf pantograph.   I entered it into a home decor category at the Mountain Regional State Fair last year, and not only won first place in the category, it won Best Of Show for the division!  I was beyond excited!!  The only disappointment was it was in the bottom of a cabinet for the entire length of the show, folded over so it couldn’t really be seen.  Ah well, I hung it up with its ribbons for a while when I got it home.

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I won a second place in quilted Christmas items at the Fair.  The Santa is handmade by me and was over 35 years old.  It was falling apart, so I got it out and repaired it by hand, sewing on missing beads and sequins.  I then made a black quilted background for it so it wouldn’t be handled by the edges anymore, and hand appliqued it to the black quilt.

FairSanta copy

And my coffee bag purse won a third place, I did a whole post on how to make this purse, look in the sewing category for it.


This little candle mat won a first in a crafts category, with its 64-piece block.  The block was a challenge for our quilt club two years ago.


And lastly, a few years ago my Autumn Bright Around the Bend won first place in Throw Quilts.


Entering contests is tons of fun.  I have entered a number where I didn’t win a thing, but I really enjoyed seeing my quilts hanging with others.  It is why I have entered the AQS show in Charlotte.  I seriously doubt mine will be chosen to show, unless they are just desperate for filler, but at least I can say I tried!!


There aren’t a huge number of ribbons here, but I do like the memories that they have.

Linking up with Val’s Quilting Studio to share, click on the logo below to visit Val.  Come see what others have done too.  And I’d love it if you would follow my blog.  If you came to see me from Vals, welcome!!




Block of the Month Quilt Along – March 2014

I like doing quilty things with my buddies, and recently joined a block of the month with two friends.  I joined up without knowing what the color choices were, or what kind of blocks would be done.   It is a 30 minute drive away, so we get to have lots of chat time in the carpool.   I couldn’t make the first two meetings of the year, so I bought the first three block kits.  The choices, for my taste, were between awful and more awful, but the time with friends is more important than a fabric choice.   The quilt can always be used by one of the many charities locally.

So, neon brights or batiks?  Since I have never worked with batiks, I chose that route to experience something new.  In general, the reason I don’t care for batiks are the prints.  This was no exception with the oranges.   I am more of a Thimbleberries kind of gal (so sad that Lynette Jenson has stopped designing under that name, but will watch  RJR to see what happens).  So, maybe it is time to see what all the hubbub is about.  Here are the fabrics in the first three kits.  I’ll make the March kit up today, and we will catch up the other two later. The blocks for the year will probably all be from Quilt Blocks Galore, so you can quilt along if you like.  I’ll gather the block posts together under a Block of the Month Category so we can find them again.




So, March’s block is Annie’s Choice, click here for the pattern.  It is all half square triangles.  I cut 4 inch squares instead of the 3 7/8 called for so I can cut them square later.  So, cut your squares, then mark your diagonal lines.


Sew 1/4 inch away from your line on both sides, chain piecing to save time.


Cut on the diagonal lines, and press toward the darker.


Square them up to 3-1/2 inch squares, placing the diagonal line on your sewing line and trimming away the excess.


Lay out the design on your sewing table checking it against the block pattern.


Take the squares in row 2 and align them on top of row one so your seam line is on the right.  Do the same with row 4 on row 3.


Sew all of the couplets.  No need to press yet.


Lay them out again, and align the seams again for the center seam.  Chain sew.


Lay them out again on your ironing board so you can press the seams opposite to each other for nesting.


Lay them out one final time so you don’t get any of them upside down (ask me how I know this is important, LOL!!)


Sew the final seams and press.


So, my first block with batiks, and I am not impressed.  The tighter weave is more difficult to work with, and if you get a crease in one, it is very difficult to iron out.  I pressed the block several times and these puckers are still there.  Will see what happens when the quilt is complete and quilted.

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Will catch up the January and February blocks in a week or so, then will post the Block of the Month once a month as I get to the kit.

Hope you’ll quilt along with me, you can use whatever fabrics you like!