From My Carolina Home

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


More Decorating with Books

Here are additional interesting ways to hide your book stash decorate with books. They can be put in lots of places, not just on shelves.  I used this set of Monica Ferris’ Needlecraft Mysteries as a display in my sewing room on the mantle over the fireplace.

Ferris books

A tiny quilting book is in the lap of a little bear in his rocker.

quilting featherweight

Up in the library, a trio of rabbits looks at a book with pretty watercolor pictures.

Reading rabbits

A dark corner of a Victorian shelf holds a stack of books waiting to be read.

Victorian shelf books

Next to the gas fireplace is another tall stack, no they don’t get hot here.
fireplace books

The bedside table of the guest room holds a bedside reader, a big book with short stories for guests to enjoy.


Corners otherwise ignored become little places to store a few books in line for reading.


This little mouse reads his book on the shelf under a side table.


Hope that gives you some new ideas.  Now you have seen a large part of my To-Be-Read pile too.  The stacks are mostly in the queue.  I didn’t show you the 8 bookshelves and two other library tables holding more books.  Yep, I like books!!

Where do you put your books?



Decorating with Books

I love to read, and I have a huge To-Be-Read pile.  To keep the ones I have read and want to keep, along with all the ones I want to read under control, I use books to decorate.  They are literally all over the house.  Here are some of the ways I use books as decor.  Today I’ll focus on my kitchen, and next time I’ll show you some of the other rooms.

Coyle coffee

I really enjoy the Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle.  It only made sense to put them near my coffeepot!  These are wonderful cozy style mysteries with the protagonist owning a coffee house called Village Blend.  The books progress nicely with the background story of Claire Cosi, her ex-husband coffee buyer Matt, her eccentric ex-mother-in-law Madame, and of course, cop-boyfriend Mike Quinn.  There are a lot of coffee facts in the books. For instance, I learned that the darker the roast, the less caffeine in the cup.  Interesting!!  There are some recipes as well.  I am eagerly awaiting the next in the series.  If you like this kind of mystery with recipes, check out Mystery Lover’s Kitchen.

Coyle books

Cookbooks are a given in a kitchen, and I have a lot.  Plus, I have a little kitchen, so most are on a bookshelf just outside the kitchen.   I use the top of that shelf as a display area, and a book is on a stand.  I change that book regularly to fit the season.  Summer is Farmer’s Market veggie time.


Same goes for the little library table that is at the end of the cabinets.  I change this display for the seasons too.  Have you read The School of Essential Ingredients?  I highly recommend it!


In the center of the kitchen is a little pie safe, and I use it to stack books on as well.

kitchen island

My best idea was to remove the doors from the cabinet over the refrigerator and use that for book space.  My collection of Julia Child books is on the right.  On the left are dessert cookbooks and baking.  A few baskets complete the display and help hold up the books.


Under the mortar and pestle is a stack of Livia Washburn Fresh Baked Mysteries.  I am collecting these in the trade size, and I need a few more.  Another delightful cozy mystery series with a retired teacher Phyllis Newsom as an amateur baker and sleuth.  More Recipes here too!

washburn books

Do you have any of those tiny little books?  They look great in a tiny stand placed on a windowsill.


Yes, all that is crammed into my kitchen!  I wish I had room for my collection of every one of  Diane Mott Davidson’s Culinary mysteries, but my kitchen is just too small to get 17 hardback books on the counter.  The recipes in her books are wonderful and I have tried most of them.  I particularly like Scouts Brownies from her second book, Dying for Chocolate, YUM!!

More ideas next time!


Blue Ridge Drive July 2014

We did a drive with our car club yesterday.  The weather was just perfect, a beautiful sunny day in the 70s.  The recent rains had cleared the air and the views were spectacular off the Blue Ridge Parkway.   We met in a parking lot near the entrance to Pisgah Forest.



This was a Progressive Drive, a fun drive that has a lot of stops.  With each stop, the passengers change cars, so everyone gets some time with a lot of different members of the club.  It is a way to have some social interaction while enjoying a drive.


We stopped at the highest point on the parkway for a couple of pictures.  I was pretty far back in the car line by this photo.  We had 14 cars participating in the drive.


I just had to try to get a couple of pictures as we drove, the mountains were so gorgeous. We drove a total of 58 miles, so there were lots of beautiful views. This one is a bit blurry.


This one came out better.


We stopped and had a picnic lunch near Mount Pisgah. It was such a beautiful day, I don’t think anyone wanted to go home!


There will be another drive in a couple of weeks to an Amish farm.  I’ll share that with you, too.


Block of the Month – July 2014

This month’s block is Housewife found on Quilt Blocks Galore.  Click HERE for the link to the pattern.  I liked the purples chosen by the quilt store.  I have a secret wish that the whole quilt was in purple, yellow and green.  But, it will be scrappy.  This one has a mistake in the online instructions, so follow along here carefully.


Once again, I am changing the instructions. If you have followed the BOM posts, you know I don’t like the strip method of making half-square triangles, too much turning this way and that. I prefer to chain piece, so I cut my squares apart and do what is comfortable for me. So, we start with the following –

Medium color (here the light purple) you need
four 2-1/2 inch squares
two 4-7/8 inch squares cut on the diagonal

Dark (here the dark purple)
eight 2-7/8 inch squares
one 5-1/4 inch square

eight 2-7/8 inch squares
one 5-1/4 inch square


Start by stacking the dark and light 2-7/8 inch squares right sides together. Draw a diagonal line on the light. Do the same with the dark and light 5-1/4 inch square. Draw a second line on the opposite diagonal on the big square. You’ll need it later.  Be sure you have your size 10 needle in the machine and Aurifil thread.


Chain piece by sewing 1/4 inch away on either side of the line on all the little squares. On the big one, just do one side. There is a mistake in the online instructions, it says to sew on both sides of the big one, but that doesn’t work and I’ll show it to you here. Ask me how I know!! Because I did it the way the pattern said.


I turned around the chain and sewed the other side. Only do the little squares, not the big one like I did.


The instructions next say to cut the big one apart along the line between the seams, then cut across like the picture on the page. I drew a line before sewing to make this easier.


But wait, something is wrong. There is no way these are going together as a pinwheel.


If you turn the bottom two around so the long straight is on the outside, then both will have the same color next to the upper two.  In other words, the purple will be next to purple instead of the light grey.  Two of them have to be frogged, and restitched on the other side.


So I did that, and whew! That’s better! Thank heaven I saw this before adding the HSTs!


Next, I squared up all my little HST blocks to 2-1/2 inches.  See my tutorial on Squaring Up HSTs if you need help on how to do this.


I constructed the pinwheel and added the large medium-tone purple triangles to set the pinwheel on point.


Once again, (you know how much I insist on laying things out multiple times) I set out the HSTs to be sure they were pointing the right way. This is so easy to get backwards. Make little purple mountains in the centers.  Pin well, nesting seams where you can for sharp points.


Sew in rows.


Add the squares to each end of two of the rows.


Then arrange around the pinwheel center.


Sew the top and bottom to the pinwheel.


Then add the other two rows with the cornerstones. All Done!


I wish the quilt store had gone through this with us, but they didn’t say a word about the mistake.  Maybe they forgot in all the excitement of it being Shop Hop.  Oh well, I am just glad I am blogging these, as it forces me to slow down and take pictures along the way.  Hope this helps those that haven’t made the block yet!  Happy Sewing!

Linking Up with

Crazy Mom Quilts

HSTeria Quilt Along

Plus several of the sidebar linkups, and …


My Bargain Hibiscus

So I mentioned last month that I had a big bargain to share.  Here it is.  Would you have taken this home from the garden center clearance rack?  Would you if it was only $1.50?  Yep, paid $1.50 for this dry, sad, bedraggled hibiscus.

hibiscus 1.50

But, a few hours later after a thorough soaking it was beginning to perk up.

hibiscus dry

Two days later, it is looking even better and there are two buds on it!


Two weeks later healthy and thriving, and the bud is bigger.


A torrential rainstorm got this bud before it could open nicely.  But, a few days later, there is another one.  And another half a dozen buds behind it.


The bud color deepened, and one evening it was starting to open.

HIbiscus Flower 1

Wow, a double bloom!

HIbiscus Flower 2

More buds to come, isn’t this gorgeous!!

HIbiscus Flower 3

HIbiscus Flower 4

And just a few days later, more blooms in a gorgeous lighter peach color.

Hibicus July 4

Two blooms at once, and both in the lighter peach color. Strange that the first bloom was darker.  Yes, I swear, it is the same plant!  The pictures were all taken in late afternoon.

Hibicus July 1

Hibicus July 3

Looks like this beauty will bloom for days or even weeks to come!

Hibicus July 2

I can’t stop taking pictures of this hibiscus!!  Every day more blooms.  Here’s the plant again a day or two after the pic above has four flowers – one spent, two in bloom and one opening up.



And just a couple of days ago, arriving home at sunset to find seven blooms!!!  Of course, I had to take a picture of that too!


Amazing!!  There are at least a dozen more buds to come. Was that a buck-fifty well spent or what!  If you like to garden, don’t overlook the clearance rack, sometimes there are real bargains to be had! Do you have a bargain flower story?

If you love flowers, stop by the blog and see the header photo I just put up.  It is my azaleas with a butterfly, and I’ll be entering this photo in the state fair photography contest this year.


Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookies

Recently I had a pot luck lunch to attend, and I wanted to make something special. I learned how to make chocolate covered Oreo cookies last year through some trial and error. I think I have it down now, and can share it with you.  So here is how to make Chocolate Covered Oreo cookies!

Chocolate Covered Oreos 17

You’ll need one package of regular Oreos (not double stuff, they are too thick), two bags of Wilton Chocolate Candy Melts, one or more molds, an offset spatula and a glass cup for microwaving the chocolate.

Chocolate Covered Oreos 1

Start by pouring half of a bag of candy melts into the glass cup. Microwave on 50% power for two minutes.

Chocolate Covered Oreos 2

When done, stir the chocolate until all the lumps are gone.

Chocolate Covered Oreos 3

Chocolate Covered Oreos 4

Put a generous dollop of chocolate into each mold.

Chocolate Covered Oreos 5

Press an Oreo cookie into each mold until the chocolate squishes up the sides of the mold.

Chocolate Covered Oreos 6

Put a small dollop of chocolate on the top, and spread evenly with the spatula.

Chocolate Covered Oreos 7

Don’t worry if there is some on the mold, it will harden and can be reused.

Chocolate Covered Oreos 8

Place in your refrigerator. Set a timer for 25 minutes. The cookies should easily pop out with just a bit of tension on the mold.

Chocolate Covered Oreos 9

If the first one doesn’t come out cleanly, or it pops out with half the chocolate left in the mold, put them back in the refrigerator for another five minutes. Scrape off what is left on the mold…

Chocolate Covered Oreos 11

and put it back in your cup for the next round of melting.

Chocolate Covered Oreos 12

If one doesn’t pop out right, you can take the messed up one and lift off the chocolate.

Chocolate Covered Oreos 10

Chocolate Covered Oreos 14

Put it back in the glass for the next round of melts.

Chocolate Covered Oreos 15

Take the messed up cookie and put it in the next batch. It’ll be fine. Just remember what Julia Child said, no one will know!!

Chocolate Covered Oreos 16

Next time I am at the craft store, I am going to buy more molds. Using only one mold took me a couple of hours to make 32 cookies, just 8 at a time. You’ll have half a bag of candy melts left to use in the next batch. My local chocolate shop charges $1.25 each for these, but I made mine for about 15 cents each. Using coupons for the candy melts and finding the Oreos on sale helps. The molds are not expensive at the local craft store, about $2 regular price.   I bought my supplies with a 50% coupon for the most expensive item, and 40% off everything else.

Chocolate Covered Oreos 17

These were a hit at the potluck.  Enjoy!!  Sharing with some of the fun parties on my link page again in 2016!

And in 2017!

Brag About It





Garden Update

Just a quick update, some new things are blooming!  My mother-in-law loves these flower posts, so I have to do them when new things bloom.  Remember the mystery bulb?  Turned out to be a gorgeous white gladiola.

White Gladiola open

The corner is just filling up with those intense blue lobelias, and the verbena is getting big. The petunias are still blooming too.

Flowers July 2014

Out back, the rhododendrons have shown their faces.

Rhodo wild white

One is pale pink.


Another is pure white.


Those torenias continue to be attractive to the hummingbird, but I still haven’t been fast enough with the camera to get her picture. At least I think its a girl! It is just a joy to be out here in the evening and water these lovelies.

Porch July 2014

I hope you enjoy the flowers as much as I do!!