From My Carolina Home

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October 2014 Autumn Color

I have been taking lots of pictures lately, but none of them seem to capture the wonderful, rich color that is in the landscape this Autumn.  The reds, golds and oranges are wonderful, but there is still a lot of green.  I think we will not peak this year until into November.  That’s fine by me, the longer the color season lasts, the better I like it!

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The beauty above is behind our home, on the mountainside. This maple is just stunning, gorgeous deep red, but my camera is just not good enough to capture that color.

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This gorgeous gold color is everywhere!

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These are pics of our driveway, going up the mountain to our home. There are oaks, maples and black walnut trees, along with a few locust.  I love the canopy they make over the road for a lot of the drive.

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I opened up the sunroof on the car to get this shot.

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Looking back down from the top.

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This maple is behind the house, finally got some of the color, yet real life is even more vibrant than this. I can see this one out our back window, it is stunningly beautiful.

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This one is on the east side.  You can see the next mountain through the trees.  That view is totally obscured in the summer by all the foliage.  The ravine is fairly deep off the side of the house, and this tree is probably 50-60 feet tall.

October east side

This one is on the west side. You just cannot see how vibrant it is, but this is close.

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These maples are on the main road I take to work.

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These beautiful maples are behind my office.

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What is fall without pumpkins? These are near my office, a most sincere pumpkin patch.

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Welcome Autumn!


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WIP Wednesday October 29

I went to five wonderful longarm classes at the AQS Show in Charlotte this past summer.  I have done a little practice of what I learned on the muslin pieces provided to us, but up to now I haven’t had a suitable quilt top to play with.  At the last meeting of the quilt club, the charity quilt chairperson gave me a Quilt of Valor to quilt.  This one looks like it is just made for a custom job, and I get to practice some of my new techniques.

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Loaded on the frame, now I have to decide what to put in each block.

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I started by doing some SID (stitch in the ditch) around the blocks, sashing, and border.  Then, I warmed up with two motifs I have done before – piano keys in the outer border, and ribbon candy in the narrow sashing.

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OK, deep breath, and get over my fear of marking! I am just terrified that the water soluable pen won’t come out. I have new chalk markers too, and I am a little less afraid of them. But, here goes, marked the curved lines using Jamie Wallen’s Quilter’s Apothecary curved ruler and went for it.

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Yikes, lots of wobbles!!  I do need more practice, but you have to start somewhere! I’ll be working on this one for a few weeks around my day job.

What are you working on this week?

 

WIPWed   be6b3-linkybees


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October Block of the Month

Continuing our batiks exploration with another block.  The local quilt store is picking the fabrics and patterns.  This month the pattern is Wyoming Valley, available on Quilt Blocks Galore.  The shop has chosen a dark purple with a red-orange accent.  The same grey background was given to us too.

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As usual, I don’t like the instructions as given, the wiggling back and forth doesn’t work for me.  So, I’ll give the dimensions with chain piecing instructions.

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So, first the cutting of the pieces.

Purple – cut eight rectangles 2-1/2 x 4-1/2 inches.

Grey – cut eight squares 2-7/8 inches, and twenty squares 2-1/2 inches.

Orange/Red – cut eight squares 2-7/8 inches.

Match up the orange/red with the grey 2-7/8 inch squares, draw a diagonal line on the grey.

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Sew on both sides 1/4 inch away from the line.

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Square up the HSTs to 2-1/2 inches.

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Lay out the corner units, and sew each one. .

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Isn’t chain sewing more fun!

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Iron your seams opposing so they will nest

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Lay out the center unit and sew.

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Lay the 2-1/2 inch grey squares on opposite corners of the purple rectangles, with half going to the right and half to the left. Pin them so you don’t get them mixed up.

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Sew on the line, chain piecing, being careful to lift the other square out of the way so you don’t sew over it.

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Press and trim the excess. You should end up with four chevron units.

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Lay them out with the other corner units and the center unit.

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Sew in rows, pressing seams alternately.

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And you’re done.

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I’m not real thrilled with my points on the chevrons on this one. But, I don’t think I’ll frog them out! This BOM will end up as a giveaway quilt when I am done. Since I have never quilted a batik quilt, it will be a learning experience.  I am thinking of sashing it all in black.  Given the variety of colors, and the consistent grey background, I’m thinking it would help the blocks shine.

Wanna catch up with us?  Just click on the Block of the Month 2014 Category in the sidebar.  Thanks for quilting along!


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Bloggers Quilt Festival – Autumn 2014

The fall edition of the Blogger Quilt Show is now open for entries.   Amy’s Creative Side is sponsoring the show and there are lots of great prizes to win.  There are a number of categories, and I have entered in the Small Quilts category and the Large Quilts category.  Click on the icon to go to the show.

AmysCreativeSide.com/bloggers-quilt-festival/

In Small Quilts, I entered my Sudoku Quilt that has the tutorial.  Click on the picture to see the tutorial.

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In Large Quilts, I entered Purple Summer Bliss that was accepted at AQS.  Click on the picture to see the whole story and close up views.

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You can vote for your favorite quilts starting Friday November 1.  I hope you’ll consider my quilts!  Thank you so much for stopping by and don’t forget to vote!!


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Baked Black and Great Northern Beans

Wow, it is finally fall and a perfect time for stick to the ribs comfort food.  How about a different take on baked beans?  I had black beans and Great Northern beans in the cupboard and I thought a mixture would be interesting.  And it goes great with the Butterflied Baked Chicken from the last post.

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Start by soaking the beans overnight.

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I added onion to a dutch oven pot full of water and brought it to a boil.  The beans were added and the temperature reduced.  The beans were simmered for about 2 1/2 hours.  I did this step because I have had them come out too tough in the past when baking them without the simmering stage as a lot of recipes suggest.

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I forgot to take pictures of the process until I had all the ingredients in, but I think you get the idea.  Saute the bacon and onion, then drain. Add to the beans with the rest of the ingredients and stir.

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Bake for about one hour for the flavors to blend and the sauce to cook.

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Yum, enjoy!!  These beans have the basic flavor of traditional baked beans, but with a meatier, heartier flavor from the addition of the black beans.  This recipe fed eight with leftovers, great for potluck dinners.

Baked Black and Great Northern Beans

I cup dried black beans

1 cup dried Great Northern beans

4-6 slices bacon

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1 cup ketchup (about, may need a bit more)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup molasses

salt and pepper to taste

Start these a day ahead.  Soak dried beans overnight in water.  Drain water and rinse.  Add to a dutch oven pot full of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer covered for about 2 hours or until beans are tender.  Drain water and place in a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  In a medium size pan, saute bacon and onion until bacon is crisp and onion is translucent.  Drain on paper towels.   Add to the beans.  Add remaining ingredients and stir well.  Bake for one hour.

Variation – if you like peppers, add chopped peppers to onions and bacon to soften before adding to pot.

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This could serve as a vegetarian main course without the bacon.  But I like them best as a side dish.  In fact, they would go nicely with my Leftover Pork Roast Enchiladas.  Enjoy!!


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Butterflied Baked Chicken

I like baked chicken a lot, and I fix chicken in a lot of different ways.  One thing I don’t like about baking a whole chicken is the juices that collect inside the chicken that take so long to be cooked.  At times most of the chicken is done, but there are still just barely warm juices inside and the meat next to the thigh bone is still raw.  There is an easy way to eliminate that, and it makes for a better, juicier chicken.  If you don’t have to cook the chicken longer to get the thighs fully cooked then the white meat doesn’t dry out.

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It isn’t hard to do this.  All it involves is removing the backbone. You’ll need a pair of kitchen shears to do the job easily, but you can use a wicked sharp knife if you don’t have shears.  The advantage to shears is the serrations on the sides of the blades hold the meat in place as you cut.  And it is harder to cut your own fingers too.

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So you start with a beautiful 4-5 pound chicken, after all, we want the leftovers for chicken soup and great sandwiches.

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Flip it over. Start by cutting down the side of the backbone, releasing the thigh bone from the socket as you get to it. Butterflied Chicken - 3

Continue up the side to the neck cavity.

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Repeat for the other side and remove the backbone.  Lift the rib sections with your fingers and remove.  Then flip the chicken over and press down on the center of the breastbone from the front with the heel of your hand to flatten it. You will hear it break.  If you want, you can remove the wishbone too, but I leave it in.

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Place it on a rack over a large pan to catch the drippings.  Turn the thighs so the bones face outward for even cooking.  Turn the wing tips under.

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Add herbs and spices to your liking to the skin.  You can add herbs under the skin as well if you like.  Sometimes I use basil leaves and orange zest – really good!!  Today was lemon-pepper, garlic salt, thyme and oregano.

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Bake with the legs toward the back of the oven at 350 degrees for about one hour for a 4 pound chicken.  A little more or less for weights greater or less than 4 pounds.  It will only be 5-7 minutes difference for a 1/4 pound weight variance.

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Beautiful, browned, fragrant chicken with moist white meat.  The added benefit is there is more crackly skin since it isn’t sitting in its own juices.  Also, most of the excess fat is now at the bottom of the pan.

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An added benefit of cooking a whole chicken this way is the bones get some exposure to the oven heat while roasting.  When you use them with the leftover bits in a soup or stew, the flavor is enhanced just that much more.  Chicken and dumplings next for these cooler evenings.  Yum!!

Have you ever cooked a chicken this way?  What do you like to do with your leftovers?

 

FoodieChristmas


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Stamping for Halloween

The weather turned cooler and there was a bit of time to play so I sat down at my work table to make some cards.  I have a bunch of Halloween ribbons, and stamps, and it is time to do a few of those. The inspiration for these came from the Stampin’ Up catalog. I used the stamps I had, mostly Stampin’ Up brand, but also others I got at Michaels, Big Lots and a dollar store. The print papers are Stampin’ Up.

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One thing I found as I was struggling to find my deckle edge tearing bar is creativity is stifled when the environment is cluttered.  And my work table was a mess.  So, I cleared it up a bit, and found that my glue stick was dry. So I started by doing some of the elements before I went out to a meeting and could pick up more glue sticks. I have a roller with a spider web motif, so I rolled rows of spider webs in chocolate on ecru paper.

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Half I used as a card base, and the other I ripped with my deckle edge tearing ruler.

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I added ribbons from Michaels, and glued accents over them.

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Here is the inside.

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I used the half piece folded for the next card. I added ribbon, a green accent, and an orange rectangle with these characters riding a broomstick.

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Here is the inside for this card, cute saying!

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Next up, a card for the boss. She is a fan of Wizard Of Oz, once showing up to our office costume day as Dorothy. This one seemed perfect for her. Texture stamp on the base card, witch boots and hat, on a layered frame.

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Here is the wording I chose for the inside.  I added the bats for a little extra interest.

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Here is another one, simple ribbon and frame with a motif. It is hard to see, but I put little black cats around the Eek!

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Here is the inside of this one.

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I stamp the back of my cards too, with this stamp. No, it isn’t a Hallmark, it’s better!! I made it.

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My mother in law is fond of putting confetti inside cards to fall out when they are opened. I just happened to have some with jack-o-lantern faces, black cats and gold stars.

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I made these cards last year.  I thought you’d like to see a few more for inspiration.

Halloween cards 2013

Now, maybe I can get them mailed on time, and actually get one to my cousin before she sends one to me this year!

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Psst, it’s a secret, see tomorrow’s post.