From My Carolina Home

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Spring Tulip Mini Quilt

Spring’s softer colors and all the flowers in bloom inspired me to get out some pretty pastels and create another mini quilt. It took only two afternoons to complete.

Spring Mini Quilt - 24

I started with a paper pieced tulip that I did in a demo some years ago. Then I pulled some pretty spring pastels to go with it.

Spring Tulip Mini Quilt - 1

I don’t have this paper pieced pattern anymore, and I was not successful in finding it for you, but I did find one similar at Sew What’s New – Paper Pieced Tulip.

Next, I drew out some flying geese and enlarged them on my computer to be about 8 inches high.

Spring Tulip Mini Quilt - 2

I paper pieced those too.

Spring Tulip Mini Quilt - 3

The key to getting paper piecing perfect is to fold back the paper after each addition …..

Spring Tulip Mini Quilt - 4

and cut off the piecing at 1/4 inch.

Spring Tulip Mini Quilt - 5

Then you know where to line up the next piece.

Spring Tulip Mini Quilt - 6

Voila, flying geese done. Note that I added some 2-1/2 inch borders to increase the total size.

Spring Tulip Mini Quilt - 7

I needed more height on the tulip pot, so I removed the bottom border and added a pastel print for a tablecloth that the pot would sit on.

Spring Mini Quilt - 1

I had a bit of scrap lace too, so I added that as a trim.

Spring Mini Quilt - 2

I squared off the excess on the sides, leaving the bottom long for proper fitting to the geese unit.

Spring Mini Quilt - 3

Placing the units side by side, I lined up the seams at the top and sewed the two together.

Spring Mini Quilt - 4

Then I trimmed it up to be 12 inches square to fit the table top frame.

Spring Mini Quilt - 4-2

I don’t mind paper piecing if the project is small like this one.  Do you like to paper piece?

Ready for part 2?  Click on Spring Tulip Mini Quilt Finishing


Best of the Weekend Logo Saturday Sparks Button 3 SoCalGal papercrze CrazyMomQuilts Project-Parade-Link-Party-Button200x200_zps29ffd2f6 be6b3-linkybees  BigCraftasticSewCanDo A Bright and Beautiful Life





Late April Sunday Drive

We woke up Sunday to a lovely view across the valley just after dawn.  Fog in the valley shows the layers of hills and mountains so much better than a clear view.

April Dawn 2015 -2

Gradually the fog burned away, and we decided to go for a nice little drive with friends in our little British cars.

Sunday Drive April 2015 - 2

We drove a route around the countryside past beautiful mountains and lovely pastures.

Sunday Drive April 2015 - 3

Sunday Drive April 2015 - 5

There were shades of green everywhere as the trees and meadows come to life again.

Sunday Drive April 2015 - 4

We went by an apple orchard, but the blooms were already done.

Sunday Drive April 2015 - 12

Horses saw us coming and strolled from their barn toward the road. I love those old barns.

Sunday Drive April 2015 - 13

The clouds were a bit threatening, so we headed for a favorite local restaurant for lunch.

Sunday Drive April 2015 - 16

Arriving back home, the azaleas are in full swing!

Azaleas late April 2015 - 1

The light pink azalea that was just buds a week ago is now beautiful.

Azaleas late April 2015 - 3

The island is in full bloom, three white azaleas, and more pinks.

Azaleas late April 2015 - 7

Azaleas late April 2015 - 11

I need just a couple more to fill in that last spot. I planted gladiolas there but they didn’t bloom. Up at the house, the iris blooms have started.

Iris 2 2015

I actually took these before the drive, while the dew was still on the flowers.

Iris 2015

Two blooms and a couple more buds. I plan to dig these up this year and divide them as they aren’t blooming like they used to.

Iris 3 2015

I am so ready to dig in the dirt.  I’ll be picking up my torenias the first of May, and those will go into the hanging baskets.  I have some lettuce and pansies, and I’ll show you those when I get them potted up.  My little bakery box greenhouses are still doing well and the tomatoes are coming along too.

How is your garden doing?


Dressing Downton at Biltmore Estate

There’s a special exhibit going on at the Biltmore Estate right now, and for all of the Downton Abbey fans it is wonderful. Even more so for those that know what it takes to use needle and thread to create wearable art.


Wearable art is precisely what I saw there. Gorgeous beading and exquisite hand embroidery adorn these dresses worn by the actors. I adore the hats, too! Pictures just do not do them justice. I would have loved to get some close up photographs, but sadly, photography is not allowed inside the Biltmore House. The next best thing is to show you some of the press release photos from Romantic Asheville  and Biltmore Estate.  You can click on those links to see more pictures of the costumes.  Below, the Dowager’s dress is in the foreground, with Lord and Lady Grantham costumes behind.


All the costumes were breathtaking. Some of them you can just see the actor wearing. Like the purple ensemble above, can’t you just ‘see’ Maggie Smith wearing that?


Displays are set up many of the rooms at Biltmore House.  Lord and Lady  Grantham costumes are set up in a dining room for dinner, with Mr. Carson’s evening dress on the right.  It was interesting to learn that even the servants had day wear and evening dress.


There were lovely dresses in the bedrooms, sitting rooms, library, and billiard rooms along with maid and servant’s costumes in various rooms.  There was even Mrs Patmore’s dress and Daisy’s costume in the kitchen.




You just have to see them to understand how detailed they are, the amount of handwork is amazing.


The collection is on a tour, coming to this area from the Winterthur museum.  I don’t know where it goes next, but if it comes near you, go see it.  For those of us in the Western NC area, the exhibit goes until the middle of May.  Be prepared for some long lines, it is very popular!


The dress on Maggie Smith above was in the gift shop.  The Biltmore House produced a book of all the costumes, pictures with the actors wearing them, with bits of history and social conventions of the time.  It was the perfect remembrance of the day, pages of history and evolution of fashion to savor at home.  Fashion was heavily influenced by the war years of the first world war.  I thought it was so interesting to read how the use of metal for war projects influenced the demise of the corset, and how working women began wearing shorter skirts to keep their hems clean particularly in the hospitals.  So much more is there, and it is fascinating.

I almost bought the tote bag that said “I spend Sunday nights at Downton”.   The final season is filming now, and will air in January 2016.  I really wish I didn’t have to wait that long!  Are you a Downton Abbey Fan?



Mid April Azaleas and Dogwood

The azaleas are almost here!  I really love the white ones best.  We have a lot of azaleas on the property, in white and several shades of pink.  I got a few shots of them just coming out.  This white one is in full flower, covered in honey bees too.

Azaleas mid April 2015 - 2

Gorgeous, isn’t it?

Azaleas mid April 2015 - 1

Behind it going around the circle are dark and light pink azaleas. The dark one has smaller flowers, and is going strong.  This one is in the front, and there are a dozen or so in the back, but those only have buds right now.

Azaleas mid April 2015 - 5

The light pink next to the white one isn’t quite ready yet.

Azaleas mid April 2015 - 4

Farther down the driveway closer to the neighbor, a few more are coming into bloom.

Azaleas mid April 2015 - 8

Looking back toward our home, the island is going to be covered in flowers soon.

Azaleas mid April 2015 - 9

It is too wet and muddy due to all the rain this week to get any closer to this dogwood still in full flower with lovely white blooms. It is near the forest edge at the far end of the meadow.

Dogwood April 2015 -

There are more dogwoods blooming in the forest, but the pictures just don’t do them justice, lovely trees greening up all around those white flowers.  We also have a pink one on the property, but I couldn’t get a photo of it because of the rain, and now it has finished its blooming.  There are two pink dogwoods near my office, though, in full bloom for you to enjoy.

pink dogwood 1

Lovely, aren’t they! Beautiful pink flowers.

pink dogwood 2

This white azalea will come into bloom in a few days.

Azaleas mid April 2015 - 6

Another shot of the only white one blooming right now. Love these flowers!

Azaleas mid April 2015 - 3

What’s blooming where you live?



National Garlic Day with Roasted Garlic recipes

Today is another silly holiday, it is National Garlic Day!  This is an ingredient I love using.  Chopped up garlic sauteed with onions is the beginning to many a great meal.  Roasting garlic makes a wonderful flavorful add on to all kinds of recipes, from spreads for toasted bread to a rub for grilled or baked meats.  Roasting garlic is simple, and I will put one in the oven while cooking something else like my Panko Crusted Deviled Turkey Breast or Low Carb Crustless Anything Quiche so the oven is doing double duty.

Roasting Garlic - 2

It is interesting to note that although we think of garlic primarily for Italian food, the majority of the world’s production of garlic comes from China, India and South Korea.  It has been used in Chinese medicine documented back to 2000 BC, although controlled studies have failed to demonstrate any measurable effect of garlic for lowering cholesterol or blood pressure.  But, it was used as an antiseptic to prevent infection in soldier’s wounds in World War II, before the advent of antibiotics.  Even without any measurable health benefit, its true value is flavor!

Roasting Garlic - 6

There are many different ways to roast garlic, using whole bulbs, separating the cloves or not separating, and oven temperatures ranging from 250 degrees up to 425 degrees!  My philosophy is that while the oven is on anyway, roast some garlic.  I don’t want to turn on the oven for just garlic.   So, I roast mine at 350 degrees, like most entrees, for 45 minutes.  Note that you don’t want to bake a cake at the same time, LOL, unless you want it to have a garlic aroma!  A lot of recipes will say to wrap the garlic in foil, but then you get steamed garlic, not roasted.  So I don’t wrap mine. I keep it in this special garlic keeper DH got me a couple of years ago. The holes in the bottom gives the bulbs just enough air to keep the garlic from spoiling, while it stays fresh.

Roasting Garlic - 4

Start by cutting off the top of the garlic.

Roasting Garlic - 7

Drizzle some olive oil on the top and spread it evenly over the cut surface.

Roasting Garlic - 9

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until the garlic has a nice browned top.

Roasting Garlic - 12

Allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes so you can hold it in your hand and squeeze out the cloves.

Roasted garlic 14

Mash with a fork.

Roasted garlic 15

Store in a glass jar.

Roasted garlic 16

Add to your recipes for a real kick in flavor.  You can add a tablespoon of roasted garlic to the ingredients in most any casserole, and it makes vegetable dishes into something that could serve as a main course. Try this Baked Spinach with Roasted Garlic. Start by gathering some ingredients.

Spinach Garlic 2

Saute some onion in olive oil and a small pat of butter. Add mushrooms and lightly saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms are softened.

Spinach Garlic 4

Remove the pan from the heat, and add the cream cheese.

Spinach Garlic 9

Stir until it melts using only the residual heat left in the pan.

Spinach Garlic 10

Squeeze all the water out of the thawed spinach.

Spinach Garlic 7

Add to the pan and combine.

Spinach Garlic 12

Add mayonnaise, lemon-pepper, and roasted garlic, stir to combine.

Spinach Garlic 13

Pour into a baking dish sprayed with no-stick spray.

Spinach Garlic 14

Top with shredded Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese.

Spinach Garlic 15

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Spinach Garlic 16

Yum!  A wonderful side dish with chicken or seafood, or a great main course vegetarian meal.

Spinach with Roasted Garlic

1/4 cup chopped onion
4 medium-large mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp olive oil
small pat of butter
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon-pepper
1 tsp roasted garlic
1 10-oz pkg chopped spinach
3-4 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
2-3 oz shredded Parmesan cheese

Saute onion and mushrooms in olive oil with a small pat of butter until onions are translucent and mushrooms are softened. Remove pan from heat, add cream cheese and stir until melted.  Add next three ingredients stirring until well blended, then stir in spinach and onion/mushroom mixture. Pour into baking dish, top with mozzarella. Bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Spinach Garlic 17

Double the recipe for wonderful leftovers for lunch the next day! I actually made this second one the next day as none was leftover from the recipe above after dinner.

Roasted Garlic Spinach

Roasted Garlic is wonderful used on poultry, and I’ll show you that recipe soon.

Spinach Garlic 18

Are you a fan of roasted garlic?







Amazing Value Play

I am excited to announce that my first quilt pattern is published!  Now you can see some of my secret sewing, LOL!!  This was a fun project and I am sure I will do more of these.  The quilt pattern is called Amazing Value Play, and it really is amazing.  The look of the quilt changes with values placed in different areas.  I have made two quilts from it so far, and I can get several more (all different!) from the same pattern.

AVP duo 1

I worked with pattern testers, and a technical editor, so the instructions are clear and easy to understand.  It is for beginners and more advanced quilters too!

The pattern is a pdf download from my Etsy store so you’ll get it immediately.  You’ll need Adobe Reader on your computer, and most computers already have this.  On my Etsy store listing, you’ll see a couple more value play ideas, and the pattern has even more.  – Amazing Value Play Quilt Pattern


International buyers welcome!  Etsy is taking care of the Value Added Tax for European countries, so you can buy digital products without reservation.

Update June 2015 – Now available on Craftsy!  Click Amazing Value Play on Craftsy!

You’ll be amazed at the number of different quilts that can be made from a single pattern.  It is easy enough for a beginner, yet the value placement will challenge the more experienced quilter too.  The pattern gives two sets of instructions for two different looks, then shows some ideas for other colorways.  I hope you will consider purchasing my pattern, the pattern will keep you busy from beginner to advanced with possibilities!

Linking up with the great linky parties on my sidebar, where it is permissible.

And at….

Big Dream Project



Early April Garden

More things are beginning to bloom, but we still have not passed our last frost date of May 15th.  I am really eager now to get the planting started.  So much so that I went by Raymonds Garden Center to get my torenias, and Christine told me to wait and pick them up in another month.  It is 71 degrees outside, and a frost seems really unlikely, but this is the mountains and you just never know.  I have seen snow on Easter in years past.  But, you know, one just needs to dig in the dirt now and then, so I did get some pansies for a container.  In the flower bed, I have these lovely tulips that came up again.

Tulips 2015 -3

A late March freeze had me covering them up for a couple of nights. I had to improvise a bit to keep the tulips from being weighed down by the cover.

March freeze

But they did fine, and now are coming along. Two pink ones are up, and a purple is on the way.

Tulips 2015 -1

Out in the yard are what I thought might be bluebonnets, but now not sure. Update!  Thank you, Shane!  These lovely purple-blue flowers are ajuga.

Purple flowers

They are right along the sidewalk in front of the house. I have to enjoy them now, as they will get mowed down in another week.

Purple carpet of flowers

I think the peaches got frostbitten, will see if they give me any peaches this year. If they do, maybe I’ll get them picked before the bears get them.

Peach tree flowers

These look like I might have a few peaches. Will have to wait and see.

Peach tree

The pots are at the ready.

pots at the ready

Still have a some clean up to do on these.

pots at the ready 2

The redbud burst into full flower yesterday, I hope to get a good picture of the mountains behind it for a new header photo for spring.

Redbud April 2015 -2

There are several of these volunteers in the yard, lovely, all white flowers.

White bonnets

The little johnny jump up came up in a crack between the driveway and sidewalk. Intrepid little suckers.

Jump up April volunteer

I am thrilled the parsley came up again! Looking forward to some fresh parsley in a recipe soon!

Parsley 2015

The mountain behind the house is still covered in periwinkles. Looking forward to having a meal on the veranda, and hot coffee in the rockers on a lazy spring Sunday. Are your flowers blooming yet?