From My Carolina Home

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


Forest Paths Mini Quilt

Next in the series of mini quilts for the table top frame is one that is inspired by the forest around our home.  I went looking for a 6-inch block design, and  I found the perfect pattern at Quilt Blocks Galore, a six-inch block called Forest Paths.  The forests around our home are so green right now, many shades and variations.  So, instead of using the two colors like the block calls for, I used all scrappy greens.

Forest Paths ~ From My Carolina Home 4

Here is my inspiration, taken from around our home.

Forest Paths 15

Notice how the sunlight makes the colors brighter.

Forest Paths 14

While shade deepens the green to almost black.

Forest Paths 12

So here are the initial cuts.  Using a purple flower print on white for the contrast reminds me of the periwinkles that cover the mountainside in spring.

Forest Paths 1

I chain pieced the HSTs.

Forest Paths 2

Then squared up the HSTs.

Forest Paths 3

I laid out the pinwheels to be sure I didn’t have the same print twice on a single one.  Also, I wanted to be sure they pinwheeled in the same direction.  Oops, need to fix those bottom ones.

Forest Paths 4

The pinwheel units were sewn, and the border units constructed.

Forest Paths 5

Then it was easy to join the units in rows as usual.

Forest Paths 7

Laying out the units, I wanted to make sure that the same fabric wasn’t too close together between units.

Forest Paths 8

Satisfied with their placement, they were sewn together.

Forest Paths 9

Now, quilting. This was a small quilt, and very doable on a domestic machine, but I still use the longarm. I wanted to do some free motion because I still need more practice!

Forest Paths 10

I think I went a little crazy and over-quilted it.  It has stitch in the ditch as well as all that surface fill.

Forest Paths quilting 2

But I did figure out to travel around the quilt so I wouldn’t have to tie off as often.

Forest Paths quilting 3

I auditioned the starting point on the binding so I wouldn’t end up with a seam in the corner. That happens more often than I want to admit.  I matched the binding to the backing, which gave another scrappy green to the front.

Forest Paths binding

As the binding was whipped to the backside, you can see the little hangers. I went over how to do those in the previous Mini Quilt finishing.

Forest Paths binding with hangers

All done!

Forest Paths ~ From My Carolina Home 1

Hanging up, with my little ceramic rabbit decorated in green too.

Forest Paths ~ From My Carolina Home 4

Another Mini Quilt for the collection!  I have added a category for these so you can find all of them together.  Just look at the categories on the sidebar for Mini Quilts.  If you left off the hangers, this would make a cute candle mat too.  I think if you made six and set two rows of three, they would be a nice placemat too.  A single block could serve as a mug rug.  OK, now I have to go make more, LOL!!

Easy Threading Needles are great stocking stuffers, they are available with my affiliate link at Fat Quarter Shop HERE.  You can find the needles in a large pack to share with friends at Amazon Self Threading Needle Pack.

Fat Quarter Shop Countdown to Christmas Quilting Sale

If you want to get some of gorgeous fabrics for your holiday sewing, check out the Fat Quarter Shop’s Moda Line.  Get spools and cones of the fantastic Aurifil Threads at Fat Quarter Shop Aurifil Threads.  You’ll love the extra light with the Sewing Machine LED Lighting Kit.  If you would like to have a pair of wonderful serrated edge scissors, click on Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Scissors to get your pair from Fat Quarter Shop.  Get your Olfa Splash Cutter at FQS too – Olfa Splash.

Fat Quarter Shop Quilting Fabrics and Supplies

Fat Quarter Shop Daily Flash Sale

New Project Kits on Sale at Craftsy – Click HERE

Did you see my series on Japanese inspired posts in February 2018?  This book of small sewn projects was part of the series, and is available at Amazon with my affiliate link – just click on the picture.  My Omiayage post is HERE.



Orange Vanilla Bean Coffee Cake

I have been working on this recipe for some time to have it come out moist and tender, with just the right balance of citrus to sweet.  Lest you all think that these things come out perfect the first time, some of my attempts didn’t go over well with my main recipe tester, DH.  Last time he blurted out “is it supposed to be this dry?” before he knew what he was saying.  I just replied that he should put butter on it, and went back to the drawing board.  But, now I have it.  This one was good. Perfect to take to a quilting pot luck!

Orange Vanilla Bean Coffee Cake -24

Start with some fresh ingredients.

Orange Vanilla Bean Coffee Cake -1

My mother-in-law gave me these vanilla beans and it was a perfect recipe to use one.

Orange Vanilla Bean Coffee Cake -2

Start by splitting a bean lengthwise.

Orange Vanilla Bean Coffee Cake -4

Then using the knife, scrape out the seeds inside.

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Make a streusel topping with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.

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Zest a fresh orange for a tablespoon of orange peel.

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Then finely chop the zest.

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Mix up the dry ingredients and set aside.

Orange Vanilla Bean Coffee Cake -8

Grease and flour a tube pan, set aside.

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Cream butter and sugar, add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each one.

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Add the zest and vanilla seeds on low speed.

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Add the dry ingredients alternating with sour cream.

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Dollop half the batter in the tube pan and spread evenly.

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Top with half the streusel topping.

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Repeat with remaining batter and topping. You could do this in thirds too if you wish.

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Bake 50-55 minutes in a 350 degree oven, don’t overbake.

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Allow to cool on rack. I remove the outer pan after a few minutes so it won’t stick.

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And there you have it, moist and delicious, great for a morning breakfast, or an afternoon treat.

Orange Vanilla Bean Coffee Cake

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups granulated white sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs
Seeds from one vanilla bean
1 tablespoon grated chopped orange peel
2 cups sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, 2 tblsp butter and cinnamon and set aside. Grease and flour a tube (or bundt) pan, set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat 3/4 cup butter with white sugar until well blended. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla seeds and orange zest, stir in. Stir in 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix well on low speed, followed by 1/2 of the sour cream. Repeat. Add last of flour mixture and mix well. Dollop 1/2 of the batter into prepared tube pan, spread evenly. Top with 1/2 of the streusel topping. Repeat. Bake 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes, remove outer pan and allow to cool another 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely. Serve warm or cooled.

Orange Vanilla Bean Coffee Cake -23

Download a pdf of the recipe – Orange Vanilla Bean Coffee Cake


Sharing in 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else


Patriotic Tablescape Memorial Day 2015

I planned to have a nice dinner for four the weekend of Memorial Day, so I set the table a little early.  I do that sometimes so I can enjoy the decorations for more than just the holiday day.

Patriotic Tablescape 3

The reason is our dining table is fully visible from the second floor.  Setting it in advance gives us a festive tableau to view while coming down the stairs.

Patriotic Tablescape 4

This time I started with the Patriotic Table Runner I made last year.  I added white placemats all around.

Patriotic Tablescape 1

The white china plates are set with red salad plates.  I like to use individual salt and pepper shakers at each place.  Red napkins complete the setting.

Patriotic Tablescape 2

These star dishes will hold side dishes of coleslaw and potato salad to go with our bratwurst and hot dogs.

Patriotic Tablescape 7

The huge red basket holds silk flowers in red, white and blue, along with some foil shooting stars and two American flags.  It looks great now, but it breaks my rule of low centerpieces so people can see each other.  I’ll move it from the middle to one end when we sit down to eat since there will only be four of us.

Patriotic Tablescape 6

Do you ever set a table just for the decoration?



Rhododendrons and Mountain Laurel May 2015

We had a couple of gorgeous rhododendrons blooming this past week.  The azaleas are just about done, and this is the next wave of floral beauty. This gorgeous dark pink is behind the house.

Rhododendron May 2015 -4

Those lovely upright flowers and huge leaves give the countryside such color this time of year. Rhodo’s are native to this area, growing wild all over the place.

Rhododendron May 2015 -3

These lovely pink flowers have little spots inside. The bees are taking advantage of the bonanza.

Rhododendron May 2015 -1

Stunning aren’t they?

Rhododendron May 2015 -2

This gorgeous lavendar rhododendron is on our neighbors property, on the road up to our house.

Rhododendrons purple 1

I think these really are my favorite color.

Rhododendrons purple 4

I am quite sure they would be my mother-in-law’s favorite.

Rhododendrons purple 5

Thanks for indulging us, my mother in law just loves these floral garden posts.

Rhododendrons purple 2

A surprise this year, we have a wild flame azalea in the back, named for the bright orange flowers. I never noticed it before. I think because we had a tree taken out last year it is getting more sunlight and decided to bloom.  There is poison ivy up there too, so I decided not to get any closer.

Flame Azalea May 2015 -

Just a day or two ago, the Mountain Laurel started its yearly show.

Mountain Laurel 3

Gorgeous white bell shaped flowers in clusters, they are all over the mountain!

Mountain Laurel 5

Mountain Laurel 2

While I was taking pictures of the Mountain Laurel, I noticed a lot of peaches going.

Peaches May 2015 -2

I just hope I get some this year. Last year the bear got them before I could.

Peaches May 2015

We really have a long flowering season. Good thing I don’t have pollen allergies, LOL! More to come, the hostas have yet to flower and the plants on the veranda are gearing up for a great show. What’s blooming in your area?


Bloggers Quilt Festival Spring 2015

The Bloggers Quilt Festival starts in just a couple of days over at Amy’s Creative Side, and I have decided to enter again this year.  Earlier this year I published my first quilt pattern.  It is called Amazing Value Play, and both of the quilts below were made from the same pattern!   I made two, both fit into the Small Quilt Category at the Bloggers Quilt Festival.

AVP duo 1

Stop by Amy’s and see the wonderful choices, and vote for your favorites.  I’d love your vote for Amazing Value Play for the Small quilts category.  Since my following is small, I really need everyone’s vote.

For the Mini Quilt Category, I am entering the White on White Crazy Quilt that I made for the table top stand.

White finish2

Please stop by the Quilt Festival and vote starting May 22

Click on the links below to go directly to the voting page, and look for my pictures.  You get three votes per category, so you can also vote for more favorites.

 Small Quilts Voting   —-     Mini Quilts Voting

I would really appreciate your vote!!


Port Softies for Chemotherapy Patients

This project was a collaboration of several people in my local quilt club.  It was inspired by my friend and fellow quilter, Nancy Fish, and her need for a cushion to cover her port from the seat belt while riding in a car.  She found a quilted cover online, and the group began to make them for our local cancer care center.  The design was modified by our club members over time to the one I’ll show you today.  These go together in a flash, and they are a wonderful way to use up scraps of fabric and batting.   Any hospital or chemotherapy center would love to have them.  Maybe your local group can make some for your local chemo center.  Our local group donates hundreds of these a year to our local cancer centers, who then give them to patients in need.  For those who need one but do not sew, and otherwise have no access to get one, I have some in my Etsy store.

Softie Gold in car

You’ll need the following materials –
2 pieces of fabric 5 x 7 inches for the base
2 pieces of fabric 3-1/2 x 4-3/4 for tabs
2 one-inch squares of velcro hooks and loops
1 piece of batting 4-1/2 x 6-1/2 inches

Port Softies 1

Fold the tab in half longwise, and sew across the short side on one end, pivot and sew down the long side.

Port Softies 2

Leave the other short end open for turning.

Port Softies 3

Turn and press the tabs, then sew the hook side of the velcro to the end of the tab. I use the hook side on all the tabs so I keep it straight when I am making more than one at a time. I made four at a time this day.

Port Softies 5

Place the tabs on the top of one of the pieces of 5×7 fabric about 1 to 1-1/2 inches in from each end velcro side down. Where exactly doesn’t really matter, just place them with some space at the ends and between the two tabs. Pin.

Port Softies 6

Now, turn up the end with the velcro, and mark an ‘X’ on the base to show where the loop side of the velcro should be sewn.

Port Softies 7

Place the loop side of the velcro over the mark, and sew in place.

Port Softies 8

Port Softies 9

Press the tab velcro onto the base velcro.

Port Softies 10

Place the backing 5×7 piece of fabric right sides together with the front unit. Pin through the tabs in line with the edge so they don’t shift inside while sewing.

Port Softies 11

Sew around the softie, pivoting at the corners, and leaving an opening on one short side for turning.

Port Softies 13

Stuff with batting.  Update!  I now use at least 4 layers of batting instead of two, and a bit more stuffing in the middle.

Port Softies 14

Topstitch the opening closed.

Port Softies 15

Continue topstitching around the edge to hold the batting in place. I also put an ‘X’ of stitching through the middle to hold all the layers together.  Update!  I have stopped doing the “x” in the center, and add a bit more batting to the middle.  It seems to be more comfortable for the patients.


Remember that men need these too. So, for every floral one I make, I make another one in a more masculine fabric like a plaid.  To use, simply un-hook the velcro and wrap the tabs over the seat belt, press the velcro tabs onto the base and adjust the pad to sit where needed.  It can stay on the seat belt until no longer needed.

Softies mixed

Easy, fast, and everyone that receives one will be grateful for the cushion in the car from those seat belts.  The need is ongoing.  There is likely a need in your local area too.  Please share this as you can, and I hope that more groups will make these for local chemo patients in your area.

My blog is a variety of subjects, quilting and sewing, tablescapes and recipes, book reviews and hand stitching, crafting and mountain living. I love to have new followers, too!  See the buttons on the sidebar to follow by your favorite method.  If you are visiting from Fave Quilts, Pinterest, a blog hop or link up, please stay a bit and have a look around, my tutorials are gathered at the top in pages to make them easy to find.  Lots of fun is had here, and I invite you to follow with any of your favorite methods, see the sidebar for ways to follow.  My fourth mystery quilt is in progress for 2018, click on Scrap Dance Square Dance on the sidebar for the first post.  Click on the Home page to see the latest posts on the blog, or any of the categories to see tutorials, projects, recipes and more.  Thank you for visiting!

Some fun posts from this year and last year –

Summer Squash Casserole

Spring Chicken Tablescape and Recipes

Harvest Wreath

Autumn Valence

Pumpkin Orange Bread

Autumn Jubilee Part Mystery Part Quilt Along Begins!

Pine Cone Candle Wreath

Cozy Christmas mystery reads.

Quick Christmas Project

Fat Quarter Shop Daily Flash Sale

If you are reading my blog for the first time, you can follow by email by using the sidebar sign up, or Bloglovin using the sidebar link. If you are a Facebook user, follow the From My Carolina Home Facebook page. I like interacting with readers too, and you can put your pictures on our Square Dance 2018 Flickr group for the quilt alongs and projects, and on my new From My Carolina Home Project Sharing Facebook group too. This new group is for anything and everything inspired by my posts, sharing of projects and quilt alongs, sew alongs and stitch alongs, your tablescapes and gardens, and any project inspired by my blog.

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Thank you for using my affiliate links, the small commissions I may receive support the costs of my blog and projects at no extra cost to you, and you can use your existing accounts with the merchants.

Fat Quarter Shop Daily Flash Sale

New Project Kits on Sale at Craftsy – Click HERE

Did you see my series of posts of Japanese inspired projects, recipes, tablescapes and more?  One of the projects was this little crane from the book, Omiyage, available at Amazon with my affiliate link, just click on the picture.  To see all the posts, use the category link for Japanese Inspired February.



Shopping Wilmington

Next to last day of vacation, and I had it in mind to visit two really special shopping areas.  I read about these in a review of Wilmington shopping so I had to visit.  The Cotton Exchange is a downtown shopping area of eight restored old buildings connected by walkways and stone paths with a number of adorable shops on four levels.  Hardwood floors and old brick remain to add charm to the experience.

Cotton Exchange 3

The first purchase of the day was at Fire and Spice Gourmet, a quaint kitchen store with all kinds of gadgets and goodies.  The very friendly staff showed us some of the treasures.  It was  hard to decide, but I ended up with some sea salt, a new kitchen towel with a chicken on it to add to my chicken collection.  I also picked up some locally produced grits, one of DH’s favorite breakfast foods.

Salt Grits Towel

Of course, we had to stop and sit a while to have some ice cream in this lovely shaded area.

Cotton Exchange 8 bench

Cotton Exchange 4

I strolled through a number of lovely shops, stopping in several.  Then I came upon Port City Pottery, and found an exquisite pottery plate with a cheese knife.  I just was captivated by the colors, perfect for my kitchen, and I liked the handle design too.  The artist is Pat Holleman.  My pottery collection keeps growing.

Pottery plate

I spent over an hour in the Old Books On Front Street used book store.  Oh My Heavens, what a great place!

Old Books on Front Street 2

It is a rabbit warren of cubbyholes and backrooms, books piled on tables and on the floor, shelves stuffed to overflowing.

Old Books on Front Street 4

Many alcoves have a great old chair or ottoman to stop and stay a while.

Old Books on Front Street 5

It is the kind of place you can excavate a treasure, and I sure did.  I found a reprint of the book Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher, a landmark tome for foodies everywhere.  I also came home with a book on costume jewelry, Eggs by Michael Roux, and six old Victorian magazines (Shane, that is your fault!!).  While I was out, I got several more books in the mail from swap sites and Amazon orders.  I received two other foodie classics, Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan, and From Elizabeth David’s Table with a forward by Ruth Reichel, plus a few other fiction books.


But it didn’t stop there, I had read about this enormous consignment store called Ivy Cottages.  Holy cow, it is four buildings with all kinds of furniture, collectables, china, glassware, antiques and more.

Ivy Cottages 2

I picked up a breakfast set that was in the 50% off room, then found out that day was their monthly three day event of an additional 50% off the markdown room.

Ivy Cottages 1

So of course, I had to go back and see what else I could find.  I sat down on the floor and went through loads of china plates and dishes.  I was having serious dish delirium.  You’ll see some of these in upcoming tablescapes, but for now, here is the Staffordshire China plate I got for $3.  This will show off some of my recipe results nicely, don’t you think?

Rose plate

This set of ceramic napkin rings caught my fancy too.  They weren’t in the markdown room, but $8 sounded reasonable so they were mine.

Napkin Rings

Quite a haul, wouldn’t you say?  Do you like stores like these?



Spring Break Link Party