From My Carolina Home

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


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New Year’s Eve

I had to work on New Year’s Eve this year, so I didn’t plan a gathering.  You can read about my party last year with our Champagne taste test, bottle bags, and get my Jumpin’ John black eye pea recipe on my post New Year’s Good Luck.   Today, I had to do a quick post to remind you to put your money outside this evening!

moneyoutside1

I have no idea where this tradition came from, but my mother did it, so I do too.  You hide some money outside on New Year’s Eve, then bring the money into the house on New Year’s Day.  It is supposed to bring good fortune with it, as long as it is still there, LOL!!

It is said you should do on New Year’s day the things you want to do all year long, so I am going to do some sewing on New Year’s day and relax.  I will not be doing any laundry.  I am working on the blocks for the next mystery, and it is looking good!    Look for the first post around the end of next week

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Photo Courtesy of Biltmore Estate press release

OH!!  And set your recorder for Sunday night, the premiere of the last season of Downton Abbey begins!  Our local PBS station is also showing Downton Abbey specials both before and after the new episode.  For my newer followers, I am a huge DA fan, and was able to visit the Biltmore House last spring to see the Dressing Downton exhibit.  Click on the link to see the promotional photos I was able to share like these.

costume11

Photo Courtesy of Biltmore Estate press release

Happy New Year!!  Do you have plans for this weekend?

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Reworking the Cottage Garden Quilt

I promised to show this some time ago, and I haven’t had a moment to do so until now.  For what it is worth, I don’t recommend this, but if you are just this side of totally insane like me, here is how to skin a quilt.  I will admit that using the longarm for this project made it a bit easier than usual.  This was the not the first time I have had to take out major sections of quilting, and this is by far the better way.  If you do not have a longarm, the concepts are the same, but you need a big floor space to tape down the backing edge.  First let me show you the ‘before’ of the quilt, and why I just had to fix it.

Cottage Garden Quilt remade | From My Carolina Home

The pattern is by Lynette Jensen in The Thimbleberries Book of Quilts called Cottage Flower. It was one of the first quilts I made, and I quilted it myself with just some not-so straight lines. Terrible quilting.  I added some diagonal lines too, I have no idea why.

Cottage Garden Quilt remade | From My Carolina Home

I just went straight from the flower block across the hourglass block.  There is a lot of poorly done SID too, awful in white thread on dark green fabric.  Lots of puckers at points where lines of stitching crossed kept jumping out at me every time I looked at it.

Cottage Garden Quilt remade | From My Carolina Home

The borders were also just straight lines, and some places on the blocks just didn’t make sense. The thing is, I just love these fabrics!

Cottage Garden Quilt remade | From My Carolina Home

It started to bug me when I began to quilt better, and really bugged me after the longarm was delivered. So, one day I decided that I wasn’t ever going to be happy with this quilt unless I fixed it. The only way to frog this much quilting is to skin it. Start by removing the binding, and loosening the stitching on one end.

Cottage Garden Quilt remade | From My Carolina Home

I pinned this edge to the longarm leader. I pinned the opposite side to the other leader and rolled it up to create some tension on the backing. Lift up on the top and batting, and slice through the stitching threads with a fine edge, like a scalpel.  If you don’t have a longarm, tape the backing edge to a tile or linoleum floor (or a worktable) with a strong tape – like masking or duct tape – to give you something to lift against.

Cottage Garden Quilt remade | From My Carolina Home

You can see on the left side of the picture below, the backing is going to get a bit torn up. Better that than the top!  It is why you lift both the top and batting, so any nicks are in the batting and not your top.  It didn’t help that I used cheap muslin as the backing.

Cottage Garden Quilt remade | From My Carolina Home

Here is the scalpel I used, called a surgical seam ripper. Lethal little bugger, it is wicked sharp and sliced through those threads easily.  Just pull up on the batting and top to create a slight bit of tension against the backing.

Cottage Garden Quilt remade | From My Carolina Home

The scalpel will hook the threads and cut them, allowing you to pull the top and batting away from the backing.  You can cut multiple lines of stitching at one swipe with this method. Here is a closer shot I took this morning to help you see what I mean.

Slicing threads

Just keep pulling up on the batting and top, slicing through the threads as you go. Believe it or not it only took a day to get the top completely free of the backing on this throw size quilt. I loaded a new backing using a better quality fabric, with a better quality batting, and put a leaf pantograph on the whole quilt.

Cottage Garden Quilt remade | From My Carolina Home

So much better, isn’t it!! The darker thread gives interest to the white areas, and recedes in the dark patchwork.  No more wonky lines in white thread on dark green patches.

Cottage Garden Quilt remade | From My Carolina Home

Now I enjoy using this quilt, and I am happy with the quilting. The piecing isn’t bad here, especially for a beginner.

Cottage Garden Quilt remade | From My Carolina Home

I was able to reuse the binding.  I love that print, and now I can use the quilt without being annoyed at the poor quilting.

Cottage Garden Quilt remade | From My Carolina Home

Have you ever been so dissatisfied with something you just had to take it apart and start again?


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Dreaming of My Next Garden

As we near the end of the holiday rush, it is still weird to have it so warm outside.  But, that only makes me think more of spring and my next garden.  Meanwhile my indoor plants are just maintaining, growing a few leaves but not flowering.  I think they do not get enough sunlight from our southern exposure windows.  I put several in the sun for a while yesterday, that is when the clouds broke up.  I really do need to re-pot those African violets.  As warm as it is, I should do that before it gets colder later in the week.  Yes, that is my begonia outside, still blooming all the way through until now.

Plants in window

I received one of my seed catalogs last week in the mail, and DH gave me a Farmer’s Almanac for 2016 in my stocking. My gardening calendar came last week too, so I am in garden planning mode! One thing I learned last year, my idea of using bakery plastic clamshell containers for starting seeds was a bust. The seeds grew great, but the transplant shock killed them.

stacked greenhouses

This year I will look for some tiny peat pots to put inside the little plastic greenhouses so the baby plants can be moved without damaging them.  All this basil, and only two plants survived in the garden after transplanting.

Basil seeds sprouted

The most exciting thing is my amaryllis looks to be sprouting a new leaf again this year! If it blooms again, it will be the third year it has bloomed. I will watch it closely, and keep you all informed! I need to add just a bit of soil to it.  Click on Amaryllis Rebloom to see the second year blooms from last winter.

Amaryllis 33

Santa brought a new camera, so hopefully my pictures will improve. I love the sharp focus on the subject with the background blurred, and now I can do it!  This little goldfinch was happy to model for me.  It has a huge zoom capability, so maybe I can get the foxes this spring.  Look for more pictures of the garden this year too.

Goldfinch

I got a couple of gardening magazines at the magazine exchange recently, now is the time to look them over.  Our local library has a table where you can drop off magazines you have read, and pick up someone else’s.  I also scored a couple of garden books at the library sale on box day.  So many pretty things to grow, what to choose this year?  I know I’ll have torenias as the hummingbirds do love those. Here’s one of those from last summer.  I put them in hanging baskets on our veranda.

Torenia June 2015 - 5

Last summer I divided my irises which were just getting too crowded. I had enough to create a new bed, and I can’t wait to see if they survived the move.  Here they are just after moving them.

Iris newly planted bed ~ From My Carolina Home

I hope my hydrangea will bloom this year.  I have fertilized it and it gets enough water, but it just refuses to bloom.  It is dormant now, and just has some brown sticks to show where it is.  I would love to have a wisteria, but I really don’t have a good place to put one.  The spot that has room and a fence to grow on wouldn’t get enough sunlight.

It doesn’t help that the Cooks Illustrated magazine has lovely art on their back covers.  There were a few of those in the magazine haul too.  Makes me want to plant all kinds of tomatoes, peppers, squash, onions and herbs.

CooksIllCovers

The Almanac says our best planting days in February are the 13th, 14th, 17th and 18th for above ground crops.  I might wait until mid-March as our final frost date here is April 12.  Then the little seedlings would have six weeks to the best transplanting dates of May 1-2.

Are you in planning mode for your garden yet?


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The Best of 2015 at From My Carolina Home

What would you say if you had to pick just 5 posts from this year as your best or favorites?  That is the task in order to link up a Best OF 2015 post for a challenge linky at Meadow Mist Designs.  This isn’t going to be easy, as I blog about such a wide variety of subjects, just picking 5 subjects is challenge enough, LOL!!  However, Quilting has to be one, and the post I am going to pick is the end of the Scrap Dance Mystery Quilt. This post shows some of our participant’s finishes, along with a link to the pattern and some other fun links.  This pattern is for sale in my Craftsy store, just click on the picture on the sidebar.  The next mystery, Scrap Dance Tango has begun!  Click on the Scrap Dance Tango icon on the sidebar to get to the first post.

Scrap Dance on bench

Readers know that I love to cook, and frequently post original recipes.  It was difficult to choose just one, I thought hard about the Bourbon Chicken, but I think I’ll go with the Perfect Deviled Eggs, the last deviled egg recipe you will ever need. Not only is the basic recipe given, with the perfect way to boil and peel them, every variation you could ever want is included.

Perfect Deviled Eggs From My Carolina Home

Next, what to choose?  Something crafty, or needlework?  I stamp cards, paint things, and play with my glue gun.  I adore Mason jars, so maybe one of those crafty posts.  So, check out the Beaded Mason Jar.

Mason Jar Holiday decoration

DH and I live in beautiful Western North Carolina, and we often go on day trips and excursions with our car club, or just hiking by ourselves in the local parks and mountains.  We live close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and spend many of our driving excursions there.  Drives and events in this region are gathered into the category of Mountain Living on the sidebar.  This Autumn Drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway was also a costume party for the car club.

BCCWNC 2015 Costume Drive 34

Decorating and tablescapes are frequent subjects for posts.  I enjoy setting a beautiful table and serving a great meal to friends and family.  Sometimes we host outside on the veranda with our gorgeous view (see the header). Sometimes DH lights a fire in the dining room/library and we enjoy a meal there.  Either way, a lovely tablescape is essential.  Enjoy this post with two tablescapes from just last month for Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving Tablescapes 2015.

Thanksgiving Tablescape 2015 1

OK, so that is five.  I could go on with the book reviews, gardening, needlework, button crafts, wool work projects and other tutorials, but I’ll have to let you explore on your own if you like.  Thank you for stopping by and looking around.  I hope you enjoyed your visit, and to my regular readers, thank you for faithfully reading my blog!

Best of 2015 Linky Party

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Christmas Breakfast and Tablescape

Christmas breakfast is a time for hearty but easy.  Something that can practically make itself while coffee and presents get the first attention of the day.  The baked egg casserole fits this bill nicely, you know the one that you make the night before and put into the oven cold.  I add some Cranberry Scones – made from a mix – to round out the morning.  So, everyone gets a full tummy, and can manage with a light snack to wait for the main dinner served around 4 pm.  Setting a pretty breakfast table makes the meal special.

Christmas Tablescape | From My Carolina Home

Breakfast is on the pub table and starts with the green placemats and my casual Christmas plates.  Each one is different, with Peace, Joy, Love, and Hope.  The motifs on the plates are all different too with a tree, sleigh, stocking and a gift.

Christmas Tablescape | From My Carolina Home

I found these black paper napkins at the thrift store, still in cellophane. They are black with green trees and a cardinal on the top. They go perfectly with the black background plates.

Christmas Tablescape | From My Carolina Home

One thing I like to do is use my Christmas spreaders for knives at the breakfast table. They do a fine job of spreading butter and I get to actually use them.

Christmas Tablescape | From My Carolina Home

Juice glasses and my china coffee mugs complete the settings.

Christmas Tablescape | From My Carolina Home

I put a small tree in the center, and surrounded it with sparkly little birdhouses.

Christmas Tablescape | From My Carolina Home

It sits on my Hexagonal Christmas Table Topper, pattern on that post.

Christmas Tablescape | From My Carolina Home

I added two little Santa Claus figures I found at the thrift store this year.

Santas 1

Aren’t they cute? They are different from the Santas I found last year, and I still do not know where those came from.  Remember these guys I found at two different stores?  The best lead was maybe Hobby Lobby, but I have not been able to confirm that.

Santa 4

Anyway, back to breakfast!  We usually sneak into the stockings while the egg and sausage casserole is baking.

Christmas Tablescape | From My Carolina Home

There are plenty of recipes on the internet, just do a search for Breakfast Casserole.  I usually make a small casserole just for us, and I’ll be making mine tonight.  The quantities are variable, and it doesn’t matter too much if you have a bit more or less of this or that.  I saute onions and mushrooms with half of a roll of sausage until done and drain.  Combine with with 3-4 slices of bread cut into cubes, and 1/2 cup of grated cheese – I use a combination of cheddar and mozarella.  Put in a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Then beat 2 eggs with a bit of half-and-half, salt and pepper to taste, and pour over.  Top with a little more cheese.  Let it sit overnight covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.  In the morning, uncover and place the casserole in a cold oven.  Turn on the oven, and heat to 350 degrees.  Bake casserole about 45 minutes total, or until puffed and golden brown.  Then, tent with foil while you turn up the oven heat and bake some scones or biscuits to go with it.

What do you like to have for breakfast on a holiday morning?

 

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Rose Angel Ornament

Christmas cookie cutters make wonderful bases for ornaments.  I made a lot of ornaments with buttons last year.  This year, I was at a local crafting store, and they had their big packs of ribbon roses on clearance for 50 cents.  Naturally, I bought about a dozen packs.  I thought about the Button Ornaments that I did last year, and thought I’d try the same idea with these ribbon roses.

Rose Angel at From My Carolina Home

I had a white cookie cutter in an angel shape, the white roses will go with it nicely.

Rose Angel at From My Carolina Home

Start by gluing them on with hot glue, working around the outside from the top.

Rose Angel at From My Carolina Home

Keep gluing them on all around the top and sides. Pack them together to fill in well.

Rose Angel at From My Carolina Home

I left the outside of the bottom clear just in case I wanted to sit it on a table.

Rose Angel at From My Carolina Home

Using a pair of needlenose pliers to hold it in place, I put the cording on the top with hot glue.

Rose Angel at From My Carolina Home

I made a loop, then added a jewel as a halo

Rose Angel at From My Carolina Home

Rose Angel at From My Carolina Home

I thought the bottom looked a bit unfinished, so I added three roses to the inside.

Rose Angel at From My Carolina Home

And, voila! All done!

Rose Angel at From My Carolina Home

If you are visiting from Fave Crafts, I invite you to look around while you are here.  I have a lot of projects and a variety of subjects including crafting, quilting, sewing, recipes, tablescapes and more.  In 2017, the next mystery quilt will begin.  To see more of my crafting projects, click on the Crafting category on my sidebar.  Thanks for visiting!  You can follow my blog by using one of the choices on the sidebar.  And, see Fave Crafts for even more ideas.  Click on my home page button at the top to see the latest posts.  And check out the pages at the top for collections of posts on all kinds of subjects.

Did you craft anything for the tree this year?


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Christmas Trip Around the World

Before the holiday season gets away, I wanted to show the completed quilt I did before MIL’s visit.  Remember, I wanted to get one done in 10 days?  Yes, I did make it!  She liked the festive look it gave the room.  To see the construction of the quilt, click on Christmas Trip Around the World.

Christmas Trip Around the World | From My Carolina Home

I think it looks wonderful with the deep burgundy on the walls below the chair rail.

Christmas Trip Around the World | From My Carolina Home

I added the Christmas toille pillows I made some years ago as an accent.

Christmas Trip Around the World | From My Carolina Home

Here’s a secret I kept until now. The quilt is quilted in red with hearts with a red binding, so I can turn it over after Christmas and have a Valentine redwork quilt.

Christmas Trip Around the World | From My Carolina Home

Quilted for Christmas!

Christmas Trip Around the World | From My Carolina Home

Hope you are having a lovely holiday season!

Spelling Bee Book by Lori Holt

Fat Quarter Shop Daily Flash Sale

Happy Cloud Quilt Batting by Fat Quarter Shop

Just now finding this post?  Check out my Autumn Jubilee for October 2017!!  A month long season of celebration.