From My Carolina Home

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May Is For Makers

Today I join fellow bloggers Lee at Freshly Pieced and Lindsey at LRStitched for the May Is For Makers campaign.  Click on their names to read their posts on supporting independent designers so that they can continue to provide the blog content we all like to see, and the comments at the end of those posts as well. These bloggers make the point that while free patterns and ideas are great, appreciation of the time and effort involved should include some financial support in the form of purchasing the blogger’s patterns for sale.  I would add that offerings in their Etsy stores or directly from their websites would count too.   Even a small purchase multiplied by the number of readers would have a huge impact on the costs of a blog and support of the designer.  We are saying that their work has value.

May Is For Makers | LRstitched.com

I love blogging and most of that is producing content that others want to read.   I enjoy writing tutorials, and recipes, and all the things I share here.  Having produced several patterns for Moda Bake Shop and my own Craftsy store, I am well aware of what it takes to get a self-published pattern to market.  No one says blogging will be way to make a living, and certainly I still need my day job.  But, I am going to take some time this month to say thank you to the other independent bloggers I admire by purchasing one of their patterns or products.

Beginning on Monday, I’ll share my purchases with you each week.  Those on social media can share using the hashtag #mayisformakers.  If you are on social media like Instagram or Twitter, look for that hashtag to find some new independent designers.

I do enjoy designing quilts and crafts. When I got the EQ7 design software, my creativity soared.  The result was the two Mystery Quilt-Alongs Scrap Dance and Scrap Dance Tango, a Christmas Runner Quilt Along, and more I have yet to share.  Just to be clear, this is not a plea to buy my patterns, although I won’t complain if you do.  I am aware that my blog readers are a wide cross section of readers with diverse interests, and only some sew or quilt.  This campaign is to promote all designers, to say thank you for taking the hours of time and effort to produce a pattern, make a handmade item, share your passion and to support creativity.

Each Monday in May, I’ll be joining Lindsay and Lee in supporting independent designers, sharing a purchase from another designer, telling her or him that I appreciate their work, and their creativity.  That is five designers that I’ll be telling you about and five designers that I will thank for their passion.  I’ll be pulling the trigger on buying a few new patterns that I have admired, or a creation in an Etsy store, instead of just admiring them.  I’ll be saying to those designers, thank you for the great content you have provided for me, and I hope you continue to share your creativity with me and other readers.

It starts Monday.  By participating, you too can help spread the word on marvelous independent designers.  Share your appreciation as you are able, and don’t forget that hashtag #mayisformakers.

See my  first post May Is For Makers Week 1.

 

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Sewing a Rayon Challis Top – Making pattern adjustments and fixing fitting

What is it with fashion designers these days?  Go into the stores looking for a pretty spring print and all you find are ugly prints and the ever present solid colors.  Is the concept of florals for spring so clichéd that no one will do them?  But, but… that is what I want now, planting flowers in pots and pretty floral prints to wear.  Even Macy’s let me down, and that doesn’t often happen.  I am sick of solid, color blocking and I need something else to wear to work.  So, back to the fabric stash to finally sew up at least one of the rayon challis prints I have been hoarding for no good reason.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

Now the problem is a pattern.  What I want is a sleeveless, tailored, fitted shell to wear under a spring pastel sweater.  I have been through the pattern books multiple times, and the styles aren’t appealing.  I found some on sale recently, so I decided to try this one with a cowl style neckline in the front.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

This little symbol is my best friend on a pattern, do you know what it is? Because I am short, I usually need to adjust the pattern for a petite size. This symbol is the center bust, and if it lines up where it should, I am good to go. Otherwise, I have to fold out about an inch on most patterns above the center bust and below the shoulder. This pattern is sized well for me, so good to go.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

The pattern said that the center back would be 3 and a half inches below the natural neck, and I didn’t want that.  Knowing that any pattern can be modified to suit my needs, I redrafted the cutting line to be higher and closer to my neck.  Use a curved ruler and make both sides even.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

Next, I cut out the pattern pieces and ironed them.  I know most of you don’t do this, but I find that there are fewer fitting mistakes if I do.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

This pattern called for shortening at the waistline, so I did shorten it by about two inches.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

One thing I know, a new pattern may or may not fit like the same size I last sewed, so making a quick muslin was in order. I used some cotton fabric that is badly damaged from the sun and not suitable for a quilt.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

The great thing about this pattern is there are only two pieces, and it is cut on the bias. So I cut out two pieces of the cotton, and did a quick stitch of the side seams and shoulder seams to try it on. It seemed to be true to size, so I went ahead with the rayon.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

Placing the pattern was critical, one doesn’t want flower centers in certain places, LOL!!  I can see the print through the pattern so that was easy. Once again, that little bust symbol came in handy.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

The pattern calls for finishing the edge of the cowl, but it doesn’t say how. There were several confusing instructions so I read through the instructions completely first.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

I threaded up the serger with black thread and put a line of serging around it.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

Then some stay-stitching at the clip point for the cowl self-fabric facing.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

The pattern calls for the back neck edge to be finished before the shoulder seams are done.  Weird, but OK. I serged the raw edge, then turned under and topstitched.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

Serging the seams does well for rayon too, so I did those.  Changing the settings on the serger to a rolled edge, I serged the bottom edge meaning to leave it this way.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

It took several readings of the poorly worded instructions to understand how the shoulder seams and cowl neck facing was to be done.  The use of the words inside and outside were confusing, as it said ‘turn to the outside’ which was actually the inside of the garment turned inside-out.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

I serged the sleeves, then turned the serging under and topstitched. I thought I was done.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

I think is goes well with my pale yellow sweater. I can also wear it with the other short sleeve sweaters I have for spring, since there are other colors in the print to bring out.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

Trying it on, the fit was fine, but this time I turned to look at the back.  Oh crap!  The neckline in the back was sticking out, when I wanted it to lay flat.  I didn’t notice this on the muslin, I think because I was in a hurry to get started sewing.  That would have been easy to draft that extra out of the pattern before cutting.  So now, I have to make a dart in the back to take that out. I measured it while I had it on, and figured out how low the dart would go.  Small rant, why do pattern makers think that because I need a certain size to fit my chest, that means I have the shoulders of a linebacker? I had to take six inches out of the middle back neckline.  Pulling up the back made more folds for the cowl in the front, so I didn’t have to adjust the front.

Rayon Top | From My Carolina Home

I took out the finishing topstitching on the center back neck.

Rayon Top | From My Carolina Home

The dart was sewn along a drawn line. Then I serged off the excess.

Rayon Top | From My Carolina Home

Sewing tip – to make your clothes look professionally sewn, iron the outside of the seam as well as the inside.
Press the edges of the sleeves and the bottom too, flattening the creases and smoothing the topstitching.

Sewing a Rayon Print Top |From My Carolina Home

Finally, all finished and ready to wear this week.

Rayon Top | From My Carolina Home

How do you feel about florals for spring?  Do you sew clothes?


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Azalea Walk

The azalea island is in full bloom now, and those flowers are bringing out the pollinators in droves.  I promised a walk around the azaleas on our property, and here are the pictures. I know I have mentioned this before, white flowers are my favorites. The white azaleas on two bushes did beautifully.

Azalea Walk at From My Carolina Home

The third one budded a bit earlier and got bitten by the frost. Some of the flowers are pure white, but others show the discoloration of damage.

Azalea Walk at From My Carolina Home

Next to it are a medium pink, and a darker pink.

Azalea Walk at From My Carolina Home

Behind it in the middle of the circle is another lighter pink. It is looking a bit scrawny, and I may need to take it out and replant another one.

Azalea Walk at From My Carolina Home

Around the other side of the circle, two more azaleas, with the white one still mostly buds just a few days ago.

Azalea Walk at From My Carolina Home

They are beautiful though. The same white azalea just a day later is doing well with no bloom damage.

Azalea Walk at From My Carolina Home

Azalea Walk at From My Carolina Home

Down the drive next to the meadow, the pink has bloomed, and a fourth white is just starting up.

Azalea Walk at From My Carolina Home

The intense color of this deep pink azalea is just gorgeous.

Azalea Walk at From My Carolina Home

I like the lighter, softer pink too.

Azalea Walk at From My Carolina Home

In the back, a row of coral azaleas are blooming well. Unfortunately, they also suffered some frost damage. The edges of the flowers are discolored in spots.

Azalea Walk at From My Carolina Home

Frost damage on a flower is visible while a butterfly landed for a bit of a rest.

Azalea Walk at From My Carolina Home

There are sections that look good, pretty in deep coral, these are in the back too.

Azalea Walk at From My Carolina Home

Back to the front again, this pink one is really going strong. It was hard to keep away from all the bees!

Azalea Walk at From My Carolina Home

I’ll finish with another closeup view of the white ones, still my favorite.

Azalea Walk at From My Carolina Home

If you aren’t tired of flower posts, I’ll show you the apple blossoms in a few days.  They are really getting going now.

What is blooming near you now?


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Quilted Art Project – Update 5

It has been another month, and I just cannot find the time to get back to this project.  I did do a little on it, but not much.  The lure of warmer days and digging in the dirt is too strong right now, LOL!  But a rainy day on Friday kept me inside, and I spent the day happily sewing.  I have a new quilt design that is going from inside my head to actual fabric, and I am really liking it!  It is an insanely simple idea, and I’ll show it to you soon.  After a day of piecing, I picked up the art project and put some more embellishments on it.

Quilted Art Project | From My Carolina Home

I am done with the silk flowers, they are just a bit of a pain to do through such a large piece.  I added some yellow tulips, and a bunch of green leaves to fill in.  Four daisies got gold seed bead centers.

Art Project Update | From My Carolina Home

A few more buttons and pearls were added to the top of the swirl to create a point.

Quilted Art Project | From My Carolina Home

It will sweep down and to the left, then lower and wider to the right, like a shower of buttons and beads.  It is a bit hard to see right now, but will become more prominent as I fill in more buttons and embellishments.

Quilted Art Project | From My Carolina Home

How about you, can you do handwork when the garden is calling?

Linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching.

Slow Sunday Stitching


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Planting for the Veranda

Lots of plants came home with me over the past week, and this past weekend some of them did get planted. I brought home a flat of torenias, 12 purple and 3 yellow. The purple ones go into the hanging pots for the hummingbirds to enjoy.  I did see a hummingbird this week at one of the azaleas in the back.  Of course by the time I got the camera it was gone.  I began planting with putting coffee filters in the bottom of the pots to keep the soil in while allowing excess water out.

Torenia pots

DH was happier bringing the potting bench up to the front, rather than schlepping the pots down and back up. Behind the bench, in the flowerbed, I added a leftover piece of lattice from the back yard to add some interest to the bed. It is held to the wall by two clay pots that will have geraniums eventually. I am planning a vine of some type for it.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

Planting started with the hanging pots.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

Each hanging basket gets three purple torenias.  There are four hanging pots in all.  In the background, you can see the trees just coming into green.  The next mountain is still visible, but it will be obscured soon.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

The yellow torenias were placed in the rectangular planter.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

The pink geranium does look good with the lobelia, so they were planted in the large clay pot together.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

They were placed on the corner of the veranda to get full sun. The yellow lantana got a green ceramic planter.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

The larger green ceramic pot got the yellow candy cane superbelles.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

I just love these flowers, with the yellow and white stripes.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

This is my latest thrift store find, a cute little ceramic planter with a picket fence and flowers. The other blue lobelia goes well in it.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

Out in the front bed, tomatoes and squash were planted.  I plan to put a geranium in the clay pot.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

Another tomato was planted in front of the gladiolas peeking out of the ground. At the top are the tulips, I deadheaded them so they will put their energy into making more blooms next year.  The plants at the bottom of the pic are daylilies.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

All the seedlings from my winter experiment were put into the garden.  Everything got a nice layer of mulch after watering.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

I don’t know if this will work, but I had a potato that sprouted. So, I cut the eyes into pieces and put them in water. They made roots, so I planted them too. We’ll see!

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

The last green ceramic pot now holds the white geranium.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

The birds didn’t seem to mind me being out planting. The goldfinches have shed their winter drab for the bright yellow of spring.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

I got very amused by the black capped chickadee. He would land and look around first, then sing a few notes.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

He grabbed a seed from the feeder. DH insists on feeding them the good stuff, shelled sunflower seeds.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

Then he would put the seed between his toes and beat it with his beak into small bites.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

He’d look up for a moment, sing a bit, then go back to finish off that seed.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

I still have a lot of pots to fill, so more planting soon.  While I was planting, I thought I could hear a faint whisper of wings.  I couldn’t see what it was but I have an idea, will have to see if something magical happens.

April in the Garden | From My Carolina Home

The mystery bulbs have come into flower and the mystery is solved.  They are purple iris.

Iris bed at From My Carolina Home

This was baffling to me as I already have two purple iris beds, why would I plant a third? These blooms are smaller than the other two beds, and the purple color is a bit lighter on top.

Iris bed 1

The answer came to me a couple of days ago, after I was certain they would be irises. A client at our office brought them to me last fall, and gave some other plants to the rest of the ladies. We had no idea what they were, so I put them in the brick planter. Now that I know, I can move them into the second iris bed when they are done blooming and double that bed’s size.

Iris close

The azaleas are just about at their peak, will show you those soon.

Today is Earth Day.  So it is a good day to plant something, start seeds outdoors, or find something to recycle, repurpose, or reuse.  What is going on in your garden?

 

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Introducing “The Charleston”! A Quilted Beaded Handbag

Announcing my new purse pattern!  Since I seem to be following a dance theme with the Scrap Dance Mystery quilts, the title for this purse continues in that light.  The Charleston Bag works as a shoulder bag or a handbag with swinging beads that evoke the image of a flapper dancer in the 1920s.  I have to give DH some credit here too, for helping find the name of the dance I had in my mind.  We won’t talk about the youtube videos he found, LOL!!

 The Charleston Bag! A new pattern at From My Carolina Home

This purse can be made with beaded upholstery trim or long fringe, that will swing and move just like those dancers dancing the Charleston.  The large yoke piece could also have other kinds of embellishments, such as embroidery or lace if you choose.  There is so much room for your creativity!  The body of the purse can be a single fabric, or a patchwork, and works great with jelly roll strips.

 The Charleston Bag! A new pattern at From My Carolina Home

The purse is completely finished on the inside, and is all sewn by machine.  It has a pocket inside for little things.

 The Charleston Bag! A new pattern at From My Carolina Home

It works well with small or large prints, and patchwork too!   If you love the gold fabric below, I have some for sale in my Etsy shop.  It is Timeless Treasures Ocre Butterfly.  This purse would look great with one of my sewing prints too.

 The Charleston Bag! A new pattern at From My Carolina Home

The trim is found in the upholstery section of your fabric store.  Or you could use lace or fringe instead, it is your bag so use what you like.

 The Charleston Bag! A new pattern at From My Carolina Home

I am so very grateful to my pattern testers, and want to show you their results.  Mary gave me very detailed notes, and her feedback was invaluable to revising the instructions.  She made these two purses, adding a button closure on both.  I added a velcro closure option to the pattern based on her feedback.

Deeter

Penny made the pattern multiple times to be sure that it went together the same way each time.   She made an adjustment for placement of her beading that was shorter, and tried it with different trims, too.

PennyAdkins1

I love the red and gold with black color combination on this one!  The pattern seems to work well with large scale prints too.

PennyAdkins14

This one has embroidery instead of bead trim, another great option.

PennyAdkins13

Both these ladies were very helpful, and I thank them again for their notes and feedback.

Click HERE to order.

I appreciate any purchase from my stores, those help to fund the costs of the blog.  Thank you!!

 

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Lemon Donuts with Lemon Glaze

Springtime and lemons just seem to go together.  I picked up a lovely lemon at the store, knowing I wanted to do something lemony, but not knowing what.  I thought about a pound cake, then remembered the donut pans.  Ah, ha!  Lemon Donuts!

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Oh yum, did these ever hit the spot!  And how can you go wrong serving them on my new lemon plates.  Perfect aren’t they?

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Gathering the ingredients, I came across the vanilla beans. The thought came that these might do wonderfully in a delicate batter with just lemon zest, so I tried that.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

So here is how to make them yourself.  Spray two donut pans with non-stick spray and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Combine first five dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Add to dry ingredients.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Zest the lemon.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Chop finely and add to dry ingredients.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Add the eggs to the oil and slightly beat.  If you don’t have a vanilla bean, add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the eggs/oil.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Add eggs, oil, and half and half to the dry ingredients.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Stir gently only until combined.  Batter will be very thick and sticky.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Load 1/2 of batter into a piping bag, cut off the end. You may be tempted to skip this step, but believe me it is much easier and faster to load the bag and pipe the batter into the wells than to try to spoon it in.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Pipe into six donut wells. Repeat with remaining batter and another donut pan, distributing batter evenly across all 12 wells.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-16 minutes, only until top springs back when lightly touched and donuts are lightly browned. Do not over-bake.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then remove from pans and put on wire racks to cool.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Juice the lemon.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Strain the juice into a cup with the powdered sugar.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Wisk until smooth.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Place wax paper under the rack with the cooled donuts. Drizzle with lemon glaze.  I scooped up the overflow and added it to the tops of the donuts after the first glazing had cooled and slightly hardened.

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Enjoy the complements!

Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

Lemon Donuts with Lemon Glaze

1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 lemon
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons half and half (or milk)

For Glaze
juice of one lemon
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

Spray two donut pans with non-stick spray and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine first five dry ingredients in a large bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to dry ingredients. Zest the lemon, chop finely and add to dry ingredients. Add eggs, oil, and half and half, stirring gently only until combined.  Batter will be very thick and sticky. Load 1/2 of batter into a piping bag, cut off the end. Pipe into six donut wells. Repeat with remaining batter and another donut pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-16 minutes, only until top springs back when lightly touched and donuts are lightly browned. Do not over-bake. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then remove from pans and put on wire racks to cool.  Drizzle with lemon glaze.  Yield 12 donuts.

Download the recipe – Lemon Donuts with Lemon Glaze

Enjoy!

 

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Lemon Vanilla Donuts with Lemon Glaze at From My Carolina Home

 

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