From My Carolina Home

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


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January Clean Out Project and Thrift Store Finds

January just seems like the right time to pare down, so I am cleaning up and clearing out.  I am laughing as I write this as I hit some thrift stores in Brevard recently and scored a number of great finds!  But as new-to-me comes in, some old has to go.  Each year I try to find one area to give special scrutiny – two years ago it was my closet (What’s in Your Closet?), and last year it was the the recipe clutter (Getting Organized Saving Recipes).  This year, I decided to take a brutal look at the linen drawers.  I have linens for tablescapes in three different places, and this year I need to finally organize them better and discard the hopelessly stained.  First is to pull out everything and give it a good going over.  Some things get one more chance in the washer, and some things were given to DH to use in his garage.  I got new kitchen towels for Christmas (thanks, dear MIL!), so a lot of the old ones need to finally go.  Do you keep favorite kitchen towels long after they should be tossed?

January Clean Out and Thrift Store finds

All the Christmas linens were washed and this year stored with the Christmas stuff, instead of putting them in the hutch drawers to just take up space for a year.  The autumn items were put in a different set of drawers in the secretary in the loft.  That left me with a lot more usable space for everyday linens and colors that cross over holiday seasons in the main hutch.  There may just be a bit of space for some new placemats.

January Clean Out and Thrift Store finds

The pumpkin napkin rings were put with seasonal linens.

January Clean Out and Thrift Store finds

The other everyday or cross seasonal napkin rings were put into plastic bags to keep them together.

January Clean Out and Thrift Store finds

Score!! Thrifting over in Brevard was very fruitful! I managed to get a neat set of gold square chargers (you saw them on the Romantic Table for Two blog hop) along with these marvelous magnolia plates, and a couple of shabby silverplate items.

January Clean Out and Thrift Store finds

Same trip, different thrift store, and I found some parfait glasses. I have wanted a set of these for a long time. The glass was cloudy, but how can I resist when they were only 10 cents each!  Not one chip on any of them.

January Clean Out and Thrift Store finds

Amazingly, one trip through the dishwasher, and they were clear again!

January Clean Out and Thrift Store finds<

DH will insist that if something comes in, something else needs to go. So, I let go of the black octagon dishes, and a set of round gold chargers. Linens I haven’t used in years were washed and put into the donate pile. I also let go of some other baking pots, and a few more Christmas items.  Four bags of stuff were donated to the Blue Ridge Humane thrift store.

January Clean Out and Thrift Store finds<

More books went to the Friends of the Library for their semi-annual sale.  Magazines to the exchange table.

January Clean Out and Thrift Store finds

Plus two bags of fabric bits to the quilt club.  The fabric was set out at the January meeting for members to take for free and use in charity quilts or however they liked.  What was left over went to Project Linus.

So, it was OK for these rattan chargers to come home for an outdoor meal next summer.

January Clean Out and Thrift Store finds

While I was in clean out mode, I cleaned up my workbench where I do stamping, crafting and painting.  A box of stamps was put on eBay for sale along with some other items.  More items went to the donation pile.

January Clean Out and Thrift Store finds

Now I have space to work. I plan to turn this tarnished little silverplate piece into a pincushion. This type of thing seems to sell well on Etsy, so I think I’ll try my idea of making one with velvet and some trinkets.

January Clean Out and Thrift Store finds

I found this one too, not sure what it was originally, but I think it will make a lovely pincushion.

January Clean Out and Thrift Store finds

More crafting, quilting and sewing coming up next.  What are you playing with now?

 

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Share Your Cup Thursday

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Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make

Brag About It!

Vintage Charm


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Romantic Table for Two Blog Hop

With the romance of Valentine’s day on the horizon, it is time to think about a romantic dinner for two at home.  I am delighted to join Chloe for her blog hop Romantic Table for Two, ideas and tablescapes.  Perhaps the 14th will have you eating out, so a nice meal at home may be the weekend before or after – a wonderful way to extend the romance.  Whether it is breakfast or dinner, a pretty tablescape sets a mood for love and appreciation of all you share together.  When I think of romance, the place that comes to mind is Paris, France.  DH and I spent a wonderful week there years ago, so romantic, in a small hotel where we had a suite of rooms on the top floor (the 6th floor) with a marvelous stone balcony, overlooking the lights of the city of light.  So, of course, Paris was the first thing that came to mind for a tablescape. I ordered an Eiffel Tower online, and set the table looking out to the view of the mountains.

Romantic Dinner for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

The placemats and napkins are wine labels.

Romantic Dinner for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

Some time ago, I scored these French storefront plates at the thrift store. Lovely aren’t they?  I liked the look of the square salad plates with the square chargers.  I picked out the boulangerie…

Romantic Dinner for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

and the bookstore for our place settings, set on top of my white-on-white china plates and gold chargers.  Naturally, the good silverware has to be on the table, too.

Romantic Dinner for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

The pretty pink wine glasses are etched glass from the depression era. You can see a bit more of our mountain views in this photo.

Romantic Dinner for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

Looking closer at the centerpiece, I found the graceful arc candle holder just last week at the thrift store, and it reminded me of the graceful arcing stone bridges over the River Seine in the heart of Paris.

Romantic Dinner for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

Then, after I had set this table, I found the Cafe sign at another thrift store. It was just so perfect, and completed the tablescape. The greenery is faux grape leaves with bunches of grapes. Continuing the theme, I set out my grape cluster glass dishes to serve the appetizer course.

Romantic Dinner for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

Now, for some romance, lets lower the lights, and light the candles, shall we?

Romantic Dinner for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

Romantic Dinner for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

Romantic Dinner for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

I closed the curtains for the photos, but we will be looking out on a moonlit night.

Romantic Dinner for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

Here’s my menu for dinner – click on the color ones for my original recipes here on my blog.

Shrimp and Avocado Romoulade

Spinach Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

White Wine Chicken and Mushrooms

Sourdough Rolls with Creamery Butter

Parsley New Potatoes with Sour Cream Sauce

Individual Creme Brulees – recipe coming soon

And now, a giveaway!  When I ordered the little Eiffel Tower on my tablescape, I ordered two of them.  I’ll send one to a lucky reader for your Romantic Table for Two tablescape.  To enter, just leave a comment on this post with where you have had a romantic dinner in the past.  Maybe it was a wonderful restaurant, a special occasion, in a park, on a trip, or at home.   Followers may leave a second comment for a second entry just saying how you follow.  Yes, I will ship internationally, so all are welcome to enter!  Forgive me if I cannot do individual email replies on this post as there are usually too many on a giveaway.  The drawing will be held Thursday evening after 5 pm Eastern time and the winner notified by email. Drawing has been held.

table-for-two-blog-hop

Visit the other wonderful bloggers today and through the week for more romantic ideas.  This post will remain on the main page on this blog through Thursday, so come back each day to see that day’s Romantic Tables for Two. Here is the schedule for the blog hop.

Romantic Dinner for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

Where have you had a Romantic Dinner for Two?

 

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Brag About It

Create Link Inspire

Celebrate and Decorate

Talk of the Town

Vintage Charm

Full Plate Thursday

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Share Your Cup

Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make

Sweet Sensations Celebrate Your Story

 


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January in the Garden

January means little to do in the garden outside, but there are plenty of things to do inside.  I am my annual mode of reading my new Farmer’s Almanac, perusing the seed catalogs, and scrounging for gardening magazines at the thrift stores and library magazine exchange.  I already repotted my orchid, and I have needed to repot the African violets for some time. I actually did repot them in larger pots some time ago, but never could find another tray to put them on for watering. So, I put them back in the smaller pots, just a bit deeper and left them for the last year. Now they really are getting so big that I need to do something.  They put on a huge growth spurt after being outside in the warm summer and fall months.  Even now, they are putting out little leaves and still going.

Repotting Violets

While I was out in the thrift stores, I looked for a larger tray that both could sit on, but didn’t find anything. When I came across these deep glass dishes, I figured they could just each have their own.  The moon is full right now, and the warm temperatures this past week made it a perfect time to do a bit of digging in the dirt. I found two pots in the garage, larger than their current pots, and should do nicely for some time to come.

Repotting Violets

You can see under this one how much it has grown, all that stem will produce roots if I plant it deeper than it was before.

Repotting Violets

I did my coffee filter trick in the bottom of the pots too, keeps the dirt in while allowing the water to drain out. I water violets from the bottom, but proper drainage is still important.

Repotting Violets

Back in the house with their new pots, joining the rest of my little indoor garden on the pie safe in the kitchen.

Repotting Violets

I am thrilled that the amaryllis is putting out leaves once again!  This will be the fourth year it has grown and I am of course hoping for a beautiful display of the deep red flowers. It started like this, just a peek of a leaf, making me smile.

Amaryllis 2017

Then a week later it had two leaves.  I gave it a diluted feeding hoping that it has all the nutrients it needs to bloom.

Amaryllis January

Now it has three leaves and the flower bud is showing! The growth is excruciatingly slow, it has taken three weeks to get to this point. But it has been worth the wait every year.

Amaryllis flower bud

We had more visitors in January too, these deer came by before the snow.

Deer visit 3

And a group of Northern Flickers made a stop.

Northern Flicker 2

Thought you’d like to see the dawn view of clouds coming in before the snow. This is the mountain view to the east.

January Dawn 1

And this was over the valley the same morning.

January Dawn 4

I found these interesting wood branches with lichen in the driveway. They fell out of one of the trees that line the paved area. I have to think of something neat to do with them.

Lichen 1

DH put up a grow light for me in the basement workshop, and donated a bit of his workbench space for my annual seed planting fever. He put the light on a timer so I won’t have to remember to turn it on and off, and put a grow bulb in it that glows pink. I am fairly confident that with adequate light, the seeds will do better this year. I am planning get some herbs started soon, and a few other veggies a bit later. I’ll show you that in February.

Just to let you know what will happen in the next few days, tomorrow will begin a neat blog hop which I hope you all will enjoy.  That post will remain the latest one for four days while I have oral surgery again, hopefully the last time.  The previous one really knocked me down for several days, so this hop comes at a good time.  You can come back each day to visit the links to the posts for that day, plus there will be a giveaway to keep the interest up.  I’ll be back on Friday with the giveaway winner.  I may not be answering comments for those days, depends on how many there are and how I feel.  I expect to be parked in front of Netflix for several days while DH makes me soup.  I’ll be looking at my seed catalogs too.

Are you gardening or thinking about your garden?


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Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Begins!

Here we go!!  Gather your precut leftover charm packs and jelly rolls, fat quarters, end of bolts, and scraps for the next mystery in the Scrap Dance Series.  We are going to have a lot of fun putting together this next design, I am liking it a lot!! I do have one completely made, and another one in the works, and I like it so much I may have to do one.  I think you’ll want to do more than one, too.

Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along

Step One – Cut Fabric

I have given you five sizes to choose from, so you can do a little or a lot.  Use your rotary cutter and your cutting mat and cut the number of pieces for the size you choose.  Scraps should all be medium to dark in value.  The background works best if it is consistent, and I use white or ivory.  If you decide on a dark background, like black, be sure your scraps are bright or light for contrast.  As usual with my mysteries, it is important that the values of the scraps are consistent for the secondary designs to shine.

Fabric Scraps        Throw        Twin           Full           Queen         King

4-1/2″ Squares             12                 24                 30                 35                42

5″ Squares                     36                72                  90               106              126

5-3/4″ Squares             12                24                  30                  36               42

2-1/2×4-1/2 Strips       24                48                 60                 68                84

Background

5″ Squares                      12                24                30                 34                 42

5-3/4″ Squares              12                24                30                 36                 42

2-1/2×4-1/2 Strips        24                48                60                 68                 84

Here’s all my precuts for the second Two-Step quilt, sure shortened the cutting time!  I am really pleased with the black, purple, green and gold for this one.

scrap-dance-two-step-cutting-1

Additional background fabric and scraps will be needed late in the quilt assembly, but I can’t tell you exactly how much right now, as it will depend on a decision you make later in the mystery.  1-3 Fat quarters scraps, and perhaps 1/4-1/2 yard of background would likely be enough for the largest size, but I can’t tell you any more than that right now.  So if you buy yardage of background, get some extra.

Update January 31 – I know I don’t usually ask you to hold some fabric for later, but I promise you that you will love it.  So, please bear with me and just set aside a little bit extra – 1 to 3 fat quarters and 1/4-1/2 yard of background depending on the size you have chosen.  This part is entirely optional, you can skip it if you decide to later, but I think you’ll want to do it.

Here are the fabric scraps for the first one I put together.  Lots of ends of charm packs in this one.

two-step-cutting-1

Now, let’s Two-Step!

Match up the 2-1/2 x 4-1/2 strips of scraps and background.  Sew two strip units of scrap-background along the long edge.  Chain piece for speed.  Square to 4-1/2 inches square.

two-step-sew-strips-2

Here is a pdf of the January Two-Steps – cutting and first unit assembly – Two Step January Instructions

Button code for those who would like it for a sidebar –

<a title=”Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along” href=”https://frommycarolinahome.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/scrap-dance-two-step-mystery-quilt-begins/&#8221; target=”_blank”><img src=”https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/687/31906271630_7d7d773740_m.jpg&#8221; alt=”Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along” width=”240″ height=”180″ /></a>

Post your pictures of your scrap colors and your progress on our  – Scrap Dance Mystery Flickr Group

The next steps will publish the third Friday of each month for 6-7 months.  Click on February Two Step for the next post!

Have fun!!  Will you Two-Step with us?


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Cards for Friends

Recently I found out that two of my friends were in physical therapy in-patient centers, one with a knee replacement and the other for strength rebuilding after a pretty bad infection and illness.  It is unusual to have two friends in at the same time, but the really amazing thing is that they were at the same center only two doors apart. Of course, that meant getting out the stamping stuff and creating cards to go with the little goodies I planned to take.

Get Well Cards ~ From My Carolina Home

These cards began with ivory color cardstock, and I embossed a pretty deep blue cardstock rectangle for texture.

Get Well Cards ~ From My Carolina Home

I have some pretty floral ribbon, and I glued it to one side, wrapping the cut ends to the backside.

Get Well Cards ~ From My Carolina Home

I glued those to the fronts of the cards, then stamped “Thinking of You” on yellow cardstock for the front. I did them a little differently, especially made with each lady in mind. One got a bird, the other a butterfly.

Get Well Cards ~ From My Carolina Home

The inside of the one with the bird on the front has a birdhouse inside, with the Get Well sentiment.

Get Well Cards ~ From My Carolina Home

The other card has a butterfly inside as well as on the front.

Get Well Cards ~ From My Carolina Home

Both cards have my special stamp on the back.

Get Well Cards ~ From My Carolina Home

And the envelope got a pretty design too.

Get Well Cards ~ From My Carolina Home

I packed up a couple of pretty bags with two paperback novels to read, a puzzle book, a tube of hand lotion and some chocolate in each one. It isn’t a lot, but I know from trying to recover from surgery myself a couple of years ago, keeping the mind occupied is essential.   The paperbacks are easy read cozy mysteries, and the puzzles – one a word search and the other a Sudoku – can be done here and there in short increments or longer if they want.

Get Well Cards ~ From My Carolina Home

Of course, I had to do a couple of bookmarks to go in as well, to go with the novels.

Get Well Cards ~ From My Carolina Home

It was nice to have a short visit to deliver the goodies. Both ladies appreciated the thoughts.

Get Well Cards ~ From My Carolina Home

It occurred to me that I should make up a bunch of cards as ‘blanks’, so I can run down and quickly have a card when I need one. There are plenty of times that I have an immediate need but no time – like a birthday almost forgotten, or someone needs a pick-me-up or support at a moments notice.  Naturally, if I am rushed or pressured, it is hard to be creative.  If I had some made up with the fronts and backs done, I could have the needed card in a minute just by stamping the inside with the appropriate sentiment.   Next time I have a burst of stamping creativity, I’ll make a few extras for those times when I need something in a hurry.

Do you keep cards on hand?

 

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Just For Fun Anything Goes January Card Challenge

Handmade Hangout

Saturday Sparks


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Beef Barley Stew for Two

I like beef and barley stew, but one of the problems with making it is the quantity it usually makes.  I have found that I really don’t care for leftover food much anymore, and would rather have something fresh (or at least freshened, LOL, see my Creative Leftovers).  For our holiday meal we had a prime rib, and the leftover meat after several meals along with the bones made the perfect base for a dinner for two.

Beef Barley Stew for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

Actually, any beef bones with meat on them will do for this. Just put the bones in 8 cups of water with some onion and bring to a boil.  The bones will flavor the broth nicely with the onion.  You can add other aromatics like garlic, leeks and/or carrots if you like.

Beef Barley Stew for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

When the stew has boiled, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.  This will get the most flavor from the bones, and tenderize the meat so it comes off the bone easily.  Add mushrooms if you like them. Measure out 1/2 cup of pearled barley.

Beef Barley Stew for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

Take the bones out and allow to cool so you can handle them while the barley cooks. Shred the meat off the bones.

Beef Barley Stew for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

Bring the broth back to a low boil or high simmer, add the barley and cook about 45 minutes, or until tender. The barley will take up much of the broth. Add the meat back to the pot.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I don’t do any thickening of the broth for this meal, the barley is filling and it is nice to have the beef broth just served as it is.

Beef Barley Stew for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

Serve in a bowl, I like using the pasta bowls for stew.

Beef Barley Stew for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

I like to add a dollop of sour cream and some chopped green onions to my bowl.  I love the fresh flavor these garnishes give a meal.  DH just gets green onions as he isn’t a fan of sour cream.  He gave me some white truffle oil last month, and it was delicious on this stew too – adding an earthy flavor.

Beef Barley Stew for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

With a salad as the first course, the stew makes a filling supper, and there is enough just for two with maybe a small bowl left over for lunch tomorrow. This is a great way to use up the remains of a beef dinner, and make the leftovers into a fresh meal.  If you need a bigger amount, just increase the water and barley in a 3-to-1 ratio.  The amounts of onion and mushrooms can be increased too, this isn’t a precise recipe.  A bit more or less of any component will work.  You can add other things too, like green peas or carrots if you like.

Beef Barley Stew for Two

Leftover beef with bones
Thick slice of onion, split into rings
8 cups water
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup pearled barley
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish suggestions – sour cream, green onions, light drizzle of white truffle oil

Place bones, onion and water in large pot and bring to boil. When the stew has boiled, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add mushrooms if you like them. Measure out 1/2 cup of pearled barley. Take the bones out and allow to cool so you can handle them while the barley cooks. Shred the meat off the bones. Bring the broth back to a low boil or high simmer, add the barley and cook about 45 minutes, or until tender. The barley will take up much of the broth. Add the meat back to the pot, salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls with broth, garnish as you like, sour cream and green onions are tasty.

Beef Barley Stew for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

Do you enjoy beef and barley stew?  What do you like to do with leftover beef?

 

Sharing

Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make

Celebrate and Decorate

Brag About It

Share Your Cup

Full  Plate Thursday

Foodie Friday

Saturday Sparks

 


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Scrap Dance Mystery #3 is Coming! Are You Ready to Two-Step?

The new design is done, the first quilt is made, and I am working on the second to be sure the pattern is correct.  Scrap Dance Mystery Two-Step will premier next Friday, with clues on the third Friday of every month.  I like this design a lot, and I  might even make a third one.  The pattern takes advantage of some precuts, so you can use some of those to reduce the amount of cutting if you have them.

Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along

I hear the George Straight song ‘Ocean Front Property’ in my head every time I think of Two-Stepping! Here is a video of him singing live if you haven’t heard it, or if you want to hear it again.  It’s a great song!  For my international friends who may not be familiar with US geography, Arizona is land locked without an ocean shoreline, and the Golden Gate is a bridge in San Francisco.  The song is about a guy telling a big fib about not being in love.  It is a toe tapper, so enjoy it!

Scrap Dance Two-Step will last about 7 months, with plenty of time between posts to get your steps done.  I am very excited about this one, as I designed it to take advantage of pre-cuts to save you some cutting time if you have some in your scrap bin.  Of course, you can still use scraps and leftover bits as always if you don’t, you’ll just need to cut the sizes required. So, dig out those charm squares, jelly roll leftovers and fat quarters, and get ready to cut fabric next week.

I have updated the open Flickr group for this mystery. Click on Scrap Dance Mystery Group 2017 for the group, join us to share your progress from fabric selection to finished quilt, and every stage between!  This is the same group we used for Tango, and the original Scrap Dance, just updated for the new mystery.

Here’s a little logo button for you, it should link back to this post, and I’ll add a link here to the first post next week.

Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along

Scrap Dance Two-Step has started!  Click HERE for the first post!

Are you ready for a scrappy mystery quilt along?

Sharing the announcement post only, I will not be linking the individual steps.

Whoop Whoop Friday

Crazy Mom Quilts

Busy Hands Quilt Alongs Link Page

Show Off Saturday

Oh Scrap!

Main Crush Monday

Linky Tuesday Freemotion by the River

Let’s Bee Social

Needle and Thread Thursday

Seams to Be Sew