From My Carolina Home

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


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?



Share Your Cup Thursday

Pieced Pastimes Saturday Sparks

Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make

Brag About It!

Vintage Charm


Finishing Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Update – This post series will be taken down on March 1, 2017.  The pattern is now published in my Craftsy store for the low introductory price of just $5.  Purchases fund the costs of the blog so I can continue to develop fun quilt alongs without resorting to ads.  The price will go up to its regular price of $8 on March 1.

Picking up where we left off last time, the center section with all the piecing was the next part quilted.  Not surprisingly, it took the most time and care, mainly because I cannot watch the needle while quilting, I have to watch the laser light on the pattern.  This means I have to mark the end stops on the pantograph carefully and set up some wheel stops on the frame to keep from quilting into the border.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

One of my tricks is to use a C-clamp tightened down on the rail to keep the machine from going any further than I want it to go.

Quilting Tango 10 C clamp

Beginning at the top, I placed the base line of the pantograph partial pass to line up with the seam of the border, so I could quilt just the half-pass and keep the seam line straight. Then I did one full pattern pass. So far so good.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

I quilted the pantograph rows until I had less than one row’s width left to do.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

So, how did I get that last row done? Using the paper pattern trick. I use Golden Threads paper for this, as it is very thin, you can see through it, and quilt through it. I start with laying a piece on the quilt totally covering the area that still needs quilting.  I mark the areas I have already quilted to give me some registration lines.  I also mark the edges of the borders to know what area I have to stay in.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Then, I picked up the paper and laid it over the pantograph on the table, lining up the registration marks I had made on the paper, following the lines of the previous sewing line. Using a marker, I drew the partial pantograph pattern on the paper, in one continuous line, making sure I didn’t go over the seam line, rounding off some places to make a smooth sewing line.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Then I pinned it to the quilt top, making sure the seam line marking matched the border seam line, and the registration marks were on the previous sewing line.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Now, quilting from the front of the machine, I stitched through the paper along the line I drew.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

In some places I had to add a start-stop with a shorter line to fill out some partial spaces.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Then I tore away the paper, picking out the little bits in the tight areas with tweezers.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

When the pantograph center section was done and cleaned up, I quilted freehand ribbon candy in the rose print border.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Then I cleaned up all the water-soluble pen markings with Sew Clean. I got this pinpoint dabber at Quilter’s Apothecary, so I just wet the markings and not big sections of the quilt to erase them.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Quilting completed, and ready for the binding to be applied.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Now working on the binding while parked in my chair.  Doing some handwork keeps me from being too bored while I am not able to get up and go as usual.  I’ll do some finish pictures when it is all done.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz ~ From My Carolina Home

The wool batting is lightweight and warm.  It is a higher loft, so fluffier and gives more of a puffy look around the quilting. I like the overall effect, but next time I’ll try just quilting from one end of a quilt to the other like I usually quilt a pantograph.

So for now, I’ll be slow stitching the binding on by hand, still watching movies, and taking it easy.  Thank you again for all your emails and well wishes in the comments.  I think I am over the worst now, and on the way back to normal.

If you are just finding this post, you can see the whole quilt from the beginning, start HERE.  The posts in this series will remain up until the end of February for you to see.  After that the pdfs will be taken down, and the pattern will go to regular price in my Craftsy store. Or you can download the entire pattern at its introductory price in February in my Craftsy store – HERE.

What are you working on?  Have you ever used wool batting?



Slow Stitching Sunday

Oh, Scrap!

Whoop Whoop Friday

Needle and Thread Thursday



Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Scrap Dance Waltz quilting had to wait for delivery of the variegated thread, and it came last week.  I had already loaded the quilt with wool batting onto the longarm.  I didn’t show you all this pic when I loaded it, the snow is on the ground outside the windows. It was a bit maddening to have snow days to sew, and then not have the thread I really wanted. So it sat like this for almost two weeks, waiting for the King Tut Rubiyah red variegated thread to arrive.  I used a burgundy red Bottom Line thread in the bobbin.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz ~ From My Carolina Home

Now all that was needed was to decide on a plan and begin. I wanted to do a semi-custom quilting, with a pantograph of a feather design in the center, and freehand borders.  I began by stitching the top edge down, and quickly realized the high loft was going to make the stabilizing more of an effort.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz ~ From My Carolina Home

I also was going to stitch in the ditch on all three borders before beginning quilting to ensure that it stayed straight. The high loft really made the layers puff. Not sure I like this, but it is way too late to change it now.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

I went ahead with the piano keys quilting in the outer border.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

I did those all the way around and completed the SID on the inner borders.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

I wanted a bit of a loopy loop going in opposite directions on the inner border.  To do that with even spaces, I used the adding machine tape trick because it is easier than working out the math. Lay out a piece of adding machine tape along the border you want to mark. Cut it the exact length you need to stitch. Pick it up and fold it in half, then in half again, and again, and keep going until you get the interval you like.  Crease the folds hard so you can see them when the paper is unfolded again.

Paper folding

Then lay it on the quilt, pin it in place and use a water soluable marker to mark the fold points, alternating between the inside seam and the outside seam.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Now sew your loops, alternating the orientation.  Some of you may wonder why I did this part second, and I don’t have an answer for that.  It was just what I felt like doing at the time.  Maybe I was in freehand mode, and not quite ready to deal with the center.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Even though I know better, I thought I’d just improvise the corner. Not a good idea. This mess got ripped out, then the stitch path was re-drawn with the marker and re-sewn.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Go all the way around the border, using as much of the adding tape as needed. I used the same long piece for all four sides, just marking where I needed to stop, and this time marking the corner stitch paths too.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

I was very surprised to see the center of the quilt develop all this extra fullness at the bottom as I worked on the borders. After some experimenting, I realized that the wool batting was grabbing the fabric underneath the top bar and the pressure of that bar was pushing it to the bottom.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

To fix that, I released the quilt between the leaders and raised the top bar each time I advanced the quilt once I began working on the center section. Then it appeared that the twice washed backing was going to stretch too. So, rerolling helped that as well. I still had to use the trick of stuffing some batting under the leader here and there to keep it straight.  Part of that backing slackness on the sides is due to loading it with the selvedge edges on the sides.  Usually I pin the selvedges to the leaders, but the quilting design worked out better oriented the other way.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

Redistributing the fullness each time, I set up the longarm with stops on both ends to quilt the center pantograph with this feathery design.  Some of the fullness in the center got my Best Press and steam treatment.

Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz

There was more to that process, and I’ll share it next time. At this point I was under a lot of pressure to get it completely quilted and the binding put on so I would have some handwork to do while I recovered from the oral surgery this past Tuesday. I want to thank you all for your well wishes in comments and emails.  The procedure went well, but recovery is slow and I still can’t do much yet, dealing with pain and pain meds.  I’ll try to get back to responding to all your comments, but forgive me if I take a while or miss one.

The quilting is done, click on Finishing Quilting Scrap Dance Waltz.

One last bit of business for today, the giveaway winner of the Eiffel Tower statue from the Romantic Tables for Two post on Monday was drawn last night. The winner is Lynne S, who wrote “Our most romantic dinner was at a little hole-in-the-wall place in Biloxi, MS, called The Steak Pit. They only had about 8 tables, and we were newly in the military, so we didn’t have much money. They, however, treated us like royalty, and we had the best candlelit steak dinner we’ve ever shared. They even managed to make our “steak for two” medium-well for hubby and medium-rare for me — all one steak! Thank you for prompting me to this memory!”

Romantic Dinner for Two ~ From My Carolina Home

Congratulations, Lynne! I have sent you an email.

What are you working on now?



Crazy Mom Quilts

Main Crush Monday


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.


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?



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



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?


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


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.


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.


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.


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=”; target=”_blank”><img src=”; 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?


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?



Just For Fun Anything Goes January Card Challenge

Handmade Hangout

Saturday Sparks