From My Carolina Home

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Dijon Pork Loin Roast

Pork loin roasts can be so tender and delicious,  and the small ones are perfect for just two, with only enough left over for sliced pork sandwiches the next day.  The loin roast has so little fat, and almost no marbling, very lean.  It is also very easy to overcook.  There are two secrets to getting wonderful, succulent pork for dinner.  First, you really have to have an instant read digital thermometer.  Cooking to precise temperature avoids overcooking and turning a lovely piece of meat into shoe leather. Second, you have to plan time to let the roast rest after cooking.  How many of you have popped a pork loin in the oven, set the timer for one hour without looking at how much it weighed, and got a dry, tough roast out?  One thing to know is that pork loin is 75% water, and it is easy to overcook and dry out when roasting.

Dijon Pork Roast 12

These can be so tender and juicy, with just a little care. I don’t want to have huge amounts of leftovers, so I chose a small 2-pound lean, boneless, pork loin roast, on sale of course. You can put anything on it as far as spices and seasonings you like. This time I ‘frosted’ the roast with dijon mustard, then sprinkled on garlic salt and lemon pepper.

Dijon Pork Roast 2

I topped it off with a layer of Panko bread crumbs for crunch, and lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Dijon Pork Roast 3

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. No, it won’t be done yet, but you need to check the temperature now.

Dijon Pork Roast 5

Using one of these digital thermometers, check its temperature in the center of the thickest part of the roast.

Digital Thermometer

You will get somewhere around 115 to 125 degrees, depending on how hot your oven is. Calculate about 10 degrees per 5 minutes if your reading is around 115, and 7 minutes per 10 degrees if you are nearer the top number. You are shooting for 150-152 degrees. Place the roast back in the oven for 10-15 minutes and check temperature again. If you still aren’t at 150 degrees, put it back in the oven, 5 minutes at a time, checking the temperature every time you remove it from the oven, until the temperature 150-152 degrees is reached.

Dijon Pork Roast 6

Leaving it in the baking dish, tent with foil and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. This will allow the meat to relax and reabsorb the juices so they aren’t lost when you slice it. The temperature will continue to rise to the final serving temperature of 160 degrees.

Dijon Pork Roast 7

Moist and tender, you can cut this with a fork!  It is OK to have a slight blush to the meat, it doesn’t have to be pure white.  The temperature is more important in determining if it is done and not overdone.

Dijon Pork Roast 10

I like serving it with my Garlic Zucchini. Yes, we can eat this entire pan in one meal.

Garlic Zucchini

DH likes some noodles too.

Dijon Pork Roast 11

The next night, we had all the leftover roast for dinner. Heat in foil in the oven for about 30 minutes, or microwave on medium low for about 2 minutes. Don’t overcook while reheating.

Dijon Pork Roast 14

I made a double batch of my Parmesan Spinach dish, as I love leftovers of this one. This time I didn’t use the roasted garlic, just added a bit of garlic powder.

Parmesan Spinach

Yum, dinner for two nights and some of my favorite veggie dishes too.

Dijon Pork Loin Roast

1 pork loin boneless roast about 2 pounds
2 tablespoons (approx) dijon mustard, more or less to taste
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
No-stick cooking spray.

Spray an 8×8 baking dish with no stick, add the roast. Frost roast with dijon mustard, and sprinkle with garlic salt and lemon pepper. Sprinkle with Panko bread crumbs and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. You will get somewhere around 115 to 125 degrees, depending on how hot your oven is. Calculate about 10 degrees per 5 minutes if your reading is around 115, and 7 minutes per 10 degrees if you are nearer the top number. You are shooting for 150 degrees. Place the roast back in the oven for 10-15 minutes and check temperature again. If you still aren’t at 150 degrees, put it back in 5 minute times until that temperature is reached. Tent with foil and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. The temperature will continue to rise to the final serving temperature of 160 degrees.

Dijon Pork Roast 12

Just one more note about cooking pork.  Pork that is fatty or has a lot of connective tissue like a Boston Butt does well in a slow cooker, but please don’t put a lean loin like this, or a tenderloin in there. The slow cooker will raise the temperature of the roast over 200 degrees, which will toughen very lean pork.  It would be like putting a sirloin steak in one, which would overcook that as well.  Very tender cuts don’t need long cooking.  Reserve that for the less expensive cuts that need a long slow cooking to make them tender.

Do you enjoy a pork dinner?



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Two Stepping March Update

Lots of progress photos have been shared on Flickr, if you are quilting along I hope you will share your progress too!  Click on Scrap Dance Mystery Group to see the current and past mystery quilts.  Of course, you all know I made two quilts, one controlled scraps, and the other completely scrappy.


Edy John is using black as her background. She has the January unit here ….

Two Step 1

and she shared her February QST unit the day it posted! Wow, she is fast! And I love the black!

Two-Step/ Step 2

Mary began with her first two-step unit.

Playing with Scraps

She set aside time on the day of the February release and got 48 of that unit done that day too.

Step 2 of the Scrap Dance Two step

Carolyn is using lovely blues for her scrappys, and a light background.

P 1 Two step

Lindi’s colors are so interesting, will be wonderful in neutrals!  I think she is making this for her daughter in law.  These colors have an elegance to them.


Witch Stitch (I’m sorry, I don’t know your name) has some really pretty fabrics too.

My 24

Sally has a wonderful fabric selection.

Two-Step Fabric Selection

Marsha is also doing a black background, with wonderful batik brights!

Marsha Day - Part 1

and here are her QSTs she made with her companion angle tool. You know, I don’t care if you follow my way to do the QSTs or use your own, just make the number you need.

Two Step Clue 2 QSTs

Of course, you all know, I adore Elaine’s autumn colors!

Number 2 Two Step mystery quilt with oranges, avacado greens and browns.

Here are her QSTs.

Scrap Dance Two Step... second month done for quilt #1 . On to March. Thanks Carole

And she is doing a second quilt in these colors!

From My Carolina Home.Scrap Dance Two step #2 quilt using all types of scraps. Storing pieces until.March. thank you Carole Carter.

Kristi has a beautiful array of colors and prints…


and made great progress on her QSTs.


Tammie is using a red print for her background, how interesting this will be!!


Here are her QSTs.


Susan has another idea for her Two-Step, all blues. It reminds me of the ocean.

Step one and step two blocks all finished.

It isn’t too late to join in, Laura finished her step one just a few days ago.

Two Step Step 1

It is such a thrill for me to see all these different interpretations of my ideas.  I cannot tell you how much fun I have with all your shares.  Please continue to upload your progress photos, and if you haven’t done so yet, it is easy and free!  Just create a Flickr account, upload your photos and add them to the group.  Be sure they are set to public, not private, so they can be shared here on the blog.  It is the same group I have been using for all the mystery quilts, so you can look back to previous year’s photos too.  The group url is – and I look forward to seeing all your progress.  Plus, you can still upload finish pictures of previous mystery quilt-alongs to the same group.  Jeannine just shared her original Scrap Dance Mystery finish, love her colors and borders!  Great job, and the quilting looks perfect too.


There are also discussion groups connected with each Flickr group where you can ask questions, and most of the participants will comment on the photos.  It is a really fun way to connect with others doing the mystery.


Are you Two-Stepping with us?


March in the Garden

It is still looking more like spring than winter here, and amazingly the flowers are coming into bloom.  I am so afraid that our Blackberry Winter will nip all these flowers. Blackberry Winter is what we locals call a cold snap, and often a freeze, right when the blackberry bushes begin blooming – usually early April. Recently, I went to the Biltmore House, and showed some of the wonderful costumes in their Designed for Drama exhibit. While we were there, we did some walking around the gardens. Normally there would not be anything blooming in February, but due to the early warmth, lots of flowers are coming out too soon. All around are Bradford Pear trees and Golden Forsythia starting to put on a show. The cherry trees are starting to bloom with their delicate pink blossoms.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Little clumps of daffodils are popping up here and there.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Believe it or not, these are azaleas! They shouldn’t be in bloom for two more months.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

This beauty is a variety of crocus dwarf iris?  There were several beds of these guys around Antler Village at the Biltmore Estate.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

One thing I appreciate about winter is the architecture of the bare limbs of plants and trees. This gorgeous thing is a giant wisteria vine along an arbor leading into the Biltmore Gardens, likely close to 100 years old. It covers this arbor, and is stunning in spring.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

This is a Japanese cutleaf maple, wonderful twisted trunk and branches, almost resembles a giant bonsai. In spring, this will be covered in red leaves.  There is such grace in this form.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Just down the path from the arbor is this spray of white flowers covering several bushes. I didn’t get the marker for what they are.  But I know they shouldn’t be blooming yet.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Back at home, the seedling are starting to put up small leaves. I need to replant some of them a bit deeper.

March Garden at From My Carolina Home

The best part of February was the progress on the amaryllis. The bud came out in mid-February, with 2 blooms. Previously the flower spike had four, so I need to repot it this year. It must need more nutrients than I can give it with just fertilizer, and needs new soil. Excruciatingly slow, it took four days to get partially open.

Amaryllis Bulb Year 4 at From My Carolina Home

Then one flower opened fully, beautiful dark red. The other followed a few days later.

Amaryllis Bulb Year 4 at From My Carolina Home

Both flowers fully opened, just lovely. I moved it out of the kitchen over to the pub table to protect it from damage.

Amaryllis Bulb Year 4 at From My Carolina Home

The bad news was there was going to be a major thunderstorm with possible hail on Wednesday night, then below freezing temperatures for three nights beginning Thursday night.  As I raced home from BOM club and errands on Wednesday trying to beat the rain, I found this when I got home.

Hyacinths 2

The hyacinth bulb I planted last year has come up and begun blooming. I knew the freeze would kill it, do I dug it up and put it in a pot in the Carolina room out back.  Then, looking at the flower beds truly for the first time in a few weeks, I was not pleased to see all this growth, in every bed! All three iris beds, the tulips, and the gladiolas are all coming up!


I needed to get them all covered before the rain hit, just in case there was hail. Plus, they need to be protected from the mid-20s overnight temperatures we will have for three nights. Racing against the oncoming storm, I managed to get them all covered with sheets or fabric, weighed down with lattice bits, extra pots and gutter remnants. The forecast for Saturday night is 24 degrees, a hard freeze.

Covered bulbs

As I went to the veranda for extra pots to use, I found the jump-ups were already in full swing, and blooming! So I picked up that pot and put it in the Carolina room too.

Jump ups on veranda

As I worked, I also saw that the bargain snapdragons that I got for less than a dollar made it through the winter and are growing.  They have doubled in size from the original plantings. They got covered too.


The planter box was covered as well with a piece of lattice and a drop cloth. I just hope that there isn’t a lot of wind, and that the covers all stay in place for the next couple of days.  There are daylilies and irises here.

Iris bed raised

I’ll have more gardening chores to do this month.  Transplanting the seedlings to set them lower in the dirt (which encourages stronger root growth according to my gardening book)  and thinning them out will best be done between the 5th and the 12th when the moon is waxing.  A PBS show on NC gardening has given me a couple of good ideas for new plants for the garden this year, so I will try to find these in my local garden centers – variegated weigela and red salvia.   I need to order my torenias too, the garden center grows them, and sets aside a flat for me each year.  Still keeping in mind that the last frost date for here is April 15, planting outside will have to wait in spite of this warm beginning.  I just hope that the freezing temperatures overnight and over the weekend don’t damage the local apple crop, or my bulbs.

Are you doing any garden chores or planning?  Or are you enjoying the last of summer in the southern hemisphere?



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Be My Neighbor Quilt Along – Block 3

It is the first Wednesday of the month, time to show the next block of the Be My Neighbor quilt along. It seems like block three has the most pieces of all the blocks, some really tiny! Plus it has appliqué, my nemesis. But, I am determined to do this. After all, the only way to grow is to practice. So, I cut pieces of scraps, keeping in mind that I wanted the background to be sky.

Be My Neighbor Block 3 ~ From My Carolina Home

This time I read the directions instead of jumping in. The roof section was pieced, then I started on the mailbox and windows.

Be My Neighbor Block 3 ~ From My Carolina Home

So far, so good, laying out the elements after each step.  Tiny bits make the mailbox, and I was happy that they went together as they designed.

Be My Neighbor Block 3 ~ From My Carolina Home

I like the purple for the house.

Be My Neighbor Block 3 ~ From My Carolina Home

Looking good, all done with the piecing.

Be My Neighbor Block 3 ~ From My Carolina Home

Oh, crap. Do you see what I did wrong? Of course I didn’t notice it until I took the picture. The bottom has sky fabric, so the house appears to be floating in the clouds. The bottom background pieces should be green to create a ground. So, I frogged off the bottom, and resewed it with green. Then turned my attention to the appliqué.

I started the circle on the birdhouse with a yo-yo, but that didn’t work. There were too many points instead of a smooth circle and it was too big.  Yep, you guessed it, a bit more frogging was in order.  I got out several applique books and decided on the fusible interfacing method for the appliqués. Templates were cut out of Golden Threads Paper for both fabrics and interfacing.

Be My Neighbor Block 3 applique ~ From My Carolina Home

Then the interfacings were lightly fused to the cut out bits. The hope is that I will be able to have something to guide the needle-turn and make a smooth edge. I did clip the inside curve on the bird body.  This gave the appliqué pieces a bit of body and helped create the edge as I sewed.

Be My Neighbor Block 3 applique ~ From My Carolina Home

My book says to use tiny stitches for the best result on curves, so I did my best.  Still not happy with this, the bottom edge is a bit ragged where I have sewn.  You can see the raw edge at the top where I haven’t turned it under yet.

Be My Neighbor Block 3 Applique

I pinned all the bits to the block so I wouldn’t lose any of them, and put it next to my chair for stitching on Sunday.

Be My Neighbor Block 3 ~ From My Carolina Home

The bird began with its rosy breast, I am hoping it will look like a robin.

Be My Neighbor Block 3 Applique

I couldn’t get the turned under areas to stay put, so I tried more pins. Some of these were a help, and some got in the way.

Be My Neighbor Block 3 Applique

The little tiny beak was the most trouble. I hate working with tiny pieces. I put a French knot in black for the bird’s eye.  It doesn’t look that good, but as I like to say, finished is better than perfect.  Perhaps after the entire quilt is done I’ll go back and add a tiny bead or button for its eye.

Be My Neighbor Block 3 Applique

Now it is done. I need to iron it, but it is done in time for the meeting today, yippee!!

Be My Neighbor Block 3 Applique

How’s your quilt coming along, or whatever you are working on?



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Scrap Dance Waltz – Trunk Show!

Doing one more update on Scrap Dance Waltz, to show you some wonderful finishes in lots of colorways!  I had such fun designing this quilt, and I now have the red and cream quilt I have wanted for some time.


One of the great things about doing quilt-alongs is seeing what other people do with the same design.  The color choices and borders make a quilt unique, and I’d like to share a few that were shared on our Flickr group for the quilt along.  These are new shares since the last update.

Needled Mom did hers in blue and white, and I like her border choice with small squares of scrappy blues.

Scrap Dance Waltz

Ila did two quilts in low volume prints. She realized halfway through that her blocks in the quilt on the left had two patches reversed. The quilt on the right is consistent with the pattern. Still, they are both beautiful and both have that circular secondary pattern, it is just stronger on the one on the right.  I am sure the sisters are thrilled.


Brenda did hers in two prints, I think she is going to use this as a Christmas quilt.  Beautiful fabrics, and lots of perfect points!


And here are a few you may have seen before, but newer readers may not have seen.

Tanya sewed her quilt with a wonderful grey background and lots of bright scraps.  This pattern really does chew up the scrap bin.

IMG_0360 2

Susan did a lullaby size in lovely blue and white.

Scrap Dance Waltz top finished, piecing the back now.

And Cheryl did a red and green Christmas theme.

Waltz Tango 2

Here’s one of Elaine’s two quilt flimsys, this one with a yellow border.


I hope all these participants who showed their finished flimsy will upload a photo of the quilted finish. I’d also love to see more, if anyone else that hasn’t shared up to now would like to share.  Please be sure that your pictures are set to public when adding to the Flickr group.  In the meantime, here’s the link to the pattern on Craftsy for purchase. –Scrap Dance Waltz on Craftsy! Thank you to all who have purchased any of my patterns!!

And for those who are Scrap Dancing with our Two Step Mystery, be sure to share your progress on the Scrap Dance Mystery Flickr Group.  I plan to show some progress photos of that one soon.

One more quilt along in progress now is the Be My Neighbor quilt along, for those who would rather know what the final quilt looks like.  Join in the fun starting HERE, yes you have time to catch up!

What are you working on now?



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Shabby Chic Pin Cushions

I’ve been crafting again, this time with velvet and pearls.  These wonderful silverplate pieces were found in a thrift store, and I have been busy making them over into luxury pin cushions.  While cleaning out, I found my stash of velvet bits, and used them to turn ordinary items into handmade, unique treasures.  Some readers may remember this little beauty, that I have been informed was a salt cellar.

January Clean Out and Thrift Store finds

With the addition of a velvet pin cushion, filled with cotton and poly fiberfill, and a vintage clip back earring, it became a fabulous treasure.  All the elements are glued on.  These lovely creations will be sold in my Etsy store.

Vintage Upcycle Pincushions ~ From My Carolina Home

This small, tarnished silverplate urn became a shabby chic treasure.

January Clean Out and Thrift Store finds

I added the red velvet pincushion filled with poly fiberfill, and added off-white color roses around the edge.  It stands about 3 inches high with the pincushion.

Vintage Upcycle Pincushions ~ From My Carolina Home

I was really excited to find this gorgeous sewing basket.  It is ceramic/plaster with lovely painted details.  It is huge, 5 inches across and a smidgen over 5 inches high.  It is also heavy!

Vintage Upcycle Pincushions ~ From My Carolina Home

It had one chip on one of the sewing machines, that I was able to disguise with the careful application of some black paint. The inside was filled with fiberfill, covered in dark red velvet and a corded trim was added to finish off the piece.

Vintage Upcycle Pincushions ~ From My Carolina Home

This small porcelain vase became a pincushion using deep blue velvet.  It is about 3 inches across.

Vintage Upcycle Pincushions ~ From My Carolina Home

I thought a pearl accent looked good to finish off the top edge.

Vintage Upcycle Pincushions ~ From My Carolina Home

I have a few more little things like these to turn into pin cushions next, if the ones I have listed so far do well.

I have decided to refocus my Etsy store away from supplies like fabrics, threads and buttons as they don’t really sell well.  My new focus will be on handmade creations and I hope that the store will do a bit better.  All the items shown on this post are available as of this writing plus a few more.  I hope they will all be gone shortly. I did do some research on this kind of item to begin pricing.  Know that I am trying to find the sweet spot, not too high, but not short-changing my time either.

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to have available in the store, please let me know.  There are also some neat vintage items for sale now too.  Visit Craftnut’s Studio to see all the goodies.

Are you crafting now?



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Designed for Drama – A Biltmore House Event

This week I went with friends to the Biltmore House for their Designed for Drama Event, a collection of costumes worn in movies based on George Vanderbilt’s favorite books.  This is the third time the Biltmore House has done a costume exhibit.  The first one, Dressing Downton Abby was spectacular!  This exhibit is a collection of more than 40 outstanding costumes from 14 recent movies based on books that were George Vanderbilt’s favorite reads.  The amount of handwork and details on the gowns are just amazing.  I took over 200 pictures, making up for lost time as up to now pictures were not allowed at Biltmore House.  They now allow non-flash photography, so I had a field day, and was very happy I took an extra battery for the camera! There is no way I can show you all the wonderful costumes, I just chose a few to highlight. First, this one is a gorgeous gold gown with period correct black sequins. It was worn by Nicole Kidman in “Portrait of a Lady”.  Note the detailed lace at the hem.

Dressed Drama Portrait Lady 9

Just look at the handwork and decorative stitching on the bodice, and the matching gloves.

Dressed Drama Portrait Lady 10

The library is my favorite room at the Biltmore House, and it is spectacular. Bookshelves line the room on all four sides, with a secret passage behind the upper level chimney behind the fireplace.  The ceiling is ornately painted, and the woodwork is awe inspiring.  This room held the simple costumes from “Pride and Prejudice”.

Dressed Drama Pride Prejudice 4

In all the exhibits, the actual volumes from the Vanderbilt library accompanies the exhibit, displayed in clear cases.

Dressed Drama plackard

Additional posters detail the costume’s origin, designer and who wore it. The “Golden Bowl” dress was one of the most spectacular, worn by Uma Thurman.

Dressed Drama Golden Bowl 1

Look at the peacock headdress, the jeweled bodice and jeweled girdle around the hips.

Dressed Drama Golden Bowl 3

The necklace was a golden collar with large emerald color stones.

Dressed Drama Golden Bowl 2

This is the dress worn by Kate Beckinsale in the same movie. Lovely lacework on this gown!

Dressed Drama Golden Bowl 7

This dress was a bit simpler, a day dress, but what a hat!

Dressed Drama Golden Bowl 8

I’d wear this hat today, I love to wear hats! Of course, it would likely need to be the Kentucky derby to get away with it, LOL!

Dressed Drama Golden Bowl 9

Two more costumes from “The Golden Bowl”. There were more costumes from this book than any other, and they were all wonderfully done. I need to read this book!

Dressed Drama Golden Bowl 12

The dress features gathering and draping, expertly done, with lovely rose detail.

Dressed Drama Golden Bowl 13

The shawl on this dress was made of gossamer fabric with exquisite embroidery in gold.

Dressed Drama Golden Bowl 16

While we were enjoying the costumes, the pipe organ was being played, with ragtime songs from the 1920s. The music could be heard over a large portion of the tour.

Biltmore Pipe Organ

These costumes from “House of Mirth” were arranged with mirrors so you could see the backs of both.  The room here is Mrs Vanderbilt’s bedroom, with gilded portrait frames and mirrors.

Dressed Drama House of Mirth 1

The next room showcased the simpler style of “Jane Eyre”, still beautifully sewn.

Dressed Drama Jane Eyre 1

This rich red gown from “Portrait of a Lady” is right at home with the burgundy papered walls of the bedroom.  Every room at Biltmore House is furnished beautifully, and appointed with sumptuous draperies and beautiful rugs.

Dressed Drama Portrait Lady 1

This lovely gown and dashing tuxedo are from “Sherlock Holmes”, set in the billards room in the Bachelor’s wing.

Dressed Drama Sherlock Holmes 3

Costumes from “Sleepy Hollow” worn by Johnny Depp and Michael Gambon.

Dressed Drama Sleepy Hollow 1

Even the gowns worn by the extras in the film “Sleepy Hollow” had attention to detail.

Dressed Drama Sleepy Hollow 8

Just look at the lace on the bodice, and this was worn by someone in the film’s background.

Dressed Drama Sleepy Hollow 5

Lastly, these two lovely gowns are from “Twelfth Night”.

Dressed Drama Twelfth Night 2

There was a lot more to see, including gowns from “Anna Karenina” and fanciful costumes from “Finding Neverland” and more.

From the Biltmore House website – “Once recognized as ‘one of the best read men in the country’ by New York media, [George] Vanderbilt amassed a library of more than 22,000 volumes at his North Carolina home. A reader from an early age, he began at the age of 12 keeping a record of the books he had read, including the title and author of each work. By his death in 1914, Vanderbilt had logged 3,159 books. He also counted leading authors of the era as personal friends, including Henry James, Paul Leicester Ford, and Edith Wharton—all of whom stayed at Biltmore House as guests of George and Edith Vanderbilt.”

You can read more about the creation of this exhibit in their Designed for Drama Press Release.  More pictures are on the Biltmore House website Photo Gallery.  If you are local, make plans to see this wonderful exhibit.  If you haven’t made your vacation plans for this year, come to Asheville/Hendersonville!  The event runs through July 4, 2017.

Did you enjoy the pictures?  Have you read these classics?



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