From My Carolina Home

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Late November Garden

Cold outside means the garden moves inside.  After leaving my violets out on the veranda all summer, they finally decided to bloom again! I had forgotten the color of the lovely purple and white variegated blooms.

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

I am thrilled, finally I think I have figured out what they really need to bloom. The other one is a velvety purple.

Flowers in Late November

My Thanksgiving Cactus bloomed for the holiday this year beautifully too. I love these unusual flowers.  This was a gift from a dear friend, and I am amazed that I have kept it alive and blooming every year for over 10 years now!

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

I learned that although I originally believed this to be a Christmas Cactus, it has the spiky leaves which makes it a Thanksgiving Cactus, blooming usually in November.

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

It has several flower colors all in the same pot, purple, pink, red, yellow and white.

Flowers in Late November

Flowers in Late November

On the veranda, in spite of the sub-freezing temperatures of the past few nights, the white begonias are still blooming like mad. All the pots are still going. I stopped watering them for about a week after DH turned off the water outside to prevent the pipes from freezing. Still, the little guys continued. Yesterday, I watered the ones still going with a pitcher.

Late November veranda 2

The red dianthus are still blooming too, they should have finished up a month ago.

Late November veranda 5

The chrysanthemums got a drink too.  Their colors are fading, and I should dry some of the flowers for use later.

Late November veranda 1

Late November veranda 4

Time for the pumpkin to go, I think. But, before we leave the Autumn season, here’s one more last look at sunlit autumn color.

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

These leaves are still hanging on, but coming down fast.

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

Lovely autumn color, finally here, and gone too soon.

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

I have been seeing the turkeys several times a day now. The two males have again separated from the flock, and forage on their own. I have been getting them used to seeing me, and just this past week began talking to them. They make the most wonderful little cluck-purring noise, like they are talking back, and they no longer run away when they see me. So, on Thanksgiving, I stepped slowly onto the veranda while they were visiting and gave them a piece of whole wheat bread, broken up into a few pieces. They were wary but they did eat it. One gave a nice display of his tail feathers, and puffed up, probably to signal that he was ready to do battle if necessary.

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

After a couple of mornings giving them a bite, not only are they not afraid of me anymore, but they come running when they see me! It is fun. I don’t plan to continue this long, as I don’t want to make them into pets. I certainly respect the fact that they are wild and should continue to be so.

Late November Garden at From My Carolina Home

But, for a day or two, I’ll feed the turkeys as well as the little birds.  I wonder if they might eat that pumpkin?  Today, and this week I’ll be packing up Thanksgiving and getting out Christmas.  I’ll be simmering a pot of turkey soup while watching football and piddling around collecting up the autumn decor. My MIL is coming in five days, and I want to get to Christmas decorating and setting a pretty table for her visit.  Plus, I have some blocks to do for Waltz!  So, I better get busy.

What’s going on around your home today?

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Quick Squares Table Topper

I need a very quick table topper for my recent luncheon, and I didn’t want to bother with any half square triangles.  It needed to be much faster to put together.  I found a nice block using all squares called Arrowhead Puzzle on Quilter’s Cache, and thought four together would be perfect.  I used purple violet fabric for the focus color, with green as the accent and yellow for the background.  It would work great for Mardi Gras too with these colors.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

I put this together differently than the instructions.  Analyzing the block, you can see that the top two rows are the same as the bottom two, just turned around.   I also used 2-1/2-inch strips instead of the 3-1/2-inch squares called for in the pattern.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

So, I sewed strips in this order.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

Sewing the strips was fast.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

I pressed the seams all in the same direction. Since I’ll be reversing the orientation of the cross cut strips, this will nest the seams.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

Each strip was cross cut into eight 2-1/2-inch wide sections.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

Then the blocks were laid out, ensuring that the seams would nest.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

In nothing flat I had four blocks.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

Then a topper, orienting each block to create the square in the center.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

I added a border of violet fabric.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home<

Loading it on the longarm was quick as it was a small project.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

I used a leaf pantograph, it is one of my favorites and goes with just about every design. This time I used a variegated green thread.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

Using Warm and Natural batting, with Bottom Line in the bobbin, the quilting is done.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

Once again, I bound it in matching fabric to the border. I find I am doing more of this rather than a contrasting binding.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

All done, and placed on the Battenberg runner on my luncheon table.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

Quick and easy, it went together in an afternoon, and I finished the binding in one evening.

Violets Table Topper at From My Carolina Home

If you are visiting from Hometalk, a linky party or Fave Quilts, welcome!  Please stay a bit and look around, I have lots of tutorials and projects.  Click on the Home page to see the latest posts and projects.  I love new followers too!  There are tutorial pages at the top, or you can surf the categories in the sidebar.

Would you make one of these quick toppers?  What colors would you use?


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Springtime Luncheon Tablescape and Menu

Last weekend I had a nice ladies luncheon, just some time with friends to chat and have fun, away from the meetings where we usually see each other.  It is always fun to do this sort of thing, time to relax and enjoy the friendships. I wanted to have this on the veranda, but the weather didn’t cooperate, raining for a few days including that Saturday. So, lunch was moved to the dining table.  I was inspired by violets this time.  I have a lovely collection of small china pieces with violets, that I wanted to use on the table.

Ladies Luncheon Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

So, that called for purple on the table.  I didn’t have anything I wanted to use, so I whipped up a quick table topper with violet fabric.  I’ll show you that in detail HERE.  I put it on top of a Battenburg runner.

Ladies Luncheon Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

Adding the Mason Jar candles, I changed out the flowers inside to purple and yellow.

Ladies Luncheon Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

I wanted the table to be feminine, so I used my mother’s embroidered placemats.  These are so pretty that it is almost a shame to cover them up with dishes, LOL!

Ladies Luncheon Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

But I did, with my bright gold chargers.

Ladies Luncheon Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

I added my white stoneware plates, and topped those with the pretty yellow salad plates. I added some white napkins with delicate embroidered flowers, tied them with lavendar ribbon.

Ladies Luncheon Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

So, starting to look pretty good.

Ladies Luncheon Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

We might want coffee with the dessert, so the china coffee cups I rarely get to use went on next. Ever heard the saying “in for a penny in for a pound”?  I figured, if I am using the china cups, let’s go all out and use the china plates too.  So I swapped the stoneware plates out for my white on white china plates. After all, my friends are worth the extra elegance.

Ladies Luncheon Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

I added the salt and pepper shakers to each setting.

Ladies Luncheon Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

At each end of the table, I put one of my sets of lead crystal cream and sugar sets.  I have several, and cannot bear to give any of them away.

Ladies Luncheon Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

Ladies Luncheon Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

In the center, on the table topper, I placed a lavendar color basket.  I wish my violets would bloom, but in lieu of those, I used two small pots of begonias in white.

Ladies Luncheon Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

Some cut glass water glasses went on the table too, but I only have four of these.  So, the end settings got cut glass stems.

Ladies Luncheon Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

The finished table was light and springtime fresh.

Ladies Luncheon Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

I made some place cards too, continuing the violet theme.  These were simple purple cards folded in half, with the violet stamped on white stock and punched out.  Each lady had her name on one. I’ll show you those in more detail in another post.

Luncheon Placecards at From My Carolina Home

For the menu, I started with an appetizer course, then the main course followed by dessert and coffee.

Appetizer Course – Ham Roll Ups , Spinach Salad with Cranberry Viniagrette, Tomato and Carrot Crudites with a glass of wine.

Main Course – Mushroom and Onion Quiche (except that I used a prepared crust this time), Goat Cheese Crescent Pinwheels, more crudites and more wine

Dessert – Chocolate Covered Oreos, Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes, Coffee

Ladies Luncheon Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

We had a great time, and I look forward to doing another luncheon soon.  We were having so much fun and great conversation, that they all stayed most of the afternoon.  We ate at a leisurely pace, and had lots of time between courses for chatting.

Do you get together for luncheons with friends?

 

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Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes

There are times to make something wonderful from scratch, and there are times that a few shortcuts yield just as yummy results.  Recently I had a lovely luncheon with a few friends and I wanted to make something dainty and sweet.  But, with all the things I wanted to do, I needed a shortcut for this idea.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Gathering a few ingredients, I decided to do some tea cakes. I thought I was making petit fours, but they turned out too tall for that.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

I began by splitting the pound cake in half horizontally.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

It didn’t turn out exactly even, but that didn’t matter.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Place blueberry jam on one side.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Put the top back on.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Cut into three long strips.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Cut strips into individual pieces.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

These turned out a bit too tall, but it was too late at this point, LOL!

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Mix up the glaze. It should flow nicely but not be too thin.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Place the tea cakes on a rack over a sheet of wax paper.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Put a dollop of glaze on each one, directing the glaze to drip down all four sides.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Use all the glaze in the cup.  Let them sit and drip for about 5 minutes.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Move the rack of tea cakes to a second sheet of wax paper. Scrape up the overflow from the first sheet, drizzling the glaze over the tea cakes in a second layer. Make sure to catch the spots that didn’t get glazed in the first round.  Let them sit for a few minutes.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Move the rack back to the first sheet of wax paper and repeat the process until all the glaze is on the tea cakes, and very little is left on the wax paper sheets.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Another shortcut, I used a flower tip on a purchased tube of frosting.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

I piped a flower on the top of each tea cake.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Next time I think I will slice the pound cake into 3/4″ slices instead of just once horizontally.  But let me tell you, these were absolutely yummy!

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

 

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes

1 frozen all butter pound cake 10.75 ounces
1/4 cup blueberry jam
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Optional – frosting for flower decoration

Slice pound cake into two layers horizontally. (Or, cut into 3/4-inch thick slices.)  Spread blueberry jam on one half, and reassemble.  Cut into three logs, then cross cut into six tea cakes. (Or, if using the slices, cut each into six petit fours.)  Arrange cakes on a wire rack over a piece of wax paper.  Combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla, mix well until smooth.  Drizzle the glaze over the tea cakes, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides.  Move the rack to over a second piece of wax paper, scrape up the overflow from the first piece of wax paper, and drizzle over the cakes.  Repeat until no glaze remains to scrape up. Allow to dry about 2 hours to harden the glaze.  Decorate with frosting flowers and gel centers if desired.  Makes 18 tea cakes, or a few more if doing petit four size.

Vanilla Blueberry Tea Cakes ~ From My Carolina Home

Enjoy the accolades, your guests will eat these up!!

Have you ever made tea cakes or petit fours?


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January Garden 2016

There are only a few things to do in the garden this month. I did want to get some peat pots to go inside my clam shell boxes. I used these last year, but the transplant shock was too much. So, I found some little peat pots to go inside. I’ll plant some seeds in those, and let them get much bigger before I try to put them in the garden outside. The Farmer’s Almanac says the 17th and 18th are good days for planting above-ground crops.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

The amaryllis is coming up again for the third year! The bulb is becoming exposed so I need to fix that. I took it outside with the peat pots to the potting bench.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

A little potting soil and it is now protected.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

The violets were in need of attention as well.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

The stem will put out roots if it is covered. I have let these go a bit too long. The exposed part is where leaves have come off.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

There was room in the pot to simply add some dirt and press the stem down a bit to stabilize the plant.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

I did the same with the other one.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

I bought 2 packs of 12 little peat pots, and 8 will fill a clam shell plastic container. With the lids on, they will become little greenhouses.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

The potting mix is outside on the potting bench, so I filled the peat pots up and arranged them in the containers so I could take them inside. The soil can get warmer in the house for the seeds.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

The seeds are out at the hardware store, so I am all set for planting this weekend.

Seeds

Just a few little chores for now. Now, back to looking at gardening books and planning for this year’s flowers.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

Are you doing any gardening chores, or garden planning now?