Saturday, May 28, 2016

You May Have Been Wondering...

Where the heck have I been? Things have been pretty quiet here on Dogwood Lane but I have a spectacular excuse for not communicating with you. Romantic Villages of Alpine Europe! Starting with:
I've kept our plans about this trip to myself for more than a year and now I can tell you all about it. Chris and I have never been to Europe so this was a BIG deal for us and we had the best time traveling through five European Alpine countries in 20 days. Don't worry I won't give you a day by day description but I am going to share some of the highlights. I want to preserve the memories for myself and let you see a little travelogue as well.
The first four days of our trip we stayed here in Cernobbio, Italy on the shores of Lake Como.
A charming old world hotel with all the modern touches and wonderful lake views. I was instantly drawn into the setting right outside our hotel front door.

Strolling along the waterfront it was just as I had imagined it. The adventure was just beginning as we boarded a water taxi for a ride down the lake to the town of Como itself. These water taxis run all day criss crossing the lake and drop you off to which ever village you wish.
On the way to Como I waved to George and Amal for you when we passed their gorgeous villa.
This massive stainless steel sculpture greets visitors in the harbor as you arrive at Como. Quite a contrast to the old world vibe of the town.
Como definitely caters to an upscale clientele and it was fun to see how the other half lives. Very stylish.
A quitlter can find hand work anywhere. Isn't this coat great?
A hidden courtyard
A peek down a side street
There's plenty more to see and I'll be telling you all about it. I hope you'll forgive me for not answering your comments over the past month. As you can tell I've been a little out of touch!

Until next time,

Monday, May 9, 2016

Crockpot Ranch Chicken

It's been a while since I've shared any recipes with you. It's not that I haven't been cooking 'cuz I fix a sit down dinner for the two of us every single day unless we're going to be 'off the hill'. The kind of meals I like to cook these days involve left overs. In my opinion left overs are the best thing ever - a two for one deal. Cook once and eat twice. What could be wrong with that?
With that idea in mind here's my version of a recipe I saw on Pinterest and had to try. The next best thing to left overs is a crock pot or pressure cooker recipe. Save time and have a second meal, win/win!

Crockpot Ranch Chicken
Cook time: 4 to 6 hours

Serves: 4-6
Chicken tenders or breasts (I used 1 LB chicken tenders)
1 Ranch Seasoning Dry Mix Packet
1 can Cream of Chicken or Cream of Mushroom Soup (plus 1 can of  milk)
1 clove garlic minced or ½ tsp garlic powder
1 medium onion chopped
4 medium potatoes cut into bite pieces ( I used red potatoes)
4 medium carrots cut into bite sized pieces
2 tbsp sour cream
  1. Spray crock with nonstick spray for easy clean up
  2. Combine Ranch Seasoning, soup, milk and garlic and mix well.
  3. Combine potatoes, carrots and chicken in crock and coat with soup mixture stirring well.
  4. Cook on low 4-6 hours.
  5. Before serving stir in sour cream and check for seasoning

Mix everything in your slow cooker and forget it.
This would be great served over rice or noodles too.

Until next time,

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Used Needles

 I have a quick tip for you about safely getting rid of your used sewing needles. You do change out your sewing machine needles after every eight hours or so of sewing don't you? I know people who change those needles every time they load a new bobbin! I'm not that fanatical but I do know that a sharp needle makes a world of difference when I'm piecing and it's absolutely essential to machine embroidery. In fact after proper stabilizing I would say a dull needle causes the most problems in machine embroidery.
If you change your needle as much as you should what are going to do with all those dull needles? PLEASE, don't just throw them in the trash! They are a hazard to yourself and everyone else so some form of containment is a great idea.
I use an old medicine container with a child proof lid. I poke a hole in the top and whenever I change a  needle I can just drop the used needle in. Once the medicine bottle is full I just throw it away and start a new one.
You may be able to see a broken needle or two in there as well as some extra small rotary blades.
Bonus point: I use those old, dull needles to display my small projects in the sewing room! They go into the dry wall easily with just a tiny hole.
 Until next time,

Monday, May 2, 2016

Feeling Crafty

Mostly I don't do crafts. I've never made a wreath for the door and if I did I'd probably forget to put it up. I don't change out my decor with the seasons and the only holiday I'm really enthusiastic about is Christmas. You all know I'm a nut about Christmas!  Don't get me wrong I admire all the wonderful creative people who make beautiful things and display them so expertly but the craft gene has passed me by. Still every once in a while I see a crafty project that I think might be useful and I want to give it a try.

Here's my latest foray into the world of crafting - microwave bowl  potholders. They don't look like much do they? But these things are so useful. I watched a couple of YouTube videos and jumped in. What did we all do before we had YouTube to show us the way?

All the videos stressed that this special microwavable batting was essential so I ordered some from Amazon and it was pricey.
After opening the package I realized that all it was was 100% cotton batting with no scrim. That last part is very important to prevent fires in the microwave. 100% cotton with no scrim!
I measured the bowls I normally use to reheat soup and such and cut my fabric accordingly and before you know it I had two microwave bowl potholders.
The neat thing is these are also reversible.
No more burning or spilling trying to get my bowl of soup or stew out of the microwave.

Until next time,