Monday, June 13, 2016

That Kitchen Sink Still in Progress

In order not to bore you to death with never ending pictures of my fabulous vacation I'm posting my progress on the Kitchen Sink quilt. I am managing to do some sewing as well as gardening and dreaded house work in between culling European photos.
I found this rust yardage in my stash for the setting triangles and the pattern called for cutting those out in advance of piecing the rows together, sort of cutting on faith in my book since I usually measure the blocks and cut the setting triangles based on that measurement. No finished block size given here though.

This quilt is put together differently than any other I've ever worked on and my feeble brain has had a hard time figuring it out. I absolutely never would have been able to master it without my design wall. Instead of sewing the units into blocks and the blocks into rows the quilt is pieced singly unit by unit. I know, why you ask? I tried to figure out if I could sew blocks in defiance of the directions and I just confused myself more because there is only a diagram to go by so it was necessary for me to lay the whole thing out on the design wall and sew each piece together very carefully.
I'm trying to show you in these pictures that these are not blocks on the wall but single units being pieced one at a time into rows. The advantage to this method is being able to get the color placement just right. The disadvantage is that it's slow work and lord help me if the units fall off the wall!
The top half is all joined together and working on the bottom rows.
After two intense days of piecing I'm ready to join the top and bottom halves together. I made those setting triangles bigger than the pattern suggested just to give myself some fudge factor. I'd rather have room to trim than come up short on that outside edge.
Made it! It all went together just as it should with a lot of re-checking as I went along. Back to the stash to find fabric for the borders. What do you think of these?
Linking to Design Wall Monday - go see Patchwork Times.

Until next time,

Monday, June 6, 2016

Our Day in Bergamo

With Cernobbio as our base we set off on a day trip to the Town of Bergamo in the Lombardy region. Billed as one of the best preserved examples of a Renaissance walled city in Northern Italy it did not disappoint.
Photo credit Google Images
Our local guide Beranice was born in the city and led us through a maze of cobblestoned streets to the tallest point on the wall. You can see it there on the right of the photo - the bell tower. In medieval times sentries were always posted on the tower to warn of impending danger and ring the bells to call to arms. We took time on our own to explore the old city.
The base of the tower has a commanding view of the valley below.
As we climbed we had a wonderful vista over the city itself.
The central square nearly deserted on this chilly day in late April. See that clock tower? More climbing and more spectacular views.
The grand Cathedral and Colleoni Chapel
You see why the original builders chose this site for their walled city. High on the hill there is a 360 degree view.
Back down to earth and visit to the wonderful, ornate Cathedral or I should say Cathedrals since there seemed to be two amazing churches built side by side and added to over the centuries.
Winding our way to the entrance we would never guess the splendor inside. 

Stone lions marked the way. 
Gold leaf everywhere and of course I can see a quilt pattern in the floor can you?
Back outside in the town square Paolo and Beranice greeted us with a special treat. Polenta e Osei.
A bird’s nest cake made of a soft sponge cake filled with hazelnut cream that is rolled in a yellow fondant and topped with baby birds made from chocolate marzipan. A delicacy that can be found nowhere else it is Bergamo's signature dessert.
Until next time,

Thursday, June 2, 2016

June One Monthly Goal

All this talk about vacations and beautiful landscapes has distracted me just a little from my quilting but I do have projects on the go and I still want to stick to my goal this year of clearing out those longstanding UFOs. With that in mind I'm determined to turn my Kitchen Sink blocks into a flimsy by the end of June. I'm making this my OMG (One Monthly Goal).  I first introduced this project in this post.

Before we left for our trip I had gotten as far as arranging units on the wall for sewing.
I rummaged around in the yardage bin and found the perfect fabric for the setting triangles.
So now I have everything I need to put these blocks together. Linking up to OMG at Red Letter Quilts to keep myself on track.
Don't forget to check in with Design Wall Monday.

Until next time,

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Of Course There Were Churches

A lot of churches. Beautiful and ornate. Our first marvelous ancient church was here in Como. As a Catholic school girl it felt a lot like coming home.
Take a look at the table set up in the square in front of the cathedral. A feast day celebration in progress.
*Here's what our friend Wikipedia has to say: Como Cathedral
It was built in 1396 which by my count makes it 700 hundred years old - an amazing testament to devotion.
photo credit - Stefano Stabile
I'm always on the look out for textiles and this tapestry was magnificent! The work of anonymous women from centuries ago.
After our visit to the cathedral we were treated to a rare back stage tour of the pride of Como - the La Scala Picolina or Little La Scala. A replica of the magnificent la Scala in Milan on a smaller scale but no less opulent.
Opera is queen in Italy and some musicians were rehearsing as we toured. Amazing!
After that it was exploring on our own. Let's face it we looked like tourists but what do we care?
The weather was perfect, just a little chilly, no crowds because the season had just begun and the setting was beautiful. 
Next stop the renaissance town of Bergamo.

Until next time,

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,