Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Slow Cooked Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Casserole

We love our casseroles here at Crystalbrook Cottage!

This recipe is another of our family favourites.  It's so easy and cooks itself in the slow cooker during the day whilst I'm doing other things.  When dinner time comes you just need to cook some rice (I get the rice cooker out for that lol) and serve.

This recipe makes enough for two nights dinner, and at a guess, I would estimate it would serve 12 modest portions when served with rice.

Slow Cooked Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Casserole


1.5kg skinless chicken breast fillets, trimmed and cut in half
3 medium carrots, sliced
3 medium potatoes, diced into 1cm cubes
2 x 420g cans Campbells Cream of Mushroom Condensed Soup
2 x 420g cans Campbells Cream of Chicken Condensed Soup
200g sliced mushrooms


Place the carrots and potatoes in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Place the chicken fillets (raw) on top of the vegetables.  Pour over the tins of soup and completely cover the chicken.  This may seem like a lot of soup but this is what makes the beautiful creamy sauce and you want a lot for your rice to soak up.

Place on Auto for 6 hours.  If your slow cooker doesn't have an auto setting, high for 4 hours or low for 6 - 8 hours.

An hour before the casserole is ready, stir through the mushrooms and continue cooking.

Prior to serving, take out the chicken pieces.  They should be cooked through and break apart easily.  Shred the chicken and return to the pot and stir.  Once your rice is ready, the casserole is ready to serve.  Here I've served mine with savoury brown rice.

Just perfect for these cold winter nights we are having in Melbourne... brrrr!

Until next time

Yours in Stitches

Leanne x

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Little Bucket O Pins Tutorial!

You will need:

1 mini tin bucket (mine came in a pack of 3 from the cheap shop.  It measures 5cm in height and 6 cm across the top)
Piece of patchwork fabric approx 25cm square
Needle and strong thread
A large handful of Polyfill stuffing
10cm Ribbon
15cm Ric Rac/trim
Hot glue gun


On the reverse side of the patchwork fabric, draw a circle approx 18.5cm in diameter with a marker (I used a small cake plate to trace around).

Cut the fabric along the line.

Thread your needle with a long double thread and knot the end.

With the wrong side facing, fold the edge towards you and stitch a running stitch around, leaving the thread tail hanging.

Work your way around until you come back to the beginning (just like making a large yo-yo).

Gather the threads by pulling one end to create a ball.

Stuff until firm.

Knot the threads to secure, and trim excess thread.

With the hot glue gun, apply some glue to the bottom and inside of the bucket, keeping away from the rim.

Place the stuffed fabric ball inside with the gathered end in first.  This is the pincushion made, now for the decorating.

Apply a small dots of hot glue to the bottom edge of the outside of the bucket, affix trim.

Tie on the ribbon to the handle and trim ends.

Place some pins in the top and... ta da! Easy peasy!

You can also try using this method to make pincushions out of old china teacups, little ramekins, eggcups, silicone patty cases or even recycle an old tuna tin!  The possibilities are endless!  I'd love to see what you come up with :)

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

A new look and exciting news...

I am absolutely loving our 'new look'! Thanks to Naomi of Nomie Boutique Stationary we have a new logo - what do you think?  Its all part of taking this little business to the next level.  Soon I will be opening an Etsy shop, selling some of my patterns - I am so excited about that, although its very daunting and there is so much to learn.

I haven't been able to post as much as I would have liked.  I have been incredibly busy with a couple of new projects in amongst looking after the family and studying.

These projects I really would love to share with you but both (yes both!) have been accepted into one of Australia's leading craft magazines and scheduled to appear this time next year (its a long wait!).  Magazines plan their future issues a long way in advance so I have some time up my sleeve before the actual pattern has to be submitted.  I am thrilled that they are so interested in my work and there is even talk of my designer profile being published.  You could not wipe the smile off my face the day I found out.  It will be great advertising for me and the shop, which should be well and truly up and running by then.

I also bought myself a present: a light pad, which I have wanted for so long, is fabulous for tracing designs onto fabric!  Its been invaluable these last few days.

A special thank you to the Daylight Man for their expert service and prompt delivery.  I'll definitely be ordering from them again (I have my sights set on a floor lamp).  If you'd like to order your own Lightpad they come in A4 and A3 sizes and are they cheapest supplier I have found, with free delivery Australia wide for orders over $50.

The weather here in Melbourne has been icy cold - its definitely winter!  Jack Frost has come to visit on quite a few mornings

and we've even had some hail

and quite severe storms.  I am thankful I don't live in some of the colder areas of the state - they've had snow!  Of course, this makes us appreciate the sunshine that does appear occasionally, that little bit more.  I am so grateful I have a warm house to live in, a roof over my head, a warm bed and my stitching to keep me company whilst I sit on the couch.  On the plus side, there are a few things in bloom in my garden.

One of my WIP's, my Grandmas garden hexie quilt, has been making some progress.

The paper piecing is now complete and I'm moving onto the borders.  This project has been on the go for about three years so its great to see it finally approaching completion.  I am so happy with it.  It was one of those projects that just evolved as it went along, with no real plan.  As a result, there is a slight difference between the white fabrics (more had to be purchased halfway through) but I think it will be less noticeable once its quilted.  I have consoled myself with the rational that many quilts of yesteryear were less than perfect as their makers used what they had and often had to compromise.  Its quite long because I've decided its going to double as a tablecloth.  I think it will be lovely to decorate the dinner table when guests come over (under a plastic cover of course!).  I'm linking this post to the Freshly Pieced blog for WIP Wednesday, Lets Bee Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts, and Heather and Megan at Quilt Story!

I have been making some more of those cute little needle books for my local quilters guild as they will be having a quilt show in September this year.  Many in the group are making things to sell at the stall.

I've also been racking my brain trying to come up with some little sewing projects for my daughters school.  As I mentioned previously, I will be teaching some 10 year olds to sew.  Finding small, interesting but uncomplicated projects is not as easy as I had imagined.

My little bucket pincushion tutorial will be up soon... promise!

Until next time,

Yours in Stitches,

Leanne x