2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Shipshewana Fall Retreat 2018

Remember how I took 10 girls to Savannah on Fall Break and drove 15 hours home in one day? Well, the next day I went in for an awesome massage (treated myself to 90 minutes) and bonded with the kids for a bit, then packed up the car and headed another 3 hours north to make it to my quilt retreat. I'd originally planned not to attend, but due to a last minute cancellation of one of our group, I wound up with a spot. It was only due to that excellent massage that I was willing to get back into a car. Good news is that I had plenty of podcasts queued up to listen to and the ride went quite quickly. 

I took a handful of projects with me (more than I could finish as usual), but my primary goal was getting a long-standing UFO done. I started this Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt in 2012 and did a good job of keeping up for the first few weeks, but then took a while to get the top together, then took a while (7 weeks) to quilt it, then decided that I didn't like the quilting and put it in time out for a while. The good news is that, after several years in time out, I didn't really remember the parts of the quilting that I didn't like originally! I set to work tying off all my thread stops, quilting in some straight lines in the border, and attaching the binding by machine. After almost a full day, I finally got this quilt done! I am really happy with it and so glad to have it off the UFO list. 

Easy Street Finished! 2012-2018

Easy Street Closeup
After the big finish, I went on to some smaller projects. First up is stockings for soldiers. Our friend Betty brought the template and we made over 30 stockings as a group. I was very happy to bring some of my old Christmas fabric to donate to this cause and they were fun and easy to make. 
The next projects was a group one - almost all of us bought kits to make these cute cork-bottomed zipper bags. We had a good time making them together - I think mine will turn into a Christmas gift.  Behind the bag you can see the blocks from the new quilt that I worked on. I started these blocks at the May retreat and didn't pull them out at all between then and fall, so I got the blocks all finished and also started the sashing. I have two more sides of sashing to put on them, and then will put them all together.  At the rate I am going, that may be next spring's retreat! 

My last project is a kit I've had for a while - my mom gave it to me - not sure if she bought it and then decided she didn't want it or if it was a gift from her, but this felt pillow was fun to make and I look forward to putting it out with my other patriotic decorations from Memorial Day to Labor Day. 

Last up is a picture of our group - there were only 10 of us this time - we originally started with 4 nine years ago, and we've grown as big as 18. We missed some of our regulars, but our group had a good time together! It is always nice to have some dedicated time to sew, gab, and just have fun with your girlfriends and I am grateful for the chance to do it every year! 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Fall Break in Savannah

A few weeks ago, I had the great pleasure to load up a van of 10 8th grade girls and one other parent and we headed south to take the trip our Girl Scout troop has planned for the last two years.  The girls decided on a camping trip early in their 6th grade year that they wanted to do a troop trip, so we set a goal, started planning, learned from another troop, and then sold cookies like crazy.  It all came together and happened so quickly, but we had such a great time.

I am a lifetime Girl Scout and never had been to Savannah to see the sights where Girl Scouts began. I found this trip quite emotional to learn about our founder, see the city in which she lived, and experience it all with my daughter.  I told parents and the girls that I wouldn't share their pictures without their permission, so here you'll see pictures of the sights with a few of my daughter and me mixed in.

We started with a lovely carriage ride around the city - it is a lovely, preserved old town with lots of old buildings, historic homes, and beautiful little parks/squares all over. We learned a little about the history of the city, from the dark days as a major location for slave arrivals and sales, to the importance of cotton to the city and its role in the Civil War. It was a great intro to the city.
I think this is the Andrew Low home, but it may be another historic home. 

Wright Square - I think this is the one where Forrest Gump's "Life is like a box of chocolates" scene was filmed.
Early evening view of Juliette Gordon Low birthplace

Our first full day in the city started with a tour of the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace. It was a fascinating look at her background and family. I did not know that she was in an unhappy marriage and close to requesting a divorce when her husband died early in life (he was in his 40's). After that, she decided to spend time in England with Lord and Lady Baden Powell, where she learned of scouting. She brought it back to the US and recruited the first scouts from the wealthy families which whom she interacted. She came from a wealthy family and married into another, so she was in a quite elite crowd in Savannah. I did find a sewing machine in her house! Always fun to spy sewing/quilting items when touring homes.

This library has a wall of books by women or about women - so cool! 
After the tour of the birthplace, we headed out to Tybee Island, where we visited the Marine Science Center. We had a tour where we learned about the flora and fauna that live in the area, and then went out to the water to do some seining (looking for critters in the sand with a sifter). The girls loved playing in the water and exploring the beach and they wished we had more time there.

Following the beach, we went to the other end of the island to explore the Lighthouse and its grounds. We learned a lot about where to build a lighthouse so it doesn't fall into the ocean and we were surprised to learn about how many different ways it had been painted over the years. It was windy at the top, but a great view of the area. We also enjoyed a short video in one of the buildings about what life was like at the lighthouse. The historical society has done a really nice job of restoring the lighthouse keeper's cottage and maintaining the grounds.
View from the top of the lighthouse

I spy a quilt in the lighthouse keeper's home! 
On our second full day in Savannah, we started again out at Tybee Island and went on a dolphin cruise. We came under the bridge to the island and were in an area full of dolphins. It was amazing to see so many of them (and some little ones) all around us. They played in the water and we even saw a few jumps. I didn't get any pictures of the dolphins as I spent the whole time just taking it in.

That afternoon, we toured the Andrew Low home (Juliette's grandfather) and learned about how the family came to be so wealthy. The home was beautifully decorated and it was an interesting tour. We also visited the carriage house behind the home, the first Girl Scout Headquarters.
Plaque commemorating the first meeting place

There are mirrors on both walls, and we were trying to get an infinity picture...didn't quite work! 
In between all the tours and activities, we had great meals, shopped all around the city (and really enjoyed the candy kitchens), and enjoyed time together in the hotel - the girls really loved their social time.

On the final morning, we packed up and headed out of town for the long drive home. The trip went so quickly after planning for two years, but it is one I will cherish for a long time! I think this is a city I will return to. I am sure there is more to explore!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

September 2018 Report

It's hard to believe that we are almost halfway through October! It has been a busy start to the month with two trips that I will tell you more about soon, but first I need to recap my September. It was a good month and I found myself with more time in the sewing room and some good stitching time. 

I started the month with my RSC blocks to get caught up and try to get ahead. I got my red and orange blocks made, pieced the strip sets for the blue blocks, and then laid out all the blocks made so far - aren't they pretty? I am really looking forward to putting this one together next year when I have all the blocks made. 
RSC blocks for July, August, and strip sets for September
Before I could get the blue blocks made, I had to cut out some more white-on-white, so I got that done one evening, along with catching up on cutting the smaller pieces for the cornerstones. Now I am all set to finish up the blue blocks (it didn't happen in September) and pull the fabric to start on those for October. 

RSC blocks made for January - August

Once I had RSC under control, I got going on some quilting for friends. I started on my friend Kathy's quilt and was having some problems with my machine. After messing with it for quite a while, I wound up with a hopping foot that wasn't hopping, so I had to pack up my machine and send it to the technician. It spent almost two weeks there, got a good cleaning, he quickly identified the issue (a missing screw that has yet to show up!), and now it hums so nicely! I finished up Kathy's quilt with an improvised meander - a little bit of everything - that I think works well with this busy fabric. 
The back of Kathy's quilt so you can see some of the quilting!
The front of Kathy's quilt
I then moved on to Karen's french braid quilt. It is the same top as one I made a few years ago, because the first year we went to our Shipshewana retreat, we all bought the kit! Karen finished the project in May and gave it to me to quilt and bring back in October, so I got it loaded and quilted with chrysanthemums. I just gave it to her this weekend and she loved it. (Picture to come as I forgot to take one!)

The last quilting project for the month was a UFO finish. I started this in a machine quilting class in 2008, and was a little intimidated to finish it, so it got set aside while I worked on other projects. Since then, I've quilted around 150 quilts (mine and others) and now I have a little more confidence. It is small - about 18"x18" - and was partially done. I got my quilting gloves on and finished it up on my Janome 6600. I finished the binding right after the quilting and am so happy to have this old one done! I am working my way towards getting closer to having 12 or fewer UFOs by the end of the year.
Calla Lilly all done!

In addition to my quilting, I had a couple good finishes from my cross-stitch.  The first is a project I started just before Stitch Maynia, so I didn't touch it much while I was plowing through all those projects, but I worked on it quite a bit at my August stitching retreat and I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I got it finished! I think this is a really cute one and I plan to pick up the Mill Hill frame for this too. It is Polar Surprise by Mill Hill on light blue Aida (and it reminded me that I don't really love stitching on Aida!). 

My second finish is a Stitch Maynia start - Simply Christmas by Something in Common. I bought this cute little pattern about 11 years ago when on a trip with my mom and our bee. We stopped at an amazing cross-stitch and quilting shop in Ohio, which is sadly no longer there. I used beads that my mom and I had on hand, and stitched it on a piece of mystery linen. I don't know yet if I will frame this one or make it into an ornament, but I really do like it and it just sparkles with the beads. 

There was one bit of sad news in September. Our dog of almost 14 years passed away. She went downhill quickly in early September and we tried a few medicines to help her, but they didn't help for long.  It was a hard decision to let her go, but it was the right one, as she was having trouble standing and sleeping. Our house is a little more quiet these days and we all miss her. 

Well, to wrap things up, I'll share the stats for the month: 

Stash Report - 
Fabric added this month: 3 1/2 yards (birthday fabric from my mom and two panels with coordinating fabrics for Christmas gifts)
Fabric used this month: 1/2 yard (for the RSC blocks and the Calla Lily binding)

Fabric added year to date: 23 1/2 yards
Fabric used year to date: 36 yards

Net fabric used: 12 1/2 yards

Quilting Time Report - 
12 days this month with at least 15 minutes of quilting time
3 of 4 weeks with at least three days of quilting time
11 1/4 hours of quilting time in the month (the most since May)

Hope you had a good September - I'll be back soon to share a little about my trips so far this month! 

Linking up with Stash Report Sunday and Life in Pieces

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Late Spring and Summer Recipes

As I sit enjoying the first day of fall (the temperature dropped 30 degrees overnight!!), I thought it was high time I shared some of the new recipes we tried over the late spring and summer. 

First up - another winner from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, scalloped macaroni and ham. We had leftover ham for this one and it was yummy. Panko breadcrumbs on the top made it extra crunchy. We will revisit this one for sure! 

For this one, you get the plate picture first, then the fun picture! It is the Chicken Enchilada Bake from Fix-It and Enjoy-It, and other reason we love this cookbook! I am not sure why we hadn't tried this one yet, because it was awesome! 
 And here's the growing boy about to devour his! 

The next recipe, Meatball Sub Casserole, is also from Fix-It and Enjoy-It and it actually wasn't a hit...probably the first one from this cookbook that we didn't really enjoy. It has a base layer of bread, then you layer on sauce, meatballs, and cheese - cream cheese and mozzarella. It was okay, but no one was clamoring for the leftovers. Too much cream cheese maybe, or the bread layer, not sure what it was, but we've had lots of other meat/sauce dishes we like a lot better.  
 The third recipe from Fix-It and Enjoy-It is Sausage Tortellini Soup. Jenna is not a fan of tortellini and she didn't disappoint. She took about two bites and then headed to the fridge to find some leftovers :)  The rest of us really liked it, so this will have to go into the file for "make when Jenna is at camp or a friend's house!"
 Ok, I didn't realize when i started to pull these recipes together that so many were from Fix-It and Enjoy-It, but this one is too! It is BBQ Marinated Chicken that Mike grilled for us. It was really, really good and the parts that charred on the grill (you can see the dark edges) were so savory. This will go into the summer grill rotation for sure! I enjoyed taking all the leftovers to eat for lunch!
 The next one is a recipe from All Recipes - Mike found it and made it himself because he loves Fettucini Carbonara, and this one didn't disappoint. We all enjoyed it - it will be returning soon! 
 Next up, my teenage baker was at it again! I wound up with a ton of blueberries and layed out 4 recipes for her to choose from. She picked Blueberry Boy Bait, shared with us by our friend Sara. It's also available on the internet and I recommend you make time to make it now! It's the best, and that lemon glaze on the top is just yum! 
 The hits continue with Sesame Shrimp with Ginger Broccoli, a Cooking Light recipes. Short aside - did you hear last week that Cooking Light is getting folded into another magazine next year? I am so sad! We've found so many good recipes in that magazine. Ok, back to our dinner. The shrimp was great, and I could have eaten twice as much as I did! The broccoli would be okay...but I think I'd be just as happy to have regular broccoli with some seasoning. 
 In the "easy weeknight meals" category, we tried Chicken and Black Bean Tostadas from Mr. Food. I'd had tostadas at restaurants, but had never bought them for home. They turned out great and we all enjoyed them.  The things on the top that look like marshmallows in the picture are actually green onions! 
 Getting close to the end now - these last two recipes were from this past week. We tried the Frittata from Better Homes and Gardens and Mike added ham, cheese, and sauteed onions. It was delicious and also another quick, easy dinner for a busy night (we've had lots of those lately). 
 Last up, another recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, One Pot Spaghetti. You brown the meat, add everything to it, and cook it all in the same bowl. I wasn't sure how it would work, but it turned out pretty well. The only thing I didn't like as much is that there really wasn't any sauce, as it all got absorbed into the pasta and other ingredients. I think we'd be just as good to make up some good sauce, then add it to pasta as normal, but this was a good one to try. 
Whew, that was a lot of recipes - more than I thought I had! As you can still, we're still testing and trying and still finding some new gems and some good go-tos. Hope you've seen something you'd like to try! 

Monday, September 3, 2018

August 2018

It was a really interesting August here in central Indiana. The weather was cooler than normal, which was a real benefit. We really enjoyed having windows open in the middle of the month! 

We started the month fully back into the school swing of things and had to figure out how to adjust back to the school nights, homework, and defined bedtimes. Our son also joined the middle school tennis team, so we've been figuring out how to get in practice and homework. He's had two matches now - won one, lost one - and is learning how to play a little better each week. It is fun watching him learn and grow. 
Jack in the front
We also spend a Saturday at our Indiana State Fair, an event we've enjoyed almost every year. We have our usual stops for specific foods, but the kids love standing/sitting in the huge tractor tires each year. One of these days, I'll need to pull out the pictures over the years - I have a feeling these tire tractors are getting smaller all the time! 

On to the crafty activities. The middle of the month found me flat out with kids, work, and extracurricular activities, so I was really happy when August 17th came and it was the day for the Indy Summer Stitchers retreat. My mom and I decided earlier this year to try our hand at hosting a retreat, and we wound up with 30 stitchers who convened upon Whitestown, Indiana for a weekend. We had stitchers from 6 or 7 states and a good time was had by all. Having never done a stitching retreat, I didn't know quite how it would go, but it is just like a quilting retreat - bring too many projects, don't get nearly enough done, stay up too late, and have a great time! We already have the contract set for next year, and as of this week are already full! We decided not to increase the size, but we will take a wait list as we know sometimes things change over the course of a year. 
The 2018 Indy Summer Stitchers

So, with all that stitching time, I did get two projects finished and one fully finished. We did a fall small exchange, and I made the little green one in the middle/right on green fabric that says Fall and has acorns and a pumpkin on it. 
All the amazing fall smalls from our retreat! 

I got this beautiful basket with a sunflower and it also had some needles and tiny scissors inside. I've also hidden some leftover chocolate inside and so far the kids haven't found it! 
My "win" from the Fall Small exchange
I also finished one other project - actually at the retreat - my second chalk of the month piece. I am not going to do all 12 months, but picked out the ones I really liked, and this was one of them. I was able to buy the backing board at a semi-local needlework shop, so I will need to get going so that I can finish this one! 

I also FFO'ed my Liberty piece that I stitched last year. You can see it here with my other show and tell items from the retreat. I worked on another pillow too, but it isn't quite done yet, so you should see a picture of that one in the September wrap up! 
Some of my show and tell, with the newly finished Liberty pillow.

On the quilting front, I found 6 days with time for sewing, for a total of 6 1/4 hours. I spent some of that time on finishing the pillows, quilted another maple leaf table runner for my friend Kathy, and got my red and orange strips for my rainbow scrap challenge blocks done. 
Red strips (from July)
Orange strips (for August)
As the month neared its end, I moved along two other projects - the first is a french braid quilt that was all kitted up but not started by my friend Lois when she left me her stash.  Jenna loved it and claimed it, so she picked out the thread color for the quilting (pink), the quilting style (large swirls), and the binding (also pink).  I finished it up right as she came down to say goodnight, so she grabbed it and was off to bed with it the night I finished it! Hooray for another UFO done! 

I also loaded another quilt on the frame, this one also for my friend Kathy. I quilted part of the first pass, and then the week got busy.  My goal for today is to get some time down in the basement to get this one done or well on its way. 

In the stash report department, I had a good month - fabric out for the Liberty pillow and a hunk of fabric to my mom to make pet beds for the local humane society. 
Fabric added this month: 0 yards
Fabric used this month: 2 1/2 yards

Fabric added year to date: 20 yards
Fabric used year to date: 35 1/2 yards

Net fabric used: 15 1/2 yards 

I just realized that I forgot to include my birthday gifts and fabric - I'll put them into the September report! I celebrated my birthday mid-month and enjoyed an evening with family, with one of my favorite dinners (Chicken Bruschetta Bake) and desserts (key lime pie!). 

Hope your August went well - see you again soon!