2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Thursday, July 5, 2018

June 2018 recap and Mid-year check-in

Old Glory by Sam Sarah
I started June the way I finished May - with lots of stitching. Having stitched a little almost every day in May, I continued into June and had three nice stitching finishes, so let's start with them. I picked up several pieces that were closed to finished so that I would have some quick satisfaction (and not so many UFOs!). 
Follow Your Heart - love this message, especially with a teenager in the house!
Whipped Spider Web - Noel Heart by Victoria Sampler

Pink Rainbow Scrap Challenge Blocks
On the quilting front, I didn't have tons of time quilting this month, but I did move along a couple projects. I finished up my pink rainbow scrap challenge blocks leftover from May and got started on my June blocks (they aren't yet done, but should be by the end of this weekend). 
Teal Strips for Rainbow Scrap Challenge Blocks
I did a little quilting for a friend of mine - she made two of these table runners and I got the first one done - now to decide how to quilt the second one. I love her text fabrics and the bright Kaffe Fassett maple leaves. 

I then decided it was time to get going on a few UFOs that were really close to being done, so that I'd have at least a little progress to report by mid-year! I finished up my Crayons quilt and also my Carol Doak block-of-the-month. I am so glad to have both of these done! The Crayons quilt will go to a new baby that I know, and the Carol Doak quilt will hang in our house. 
Crayons baby quilt - a finished kit!
Carol Doak 2007-08 Block of the Month

Here's the stash report and stitching time: 
Fabric used this month: 1 yard
Fabric added this month: 0 yards

Fabric used year to date: 28 3/4 yards
Fabric added year to date: 20 yards

Net fabric used: 8 3/4 yards

Sewing days in June: 9
Weeks of sewing at least 3 days: 1/4 - 25% success
Sewing/quilting time: 6 hours

So, now that we've recapped June, I thought it would be good to check in on my goals for the year: 
1) Reduce UFOs - get to 12 or less by year end:  With the two I finished this month, and two added from my retreat, I am still at 17 - better make some more effort to get to my goal in the second half of the year. 
2) Participate in the rainbow scrap challenge - Done - although I am a little behind, I am close and still enjoying the blocks each month. 
3) Do more quilting and crochet - I am doing well with the quilting - my goal of spending 15 minutes 3x a week has given me a reason to head downstairs many nights. I have already quilted 7 projects (my goal for the year is 12), and I have done hardly any crochet. With all the stitching, the crochet has taken a back seat, but I am okay with that. 
4) Lose and keep off 5 pounds - I've been up and down quite a bit with this goal, but made a couple changes the last few months that are helping - I've started taking my lunch a few days each week, and I've made it a priority to get some evening exercise in. As of the end of June, I was down 3 1/2 pounds, so I need to make a little more progress and then really work on maintaining the loss.  

I would say that, at the halfway point, I am pretty pleased - I am going to make a little more concerted effort to work on the UFOs over the next few months, and keep myself going on the evening exercise and, if I can be successful on both of those goals, I will be really pleased. 

Happy 4th to all in the US and hope July has started well for all of you. I learned the other day that my blog hasn't been sending me comments for the last 3 posts, so I have attempted to fix it...hopefully it will be resolved with this post, but if you haven't heard back from me, thanks so much for your comments! 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

May 2018 Accomplishments, Stash Report and Stitching Time

Here we are almost into July and I haven't yet recorded my month of May stats. As I shared in my last few posts, most of May was dedicated to StitchMaynia or Prep and Sewing at my spring quilt retreat. I did have a good amount of sewing time in May between the retreat prep and the retreat. I had 41 1/2 hours of sewing time!! That's a high for recent years. 

In addition to the projects I finished at retreat, I also: 
- Made a binding for one of my UFOs and sewed it to one side of the quilt
Rainbow binding for a bright quilt.
- Taught my son how to sew Boy Scout patches onto his uniform
- Quilted a beautiful batik quilt for my friend Kathy (pattern is Crossroads by Blue Underground Studios)
Quilt back - hand guided quilting - meandering paisley
Such a bright and cheery quilt top! 
- Made 8 clutch wallets as thank you gifts for the ladies who volunteered on the Girl Scout Service Team with me this year. (With special thanks to my mom and her super cool embroidery machine that makes almost this whole thing in the hoop!)

The stash report worked out okay in the end! I added some fabric for my Tag Along bag, and my Square Dance quilt, and then I also bought some to add to the stash from various sale rooms. 

The strange green fabric in the bottom right is for a challenge - each member of our bee got a yard and we have a year to make something with it...let me know if you have any ideas!! 

Here's the impact on the stash report (thank goodness I was cutting and sewing lots at retreat to keep it even!): 
Fabric added this month: 10 5/8 yards
Fabric used this month: 11 3/4 yards

Fabric added year to date: 20 yards
Fabric used year to date: 27 3/4 yards

Net fabric used: 7 3/4 yards (phew, still in the black for this year so far!)

For stitching time, I did okay. The weeks before and after retreat only had 2 sewing days, but every other week had at least 3, so I met my goal 3/5 weeks. I sewed 14 days in the month. 

I think that's all for now. Hope you had a good May and worked on a few things you enjoy! 

I am linking up with Donna at QuiltPaintCreate for Sunday Stash and Kate at Life In Pieces for 15-minutes a day

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Stitch Maynia 2018

May certainly shaped up to be an interesting month. In the late weeks of April, I kept reading/seeing information about Stitch Maynia, a project started a few years ago that basically encourages you to start a whole bunch of stitching projects in the month of May. It seems it has ebbed and flowed a bit, and I found three variations for this year - 1) New start every day for 15 days, 2) New start every day for 18 days, and 3) Stitch every day in May. 

I figured I had several kits and several fairly recent purchases that I had or could easily kit up that I could take a gander. So, the evening of the last night of April, I brought a bunch of stash upstairs and dug through it to find that I could pretty closely kit up 18 projects, with 15 of them being completely new. 
Maynia kits all ready to go!
I didn't know when I started which variation of Maynia I was going for, so I just started by stitching something new each day and I did it! I made it through 15 new starts, and I stitched all but 4 days in May. 

I didn't know how I'd feel about it when I started as I rarely have more than 2 projects in progress. I found the first day fun, but didn't know if I'd like the second day because I was enjoying my first project. Then I started my second project and I had just as much fun with that one. Then my third and so on. I found that I actually really enjoyed pulling out and starting a new project each day. 

By the time I got to 15 days, I was very ready to go back and work on some of the prior starts. I was also ready to have a finish! 
My lone finish for the month - Waffle Stitch Kit by Victoria Sampler
For the rest of the month, I went back to the projects I'd started in the first half and usually just grabbed one out of my bag without looking and worked on that for the night. Sometimes it was just 15 or 20 minutes of stitching and sometimes it was over an hour. Some projects really have some visible progress, others not so much. 

In the end, I really did have a good time, and I am so glad I pulled out a few projects I have had for a long time and got going on them. 
Maynia progress - end of the month
I don't think I will let the projects languish in my bag. I have continued to work on them in June and am actually having fun with the kids - I let them pick a random number between 1 and 18 and that's what I work on for the day/night. As of this typing, I have three of the maynia starts finished, and I am still enjoying pulling something different to work on each day. 
I don't know if I will do it again next year - but it sure was a fun challenge for this year!  And the best part is that I made time for stitching (almost) every day. It was a great way to end most days with a little quiet time, a quick show or youtube video, and a needle and thread.

I guess the next thing to do is adapt this to quilting projects so that I work on some of those too!  

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Shipshewana Spring 2018 Retreat

It's been a while and I have some catching up to do! I'll start with the retreat that I went on in May. If you've been following/reading for a while, you know I enjoy going on retreats with my bee friends. Last year, we decided to join the spring retreat in Shipshewana and we've had a great time. This year, I didn't have much time to prep for retreat, so I spent a fair amount of time at retreat cutting fabric, which means I had fewer finishes. I was glad to work on all but one project I took. I always try to take too much so that I don't run out of things to do, so having one leftover is always okay. 

I started by working on on a scrap project. I've had the pattern for this broken star log cabin quilt since very early in my quilting days, but for many years didn't feel I had the right volume of scraps to do it justice. I spent one whole morning cutting scraps into the right size pieces (you can see the little piles at the bottom of the picture), and then spent the rest of the day sewing the rounds of fabric. I really love the way log cabins look, but they are pretty tedious to sew. This is 16 of the all light blocks, I still have to make 32 light/dark and 16 all dark blocks. This will likely be a project that gets pulled out mostly for retreats and it will be long term. I am pleased with all the variety in the lights and by the time I work on it again, I am sure I will be looking forward to it! 

Near the end of the first day, I finished off the log cabins and pulled out my fabrics to make some double-wide dresdens. I bought the Me and My Sister's book and ruler earlier this year and picked a projects, some leftover fabrics, and got going. The Dresdens also took a while, but the table runner came out great! I think this will be a nice spring/summer runner. 

Next up is a UFO that I quilted earlier this year, but still needed to tie off and sew down binding. I got all my thread tie-offs done (this comes from lots of stops and starts on the longarm) so that I could put it out for show and tell. I still need to sew the faced binding to the back so that I can hang this one up in my house. It is really one of my favorites and I am so glad that I put it on my UFO list and actually am getting it done! 

By the second night of retreat, I was ready to start a bag. I love sewing bags of all types and this one is going to be perfect for carrying cross-stitch projects (in fact, I used it yesterday!). I had some great fabric in my stash that I used for this and then added the handle/base fabric at a shopping stop on the way to retreat. I am so happy with how this all came together and really look forward to using it! On the inside, it has a zippered vinyl pocket on the right and a cotton pocket on the left, perfect for a pattern or magnet board. 

The next project is also one of my UFOs - Sunrise Over the Mountain. I started this years ago and it has traveled to many retreats with me. At a few, I worked on it, but many times it just came along for the ride. My goal for this retreat was to get the top together and I got it done! I am so happy with how it looks, despite some challenges with curved seams and a few little puckers. This is the second in what I plan to make as a series of three, which will eventually hang in my living room. Next up - figuring out how the heck to quilt this to really make the piecing shine. 

After working on a couple UFOs and smaller projects, I was ready by Saturday night to work on a new, larger quilt. I picked up a book called Strip your Stash a few years ago and I've loved the cover quilt. I have several jelly rolls that I have been saving/hoarding and decided to use one of my favorites to make this one. I spend a while cutting out all the pieces for the quilt, then got started on selecting the fabric combos and starting the piecing. By Sunday morning when we had to pack up and leave, I had several block components assembled. I will probably have to make this one block at a time to make sure I don't mess up my color arrangements, so this will be a good ongoing project that I can work on a little at a time. 

All in all, it was a much needed, and much enjoyed retreat. With the beautiful weather we had, a friend and I went out for evening walks, I had a chance to sleep in with no household chores or work hanging over my head, and I enjoyed the time with my mom. 

I won't be at the fall retreat this year, as I am going to take my Girl Scout troop on a trip to Savannah, Georgia. I am looking forward to that, but it will be strange to miss a retreat! 

I'll be back in a couple days with my normal update on the stash usage, stitching time, and cross-stitch activities during the month of May. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Recipes from winter into spring

We've had some good luck (and a couple duds) with our cooking endeavors over the last few months. I managed to catch up on all my Cooking Light magazines, so had lots of new recipes pulled to try right away. Here's the rundown. 

Jenna (with long hair - she just got 10" cut off and looks very different now!) holding Spicy Chicken Shawarma from Cooking Light. This was a hit with all of us and we will surely make it again. It is nice for an night you don't want to do much cooking. 

Another Mr. Food recipe and it was good - Chicken Tortilla Cake. You layer chicken, tortillas, cheese and probably a few other things and bake it all together, and then "frost" it with sour cream. It was quite good and we gobbled it up! Anytime you have some leftover shredded chicken, this would be a great recipe to try. 

If you've been reading for a while, you may know that I love coconut. I've mostly used it in desserts, so when I saw this recipe, I was excited to try it. The Coconut Chicken Strips from Cooking Light turned out great. You use unsweetened coconut. We didn't make the sauce in the recipe, as it was a spicy one, and it would benefit from having one. We'll have to experiment a bit - if you have any ideas for a good sauce to dip these in, please let me know. 
 I picked the Creamy Chicken Alfredo recipe just for Mike, as he loves Alfredo. The picture looks a little bland as we forgot to add the parsley, but the taste was good. Even Jenna who swears that she doesn't like any sauce, liked this one. It is an easy weeknight meal ready in about 30 minutes. I don't have a recipe link for this one as it is on a card labeled "Comfort Food." It was and we approve! If you'd like the recipe, just let me know and I will send it your way. 
The next recipe was an awesome one - and the best kind, one from a friend! She made this for our mini-retreat in March and I came home and made it again! It is called Lasagna Soup and includes pasta, mushrooms, and italian sausage in a tomato base. It was sooo good and we will be making this often next winter! No need for soups as we head into the summer! This recipe is pretty close to the one I had. 
The next yummy recipe was Meatball Stroganoff, also from Cooking Light. It was a great alternative to beef stroganoff and I think we'll make this one again. The flavor of the sauce was really nice. 
Now that we've been through the good recipes, we will move on to those that weren't quite as good....

Let's start with Hamburger Steak with Onion Gravy, another one from Cooking Light. I thought these looked and sounded good in the magazine and I thought Mike would really like them. In the end, the sauce was a gluey mess and the hamburgers weren't even as good as what we would usually make (and you buy ground sirloin for these). This recipe will wind up the in the recycling bin. 

Next up was a recipe that I originally intended to make just for me. I decided that the kids could try these too - Hummus and Rice Fritters with Mediterranean Salad. The fritters were just ok...the texture was a little weird between the rice and hummus, but the lemon vinaigrette salad dressing was delicious! We will save the recipe even if just for that! I think I will keep this one and I might try it again with a flavored hummus to see if that is better. I will definitely pull out the dressing recipe again! 
 The last one for this set of recipes is one from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I got a deal on ground turkey and then went looking for a recipe to make with it. I was excited about these Turkey and Broccoli Lasagna Rolls. They wound up quite dry and the sauce wasn't as saucy as it should have been. I don't mind some veggies in my lasagna, but now I see why beef or Italian sausage is the preferred filling - I think the extra fat helps with the overall flavor. 
So you can see we were about 50/50 this time. I continue to pull out recipes and we will keep trying some new ones as well as going back to those we enjoy. Hope you've seen something here that you'd like to try! 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

April in Review

The weather this April was a little crazy - we had snow almost every weekend until we got to the end of the month. I didn't mind and it made for some good sewing and stitching time. 

I started the month working on my scrap blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. The colors this month were gold and bright yellows. I had fun digging through to get 1 gold block and 2 yellow ones. I really like how the yellow ones turned out. 

On the longarm, I had a productive month. I started with Polar Play, the quilt that I finished at retreat in March. Rather than let that become a UFO, I put it right on the frame. I enjoyed quilting on the cuddle/minkee backing and also enjoyed the Glide thread that I used. I've heard lots of good things about Glide, and I must say it lived up to them. Not much thread breakage, nice tension, and it melts into the quilt top quite nicely. 

Once I got that quilt done, I pulled one of my UFOs - a baby quilt that I made up during my year of the kits a few years ago. I've been waiting for the right baby to come along to get it quilted. One of the girls in my Girl Scout troop has a new baby brother, and her stepmom has been a great help to the troop, so I decided to quilt it up for him. I got the quilting done and the quilt trimmed by the end of the month, so now it is waiting for binding, which should go on within the week. I'll share a picture once it's fully finished. 

Both of those projects helped with the stash usage - two backs makes for some good numbers. I also made up a few more pet beds to donate to the humane society. I put all my scraps of fabric and batting in them and then sew them up like a pillowcase. It is a good way to recycle/reuse my scraps instead of putting them in the trash. 

Here's the stash report: 
Fabric added this month: 0 yards
Fabric used this month: 4 7/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 9 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 16 yards
Net fabric used: 6 5/8 yards

And here's the stitching time report: 
2/4 weeks with at least 3 days of sewing/quilting per week
9 days of sewing/quilting time
8 3/4 hours  of sewing/quilting time 

On the stitching front, I worked finished up one of the Year In Chalk projects - Hello Spring. I have a couple more to do and hope to finish it in a way that I can swap them out. I really found it tough to work on the dark linen, and found I could only work on this during the day. I had a couple other projects that occupied my time in the evenings. 
The last finish for the month is one of those other projects - an embroidery towel that I've had for a long, long time. I bought it at The Back Door several years ago and prepped it to stitch last year, but then didn't touch it. I worked on this while I watched the Amazon Prime series "Howard's End." Four episodes and a little extra stitching time was perfect to finish this up. The backing is water soluble, so I need to soak it for that to dissolve and then I will stick it in the box with the Halloween decorations. 

I also had some fun with my Girl Scout troop in April with a sleep over and a workshop to prep for their Silver Award projects, and I tried to get a little more exercise into the weekly routine. Hope you had a nice month. I'll be back soon with some more recipes to share, as we've been continuing to try new things! 

Linking up with:
Angela for the RSC 2018 challenge
Kate for the 15 minutes a day challenge
Donna for the stash reporting

Sunday, April 1, 2018

March 2018 Round-up

As I shared in my last post, March was a pretty busy month. Good thing that one of the trips was quilt related so I have some good stats for the month :) I'll start with accomplishments, then stash report and stitching time. 

I got quite a bit done this month, thanks again to retreat time! I shared on my last post the projects that I worked on at retreat. I kept going when I got home (after the third trip) and finished up my rainbow scrap challenge blocks for March in bright greens. I figured out how to chain piece them correctly this time and didn't make the mistakes I'd made in the last two months, so they were more fun to make! I really love the fabrics that are in these - lots of great memories in those scraps, and some of my favorite fabrics. 
After I got those complete for the month, I knew I wanted to quilt something. I debated between working on a UFO or one of my just-finished tops from retreat. In the end, I decided to do one of the recent ones to avoid a new UFO! I got the table runner loaded, quilted, and bound in the last few days and I can't wait to use it next Christmas. 
Upstairs on the couch, I kept going on my Lizzie Kate Snowbelles and got the third section of the sampler done - Frosty Friends. I had a good time stitching this one and will plow ahead with the next in this series after I take a short break for some stitching that is more seasonally appropriate (even though we are supposed to get 1-3" of snow this evening!!!). 
I also spent some time working on a wool embroidery piece that has been around for a long, long time. I cut it out at a retreat at least 3 years ago and slowly worked on it from time to time. Before I'd let myself kit up a new cross stitch project, I decided to finish it up. I am pretty pleased with it and glad to have another kit finished! I probably bought this one ~8-10 years ago. 

So, on to the stash report - my goal was to get back into positive numbers this month and I did that thanks to getting the Polar Pals kit put together. It is also nice to finish the most recent kit I bought right away. I did add a little fabric at retreat - the binding for mini-spools and some white on white fat quarters to boost my supply for the Rainbow Scrap challenge. I wound up cutting out 15 sets of the white on white, so am able to count some of that fabric as used right away. 

Fabric added this month: 1 1/2 yards
Fabric used this month: 9 3/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 9 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 11 1/8 yards

Net fabric used: 1 3/4 yards - yeah, back in the black! 

For stitching time, I took some hand work with me on both non-quilting trips, but barely got to it, so I only met my goal of sewing 3 days/week for half the month. I had a total of 10 stitching days out of 31 (the same as last month!). I had a total of 31 hours of quilting time, with most of it at retreat. 

Hope you had a nice March and Happy Easter to all who are celebrating today. 

Linking up with:
Angela at SoScrappy for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge
Kate at Life in Pieces for the 15 minutes a day challenge
Donna at QuiltPaintCreate for Stash Report Sunday