2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Sunday, January 6, 2019

2019 Goals

As with most years, I have been thinking for a few weeks about what I want my goals to be for 2019. I am fairly happy with most aspects of my life these days, so I don't have many self-improvement goals. Let's focus here on the crafting goals. 

I already shared my list of 12 things in 2019 - this is the first goal - I have 12 things and would like to get them all done. It is good that they are a mix of several different things including a few house projects. 

Secondly, I am joining the UFO challenge again. With only 13 on my list, all but one were selected with the random number generator. I may or may not work on the number selected each month, but I will stick with a goal to get at least 6 done, and with new projects keep my total UFO count under 10 by the end of the year. 

The last goal is related to my stitching. You've all watched quite a bit of stitching over the past three years and you know that I really love to stitch. But guess what? I've hardly finished any of it so I can enjoy it! As a result, I have a whole drawer full of finished stitching.  On New Year's Day, I turned over the UFO sheet and listed out all my stitching projects that are not fully finished - I ran out of space on the page at 30, and counted another dozen after that (at least!). I think the final count is just around 50.
Around 50 unfinished projects!
So, my goal is to fully finish two projects for every one that I start. I am not going to make myself stop and finish two immediately before I start a new one, but rather look at the numbers at the end of the year.  Wish me luck - this will probably be the hardest resolution, but likely also the most rewarding! 

I think that's a good set of goals for the year - what do you have on your list? 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

2018 Year in Review

A week into 2019 and as I look back, I am really pleased with 2018. It was a good year for me personally, even if challenging in some places.  I had a very busy year at work, a fun year with family, a fulfilling year with my Girl Scouts, and a balanced year in my crafting. 

Let's start with family (I am going to skip work talk on my blog!) - we enjoyed a nice vacation in Michigan in March when we took our kids to ski the first time. It started out really rough, but by the end of the first day, they had both had a lesson and got pretty comfortable. By the end of day two, they were both loving it. We are all looking forward to skiing again!  In the summer, we returned to Michigan for a short long weekend (3 days) and enjoyed a lovely weekend at Houghton Lake with my friend from college. We always enjoy lots of fellowship, some boating and fishing, great meals, and time just to relax while watching the water. A bonus this year is that her parents were there too and I got to catch up with my "Michigan parents" and they got to meet my kids for the first time. It was really nice. Then in November, I had a long weekend in Baltimore with Beth, my friend and former neighbor - we enjoyed a great weekend of chatting, watching TV, exploring the area, and stitching! 

On the Girl Scout side, I wrapped up my year as Service Unit Manager for our area and started to get more involved with our Council. I am working with a staff member and committee there to build an alum network, something I have a lot of energy for. We are looking forward to a kick-off event soon and I am hoping to connect with more adults who have the shared Girl Scout experience. With my troop, I turned over the reigns to the girls to plan and run our meetings, which has been a good learning experience for them, and has resulted in a lot more engagement from them. They are earning the badges they want to earn and doing the activities they want to do and I am loving guiding them and watching them learn how to lead (this is really what Girl Scouts is all about!).  I was thrilled to take them to Savannah, GA in October so we could explore the home of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts. I hadn't been there and it was a really, really fun trip! 

Now on to the crafting, the reason most of you are here! I had a great year in my quilting, cross-stitch, and crochet adventures. Let's start with a review of my goals for the year: 
1) Reduce UFOs by continuing in monthly UFO challenges. Get to 12 or less by year end. I did pretty well here - of the 12 UFOs on my list, I worked on 6 of them, and finished 4 completely, including two of my oldest projects (the Carol Doak BOM and the Calla Lily from my first machine quilting class). I got really close to hitting my goal of 12 or less as I finished the year with 13 (maybe really 14 or 15, because I think there may be a few hiding that have never made the list!). 
2) Participate in the rainbow scrap challenge to use up some scraps in 2018. What a fun challenge! Thanks to Kate for showing your monthly photos and inspiring me to join. I don't think I actually reduced the scrap piles at all, but I had a great time making my monthly blocks and look forward to getting them into a finished quilt in '19. 
3) Do more quilting and crochet:
- At least 15 minutes of quilting at least 3 days/week Well, here's one I didn't do so well on. I usually had two weeks per month where I quilted/sewed at least 3 days. I continue to go in fits and spurts, but they seemed not to be as spread out this year than they were last year. I am glad I had the challenge to encourage me to make my quilting time a little more routine. 
- Finish 3 or more crochet projects - Nope - didn't even get close to this one. I finished one crochet project in 2018, a hat for my cousin's daughter. It was one of her Christmas gifts and I think she looks pretty adorable in it! 
Little girl with her Aunt and her new hat (and my mom smiling at her in the background). 

- Quilt 12 projects on my HQ Avante - I did great on this one - I quilted 15 quilts this year! Several for others, some small and some larger, some for me and some for gifts. 
4) Lose and keep off at least 5 pounds. Just like the crochet, I didn't do too well on this one. I lost a solid 2 pounds and would say that I've mostly kept it off, but still have work to do. I am glad for the new YMCA near us that will hopefully keep me motivated to move! 

On the cross-stitch front, I jumped in with both feet to participate in Stitch Maynia, where I started a new project each day for 15 days. I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would and found that I do like to have a few projects going so that I can pick and choose what I want to work on based on my mood/energy level/etc. I did great in finishing them too, with 14 of the 15 starts completed by year-end. Overall, I finished 22 stitching projects!! Lots of small ones in that number, and only 1 of them fully finished by year end (whoops). Here's the collage of all my 2018 stitching - do you have a favorite?

On the quilting front, even though I didn't get in as many sewing days as I'd have liked, I had three retreats where I had dedicated sewing time, which helped me finish up 19 projects, including 11 finished quilts, and one wool embroidery. I am only carrying one quilt top that was finished in 2018 into 2019 unfinished. 
In my quilt stash, I ended the year ahead, but by the smallest margin since I started tracking! 
Fabric added this year: 35 1/4 yards (the most since 2014 and I blame three quilt shops that closed and had good sales!)
Fabric used this year: 39 3/8 yards (the lowest in the 9 years I have been tracking, I think due largely to working on UFOs where I had already counted the fabric). 
Net fabric used in 2018: 4 1/8 yards (not much, but moving in the right direction!)

If you're still reading, I want to thank you - and especially to those who have left me comments through the year (special gold stars to Carol and Kate who comment on almost every blog post!). I have a couple of those wallets in the bottom right of my quilting collage and I would like to have a giveaway to share them with a few readers. If you'd like a handy wallet that will also hold your cell phone, leave me a comment and I will select two to receive the remaining wallets (note that I must have your email address to contact you, so if you don't have it in your profile, please leave it in your comment!).  Thanks again for reading, and hope your 2018 was a good one too! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

December 2018 Recap

And just like that, another year in the memory books! December was a great month for me - my last day of work was the 14th, and I've had lots of time to stitch, read, quilt, shop, and hang out with family. My company has use it or lose it vacation and I usually find that I have a few days left at the end of the year - this year, it was much needed time off to recharge for what I am confident will be a busy year in 2019. 

Let's start with the stitching projects this month - I continued to work on the projects started during Stitch Maynia in May. I finished two of them and only have one left that I started during Maynia! (I still have two others in progress, but they were both started before Maynia). 

First is Happy Halloween by Silver Creek Samplers - I love this one and will be looking for a nice black frame for it - I am thinking it might fit in a Mill Hill frame...will have to check that out! 

Second is the Penguin from a Janlynn kit called Holiday Wishes - it has four characters all together and this is my second - I finished the reindeer in 2016. I wasn't a big fan of stitching on the plastic canvas (in 2016 or now!), so it will probably be a while before I start on the snowman or Santa for this one. That's okay, I think this penguin is pretty cute all by himself. 

On the quilting front, I got to work finishing up the last set of three scrap blocks from the Rainbow Scrap Challenge - dark green. I laid them out with all the others and have decided that I probably need to make one more row, so I will work on them over the next few weeks - one of my goals for the year is to get these into a finished quilt in 2019. 

I did some quilting for my mom (forgot to get a picture - it was a Christmas present!), and also did some quilting for me - had to get one more project done before the end of the year. I've had this table runner on my wall since I finished in in May. It was a quick and easy one to quilt, as I did some diagonal straight lines in the white and stars in the middle of each starburst. I like how this one turned out and look forward to using it in the spring! 
Double Wide Dresden Table Runner
The other quilt I finished this month is the Sun & Planets for my astronomer husband. I had to be stealthy working on this since we share the basement, but he had no idea when he opened it on Christmas morning. I backed it with Minkee and used glow in the dark thread in the top for a little fun.  
The last thing I got done is my square dance blocks - I started these at my May retreat, didn't work on them again until September, and in the last couple weeks figured out that I made the sashing for 1/2 of them wrong, ripped them out, sewed them the right way, and then got all the blocks sewn together. I just need to add a border for this top to be done. 
So, the stash report was okay, no additions and a little fabric used for the table runner: 
Fabric added this month: 0 yards
Fabric used this month: 5/8 yard
Net used in December: 5/8 yard (I will save the year-to-date for my 2018 recap post)

I had 11 1/2 hours of quilting over 12 days, and 2/4 weeks where I sewed at least 3 days. All in all a good month! 

Monday, December 31, 2018

12 Things in 2019

Good morning and hope you are enjoying the last day of 2018, or the first few days of 2019 depending on when you're reading this.  I am not going to do my 2018 wrap-up posts yet, as I am hoping to get some sewing in today and maybe get in another partial finish. 

Judy Laquidara of Patchwork Times is hosting a monthly link-up that I am going to join this year.  It is "12 Things in 2019" and you pick 12 things that you want to get done in the year and (in theory) work on one per month. Some months you might get two done and other months, you might just make progress on (but not finish) one, but the goal is to do them all within the year.  They can be craft projects or other projects, so I have a bit of a mix.  Here are my 12 Things for 2019: 

  1. Print vacation pictures and frame in the multi-photo frames that are sitting on the floor of my bedroom. 
  2. Stitch the last month (that I have) for "Year in Chalk" and fully finish them to display. 
  3. Make a baby quilt for my Aunt to gift - the baby was born earlier this month, so this will be something to get going on sooner rather than later
  4. Make a t-shirt quilt for my work colleague - she brought me all the t-shirts a few weeks ago but they are still in the bag
  5. Finish stitching Snowbelles - two sections left to go! 
  6. Finish the 2018 Scrap Challenge quilt - I need to make a few more blocks, then look forward to putting it all together
  7. Complete an embroidery project - I have a whole bin of projects, some with wool and some cotton, it's high time I pull one out to work on
  8. Quilt and bind Santorini Houses - I know how I want to quilt this (and have for at least two years), but I am chicken to mess it up - I just need to get going and do it!
  9. Start a new cross stitch "series" (after I finish Snowbelles) - I have three full series that I just need to get linen and threads for - Lizzie Kate A Year of Flip-Its, Country Cottage Needlework Snow Place Like Home, and Swarovski Reindeer
  10. Crochet something bigger than a hat - I've made several hats and one mini-cape. It's time to use some of my stash yarn and make something from my ravelry list
  11. Get new floors in the kitchen/entry/family room (by April) - this has been on the list since October and I need to make the time to do the research and shopping so I can get them installed before I host my bunco group in April
  12. Read 10 books - I love to read and have spent much of the last few years on long books so I don't get through many - I am going to focus on shorter (~300 page) books so that I can get through more - I have a long list at the library that I want to read
That should be enough to keep me busy - I will probably mix some of this up with a UFO list for 2019, as I still enjoy picking a monthly UFO to work on (even if I only get a few of them done). I will also have some overarching goals. Between all of them, I should be able to make some progress! 

Linking up with Judy here. 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

November 2018 Recap

Here we are almost to Christmas and I am catching up again! I ordered a new laptop earlier this week because the current one is old and slow and I procrastinate writing up posts because they take a lot longer than I think they should - let's hope the new computer helps in the new year! 

November was a very busy month for me. I traveled to New York City, Baltimore, and Evansville, IN - three weekends in a row! The trips were all good, but between them and a very busy month at work, I didn't get much sewing or stitching done...well except for the weekend in Baltimore. 

First up, New York - went for a conference - in and out in 3 days, but I got in a few good meals and a Broadway show - Head Over Heels - based on the Go-Go's music.  The show was great fun and the conference was the best I've been to in over 15 years. Lots of good strategic and practical learning. 

The next weekend, I went to Baltimore to meet my friend Beth who moved to Orlando a couple years ago. We really enjoy the chance to have a girl's weekend together! 
We got to help take down the flag at Fort McHenry
We did some sightseeing, ate some incredible meals, enjoyed Orange Crushes, the local drink of choice, and spent a good amount of time stitching. It is great to be able to sit and stitch for hours with no other obligations! 
Always good to spend time together!
During that trip, I had my one finish of the month, a Mill Hill ornament kit that will be finished this month (fingers crossed!) and on its way to a new home. 
All stitched and beaded - ready to become an ornament

Thanksgiving Dinner with my Mom and Dad
Then, for Thanksgiving, we had a nice dinner at my parents house and then loaded the car to head to Evansville the next morning to celebrate my cousin's baby's first birthday. It was great to spend time with family and to celebrate this cute little girl.
Feeding the birthday girl - she is very serious when she eats!

While on the way there, I finished a crochet project that will be part of her Christmas present - I started this almost a year ago, got about 2/3 of the way done, then decided it was too top heavy and ripped it all out. On the second try, I only made a curlicue every other row and it worked out much better! This hat is the Delaney Hat from Danyel Pink Designs
Delaney Hat - finished on the road (I wasn't driving!)
I have to take a quick detour from my month to brag on my daughter. She decided in mid-October that she'd like to stitch up a chart she's had for a long time to give to Brenna for her birthday. She worked tirelesssly over three weeks (and was very happy to have a snow day) and got it finished with 3 or 4 days to spare! She laced and framed it herself using a YouTube video. I don't think she's stitched again since she finished it, but I am so proud of her for doing such a good job and getting it done in time! 
Jenna with her present to Brenna
On the quilting side, I only had 4 sewing days in the month! I think that's the lowest in a long time. I did get two quilts quilted (one had been started in October) - I'll show pictures of the second one after it is gifted for Christmas. I also did a little ornament finishing, but didn't get all the way done so will show that in my December wrap-up, as I need to get it done to get it gifted! 
One of the two quilted tops from November - this one was pieced by my mom and was a
present for my cousin's son who loves Monster Trucks. 

The stats are not impressive for the month, but I am okay with that given all the other things going on! 
Fabric added: 0 yards
Fabric used: 0 yards
Fabric added year to date: 35 1/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 38 3/4 yards
Net fabric used: 3 1/2 yards

Stitching days = 4, for 6 hours of sewing/quilting time
Weeks w/3 days = 0 

I am already doing better for December :) Back soon as I start to plan goals for 2019. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

October 2018 Recap

Wow, October was a whirlwind and November is proving to be much the same!  I have shared much of what I did in October already on my report from my fall retreat, but thought I would do a quick recap post that includes my stash report, stitching finishes, and quilting time. 

Before I went to retreat, I quilted a top for a friend - as I shared last month, this is from a kit almost all of us bought the first year we went to a retreat in Shipshewana.  Karen asked for a large scale pattern, so I did chrysanthemums across the whole quilt. It went pretty quickly given the scale of the flowers, and she loved it. Click over to her blog to see the finished quilt and a couple closeups of the quilting. 

I also got my blue scrap blocks from September finished.  I have the dark greens pulled now and hope to get those done before the end of November! 

In addition to these finishes, I also loaded another quilt and got it started, then got mad at myself and let it linger on the frame...more to come on that quilt in November. 

Overall, I had 20 hours of quilting over 10 days in October, with 2 of 4 weeks where I quilted at least 3 days. Retreat contributed most of those hours! 

On the stash report front, I was doing pretty well at retreat, then managed to get to our local quilt shop that closed at the end of October two weekends in a row. With all fabric $7.99/yard, I took advantage of the prices to stock up on some blenders and pick up some fabrics for an upcoming quilt. I did purchase some cuddle fabric at retreat for a quilt back. Hopefully it won't take me too long to use some of this! This is making the year-to-date fabric usage a lot closer to even!
Purchases from the first trip to QP

Fabric added this month: 11 3/4 yards
Fabric used this month: 2 3/4 yards

Fabric added year-to-date: 35 1/4 yards
Fabric used year-to-date: 38 3/4 yards
Net fabric used: 3 1/2 yards

On the cross-stitch front, I went back and forth between several projects this month, so I only have one finish to show. This is a kit that I bought in the last few years (before the Lizzie Kate announcement that she was retiring), and started during Stitch Maynia this year. It is a real cutie - I have put it in my finished stitching pile...I really need to get going on that pile to have some more decorations to actually put out next year! 
A Little Boo by Lizzie Kate 
Hope you enjoyed the recap and wish you a warm and happy weekend. I am headed east this afternoon to connect with my good friend Beth. We are going to enjoy a long weekend of stitching, sightseeing, and reconnecting. Can't wait! 

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!