2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

June 2017 Accomplishments and Stash Report

It is Tuesday afternoon as I type this, but it sure feels like a Sunday afternoon. It was a nice treat to have a four day weekend to end off June and start July. We've spent time with friends and family this weekend, I did a little sewing and stitching, we saw some fireworks and a couple movies, and now we're waiting for some ribs on the grill. A great weekend all around! 

I found myself spending a little more time in my sewing room in June, despite a couple setbacks. The first was water in the corner of the basement. It took two plumber visits to find the actual issue (or there really were two issues), and we wound up with a stinky and damp basement for a couple weeks, which made it a pretty unappealing place to be! The good news is that it's dry now and we have a new dehumidifier that is working really well, making the temperature downstairs a lot more comfortable.  The second setback is my Janome 6600. It was acting up a little at my retreat in May, but still managed to work well enough to get my projects done, albeit with the top tension turned up really high. Once I got it home, I fiddled with it for a while to see if I could fix the tension issue, but no luck. It is now waiting with my mom to go for a visit to the dealer about 1/2 hour north of here. She will take it in when she goes to pick up her new machine in a few weeks (she is getting a Brother Embroidery machine). 

So, given both of the above, I set up my small machine in the dining room and did my sewing from there in June. I also got a little time in on my HQ. All told, I had 9 3/4 hours of quilting time in June, but have a pretty short list of accomplishments. I have several things near the finish line, so hope to have more to report in the coming months. 
- Mini-Lotus top made with batiks from my stash. This is a pattern I picked up a couple years ago in Shipshewana and my mom has the ruler, both from Jaybird Quilts. I found it pretty easy to cut out, and nice to make. All the little shapes fit together pretty well! 
Mini Lotus Top

- Flag blocks for a QOV - we've started a quilt squad at work where we meet quarterly for lunch and share finishes, ask questions, talk about patterns, websites, etc. and decided to make a couple of quilts of valor for our Veteran's network to recognize some great work they did last year. We all made 4 blocks and wound up with enough for two quilts - I assembled one of them and will quilt it and then pass it off to another "quilt squadder" to attach the binding. We hope to have them both finished by our lunch next quarter. 
My blocks
The finished top! 

- Quilted my Plus table runner that I made at my May retreat. I found a great tone on tone green backing for it, got it loaded and quilted, and just attached the binding yesterday. This one will go in the car with my on our road trip vacation so that I have a little hand work to do during some long driving days. (Just realized that I don't have a picture of the quilted table runner, so I will snap a pic on our trip!)

In terms of how this all affected my stash, not much change. I did a little shopping at the beginning of the month, and used a little fabric for all three of the projects. 
Fabric added this month: 2 1/4 yards
Fabric used this month: 1 1/2 yards

Fabric added year to date: 12 5/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 20 yards

Net fabric used: 7 3/8 yards - feels like I am barely staying ahead! 

On the stitching side, I feel like I did a lot of stitching this month, but don't have anything to show for it! No finishes, but two projects that are pretty close. I may or may not take them on vacation, as I already had in my mind a few projects to take on vacation...we'll see how I am feeling when it is time to pack our bags! 

The other thing that took a lot of my time in June is Girl Scouts. In addition to leading my daughter's Cadette troop next year, I will be the Service Unit Manager for our area. I am looking forward to the position, and spent a Saturday morning getting some good training. I followed that up with a zip-lining trip with my girls, and then a week later went to the Council brunch to celebrate my daughter and 4 other girls from our troop earning their Bronze Awards. My daughter decided she wanted to invite my mom, who was my girl scout leader, to the brunch. We got a picture in our uniforms before the lunch :) 
Me, Jenna, and my mom :) 
How was your June?  Hope you found some time to dedicate to the things you enjoy most. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

A few new recipes - Spring 2017

The number of new recipes we try has really started to dwindle given how many great ones we have discovered. On a typical weekend, I will now start with the existing book or folder and see what we haven't had in a while vs. looking for something new to make. Every once in a while, I get the itch to try something else, so here are a few of the ones we've made over the past few months. 

I'll start with dinners, then move on to the fun stuff! First up is ham loaf, a meal I never realized existed until we went to Shipshewana and saw it on a menu. My two Illinois friends talked it up last year and I recently found a recipe for it in my Fit it and Enjoy it cookbook. It took me a few weeks to find ground ham, but once I did, we made it right up and it was delicious! I think we've had it three times since then! 
Next up is a recipe I may have posted a long time ago, but it's so good, I thought I'd share it again! It is from my neighbor and originally came from Cooking Light. It is called Basil Shrimp with Feta and Orzo (otherwise known as all of my favorite ingredients in one dish). This one takes a little prep work, so isn't an easy weeknight meal, but is worth the effort when you do make it.  
We tried Spinach Artichoke Elegance on a night when we had friends over for dinner (the kids ate chicken tenders!), and it was very tasty. It take a lot of prep work too, so won't be on the menu very often, but it was very tasty, so another one I'd pull out again when we have time for it :) 
When we found ourselves with a little bacon and a little chicken, we made up Creamy Chicken with Bacon and Penne on the Kraft website. This is another one that was really tasty, and the prep work wasn't hard on it, so we will see it again next time we have a partial package of bacon left! 
As the weather started to warm up, we started to look for meals that didn't take a lot of heat in the oven. This recipe for Shrimp Tortilla Pizza is in our Mr. Food cookbook and it was great. The kids had theirs without olives and we all liked it. This is an easy dinner for a busy night. 
The last dinner recipe is one that's been in the folder and I've looked at many, many times since we started this challenge. I always thought I wasn't a big fan of curry, so it never made its way out of the folder until after a recent trip to an excellent Indian restaurant. I was feeling adventurous so put this one on the menu and it was great. The kids even enjoyed it, which was a surprise to me. It didn't have a really strong curry flavor, but did have the right amount of spice. It is called Fusilli with Curried Chicken and Vegetables
Now, on to the fun stuff! I've shared before that my daughter really likes to bake. For Easter, she picked out an angel food cake to make and it was absolutely delicious! It is Key Lime Coconut Angel Food Cake from Betty Crocker, and it starts with a box recipe. Jenna enjoyed making the icing, cutting the cake to make two layers, and especially decorating it with jelly beans! 
Next up for Jenna was another round of Strawberry Shortcake. She decided to make a large shortcake this time rather than individual biscuits, but it was just as good as the last version she made. The Better Homes and Gardens cookbook was the source for this one. 
Last up is the cake my husband decorated for Jenna's 12th birthday, a Stampy Cat themed party. I picked up all the fondant (which we've never tried before), and he rolled them out and shaped them correctly, and she was thrilled! Stampy Cat is a character from Minecraft, and was the perfect mascot for a cat-loving, Minecraft loving girl. 
 Hope you enjoyed all the new recipes and find one that you'll want to try! 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

May 2017 Stash Report and Accomplishments

May was a banner month for me - I dedicated a bit of time to retreat prep, then had four great days at retreat. You can see my whole retreat report in the previous post. 
Retreat prep - cutting out the Plus table runner
I did add a little fabric at retreat - we went to Lolly's, a great quilt shop, and they have this big boat of fat quarters, and they give us a couple for one free fat quarter. So, I sat down by the boat and started pulling out all the fat quarters that were good blenders, mostly tone on tones. I kept pulling and before I knew it, I had 12, and the deal is better when you buy 12, so I did! Add my free fat quarter and two they gave us at retreat, and I came home with over 4 yards of new fabric. 
Fun Fat Quarters and a couple patterns from retreat
I also did a good job of using fabric this month. Some of the retreat pre-cutting was counted in April, but I also had usage in May for the Plus table runner, mini-pumpkins, the back of my cascading triangles top, the mini pop-up, and the sit and stitch. 

The cascading triangles was my UFO for the month. I got the back made, loaded, and quilted it all in one day, then took it to retreat to put on the binding. This is going to be a Christmas gift this year and I look forward to gifting it as I think the recipient will really like it.  
Quilting on Cascading Triangles

Finished table runner all bound
I wound up with 27 hours of quilting time and a pretty coincidental stash report: 

Fabric added in May: 4 1/4 yards
Fabric added year to date: 10 3/8 yards

Fabric used in May: 4 1/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 18 1/2 yards

Net fabric used: 8 1/8 yards

On the cross-stitch side, I finished up Lady in Harbor, one of my planned kits for the year.  This was given to me at a stitching day and there is no picture with the kit, so I wasn't quite sure how she'd look in the end. I think I will look for a frame so that I can try framing her myself. If anyone is interested in the pattern, I will be happy to put it in an envelope and send it your way. I did highlight parts of it, so it might be somewhat challenging to follow, but I am happy to pass it on to another stitcher. 
My second finish for the month is called Christmas in Ohio, from the 2016 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments magazine. I will probably finish this one as a flat fold. I have a few waiting to be done so need to plan a finishing day soon! 
Hope you had a great May - thanks for stopping by to see what I've been working on! 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Spring 2017 Retreat Report

This spring, my quilting group decided on a new location for our spring retreat. We joined Ruthie and the Threads of Mine quilters in Shipshewana at the Farmstead Inn, just like we do in the fall! The spring group is about 1/2 the size of the fall group, and it worked out great. We drove up on Wednesday and started sewing on Thursday. This time, we didn't go anywhere after retreat (in the fall, we head to brunch and a quilt shop together), so I even got to do some sewing on Sunday morning. 
Gorgeous sunset over the Farmstead Inn
My goal for this retreat was to work on several small projects, with a hope that I could finish things before I got home, since I don't seem to be doing much sewing at home these days. I spent the month beforehand pre-cutting projects so I would be ready to go and it was a good strategy as always. 

I started the retreat by working on a couple table runners. The first one is my UFO for this month and just needed to have binding attached. It was nice to have that project done just an hour into the retreat! After that, I worked on a new table runner that will go on my coffee table in the summer. It is a pattern called Plus from Trendy Tablerunners by Heather Peterson. I love her patterns and this one turned out great. It is a little hard to tell from the picture, but the background fabric is blue. It is from a fabric line called Lucy's Crab Shack from a few summers ago. I've been waiting for the perfect project for it. I still have a few pieces of the fabric left, so will need to find something to make with the leftovers. 

After table runners and dinner, I pulled out one of my stitched pieces and made it into a flange pillow from Vonna Pfeiffer's tutorial. I am really pleased with how well the fabric complements this piece and look forward to displaying it next holiday season. I also worked on another kit that night, but didn't get it finished, so I will hold off on the picture until I can show it completed (it is really close, just doing hand stitching). 

Friday dawned a beautiful day and I thought it would be good to dig into my most complex project, Mini Pumpkins by Sew Kind of Wonderful. This project is lots of curved piecing, and it took me the better part of the day to get it into a completed top, but I am really happy with it! I will have to think hard about how to quilt this one to accentuate the pumpkins and keep it looking modern. It will go perfectly above the couch in our family room during the fall. 

On Saturday morning, I started with a quickie, a little pop up - it has a metal spring inside and can fold down flat or pop up to hold goodies or a soda can. I've also had this fabric a long time and I am pretty proud of myself that I got the tulips going the right way! 

After that, I started work on the kit I bought earlier this year, a Frivol tin. I worked on it a while, then took a break, then came back to it later in the night. I got it into a center - there are still 3 borders that need to be added. I am not sure what I'll do with this one, but I love the light, bright colors. It will be about 60" square when finished, maybe a bit too big for a wall, but a bit too small for a lap. 

The last project I will share is my Sit and Stitch. My mom and I both made these and I had so much fun! I picked out the fabric earlier this year with this project in mind and it turned out just like I imagined. I love the finished project and it is sitting next to me on the arm of the couch right now. 

On Sunday morning, I did work on one last project - my Hunter's Star quilt. I found binding for it at one of the local quilt shops, got it cut, ironed, and sewn on before we left and now I just need to attach the other side of the binding. I will get another picture of that quilt when it is all done. 
A delicious Amish style dinner
For the first time I can remember, I worked on every project that I took to retreat. And, I got a couple of them completely done! It felt really good to make so much progress. Next up is to have both of my machines serviced - the regular sewing machine and the longarm. They are both being a little persnickety, so need some attention, oil, and adjustments. I am hoping to get that done in early June so that I can get a few of these projects to fully finished. 

Hope you enjoyed the retreat recap! I'll be back in a few days with a stash report to show you the result of all this good work on the stash! 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

April 2017 Stash Report

The focus for the stash in April was getting things pre-cut for my retreat which is coming up in a few weeks. 

I did have a few additions to stash, thanks to the re-opening of Quilts Plus. This is a local quilt shop that has been in business for many years, but just had a change of owners. The new owner has opened up the store, painted it bright colors, and brought in a lot of more modern fabric. It really looks great, and I think I've been there three times since it opened. I guess I am doing my part to support a small business! 

On the first visit, I picked up the Thimble Blossoms mini spool pattern, which I have long admired. I also got some white on white to use for the background. The tulip purse pattern was a gift from a friend. 

On trip #2, I didn't buy anything (my mom did), but on trip #3, I went in with a goal to find the dark grey fabric for the Quick Curve Ruler pattern Mini Pumpkins, which I got for Christmas. I found the perfect fabric, paired it with some oranges and light grays from my stash, and it's all ready for retreat. 

The next project I cut out for retreat was also a Christmas gift. I dusted off my Scan-n-Cut to cut out the applique pieces and then when I had them done, decided to go ahead and do the small bit of piecing and fusing. When I get to retreat, I will have buttonhole stitching to do and some hand stitching to add buttons. Hopefully, this will be fully finished by the end of retreat. 

The last project I prepped in April is the Frivols tin I picked up when the previous owner of Quilts Plus was having her clearance sale. I found a white on white in my stash for this one and it is all ready to be put together. 
All the cutting made it a good month for the stash report: 

Fabric added this month: 2 3/8 yards
Fabric used this month: 5 3/4 yards

Fabric added year to date: 6 1/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 14 1/4 yards

Net fabric used: 8 1/8 yards

Hope you had a great month with your stash! 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

April 2017 Month in review

I am not quite sure how April went by so quickly. I didn't have any travel, but the time seemed to go by quickly. I did make some great progress in April and am glad for the time I spend crafting this month! 

I had 9 3/4 hours in the sewing room, almost half of it fighting with a quilt on my HQ. Over the month, I worked on cutting out projects for my retreat so that I can focus on sewing when I get there. I didn't do a good job of that last year and didn't feel like I got nearly as much done. This year at retreat, I am going to focus on small projects. 

I did get one quilt loaded and quilted - I ran into all kinds of problems with the thread shredding on this one. I changed needles, bobbins, and finally thread. It got better, but took about twice as long as it should have! Despite all the challenges, I am really, really pleased with how the quilting turned out. I was going to do a panto when I started, but changed my mind and wanted to stay in front of the machine (you quilt a panto from the back). I wound up doing my first meandering free motion design with multiple elements - mostly swirls, feathery shapes and paisley. I think it turned out really cool and gives some movement to this quilt with lots of straight lines. 

I also spent a little time on pillows again this month - that seems like it is turning into my theme for the year! Number 1 was pulled for the UFO challenge, and I was excited to work on my wrap pillows. I've had these forever! I bought them at The Back Door when the kids were little and the pattern was free when you purchased the fabric. I like how they turned out and will enjoy having a few more seasonal pillows for the couch in our living room. 

Now, let's turn to stitching...I stitched up three designs this month and turned one of my existing ones into an ornament. It was a good month for stitching! 

First up is Primitive Egg from Ewe and Eye and Friends. I bought this one from a sale bin at Needle Fever, a local shop that closed a few years ago. I started it in February and then discovered about 1/4 of the way into it that I was using two threads when I should have been using one. When I got to the pink alphabet, it was pretty heavy looking, so I ripped the whole thing out. I started back again after working on another project and got it finished up just before Easter. I am going to order a bell pull for this one so that I can hang it. 

Second is a quickie - Be Thankful from Weeks Dye Works. It was a free pattern that I picked up at Keepsake Framing in Cincinnati the first time we went there to visit. I think it turned out so pretty and plan to finish it into a cube to display during the fall. I am glad to have another project that is fall themed and not just Halloween. 

The third finish is from the JCS Christmas Ornament issue and is called Merry Christmas to You by My Big Toe Designs. I found a scrap piece of fabric to stitch it on and used DMC colors that I had on hand. Today while quilting a Christmas project, I found the perfect fabric to use to finish this one as a flat ornament.

Last up is the best, my January ornament already finished for Christmas! My goal this year is to finish each ornament before I start the next one...and I didn't quite make that, but I did finish it before I finished the ornament above. I am pleased with how it turned out and like the teal in the stitching and fabric. 

So, that's a wrap for April. I'll be back tomorrow with the stash report and some pictures of the projects I am planning for retreat. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Winner, winner chicken dinner!

This post is WAY overdue, but I had a pretty luck start to this year when I won giveaways at three different places. 

Carol of Stitching Dreams paid it forward with one of her patterns and I was lucky enough to win it. I haven't stitched it yet, but will get it into the rotation and will then pay it forward too! 

Dar of Dar's Patchwork Garden hosted a QOV block drive through several months last year and I made some blocks for the drive. She got bunches of great giveaways and pulled my name for the cone of Glide Thread - I haven't used it yet, but look forward to the next quilt that needs purple so that I can check it out. 

Finally, I participated in the JCS Christmas Ornaments facebook group last year and stitched all 12 ornaments selected for the year - there were only a few of us who stitched all 12, and from the group, she selected two names (both Jennifers!) to win the JCS disks, which have 17 years of magazines on them! I spent an afternoon digging through them and found lots of new ornaments I need to stitch! 

Big (belated) thanks Carol and Dar for your generosity!