Sunday, September 21, 2014

Stash Report - Weeks 35-38 2014

It has been quite a few weeks since I last posted a stash report and I haven't been doing too much, but I have been busy - especially at work and with the kids. In the midst, I have been sneaking in a little quilting time here and there. 
It started with a birthday, and with a birthday comes fat quarters from my bee. I got a nice assortment of black & whites, so I should be able to finish my easy street leftovers quilt . I also got some nice quilty/crafty gifts for my birthday - including having several books spiral bound, a new travel iron, and a cross-stitch kit. 
After all the birthday celebrations, I got going on a few things that used some fabric -- I finished a cross-stitch into a flat fold display, I finished a baby blanket, made a couple laminate bags, started cutting out a new quilt and made a couple test blocks, and started working on one of my row by row shop hop kits.  It didn't result in that much fabric used, but I feel like I've been getting some good things done. 

I did add another yard of fabric which was left over from a quilt back my mom made and matches a FQ pack that I have, so it will give me enough background fabric to make a pattern I bought earlier this year. 

The result of all those changes over the last four weeks is: 

Fabric added last 4 weeks: 2 3/4 yards
Fabric used last 4 weeks: 2 1/2 yards

Fabric added year to date: 39 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 49 yards

Net fabric used: 9 5/8 yards

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A new kind of finish

Several months ago, a friend of my mom's told me that her secret to all her lovely finishing of cross-stitch was a website called The Twisted Stitcher. I went to Michael's earlier this year with a 50% off your whole purchase coupon and got myself set up to make the flat fold and the cube.  As I looked at the details of each, I decided to start with a flat fold and then work my way up to the box.  I picked out one of the many projects I have finished stitching that is waiting for final finishing and got started. I am not going to show you all the steps in the process, because you can easily get them over on the site linked above, but here's a few steps in my process. 

Stitching and mat board cut to size

Gluing fabric to mat board

Weighing it all down for a couple nights to make sure it sticks together well.
The finished product! 

From the front, on top of the same fabric that is used in the flat fold
The project took me about an hour to complete and I really enjoyed the process. I made one mistake and have the fabric going the wrong direction on the back of the whole piece, which is a bummer, but most people probably won't look at that part anyway!  It does need some cording or a ribbon to finish it off around the edges, so I will keep and eye out for something that will match it well. 

Now that I've made one, I am looking forward to the next! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

August Cooking Challenge

We took the month of July off from our cooking challenge - not intentionally, but with vacations and summer schedules it just didn't happen. We were back at it in August and I got back into the swing of menu planning.  We made several entrees, a side dish, a dip, and a dessert.  It was an okay month - some good recipes, some just okay, but it felt good to be trying some new things again. 

The first recipe of the month was Sauteed Chicken with Capers - now, you either like capers or you don't in my experience - and I love them! This was an easy and very tasty dinner. This was another in a long line of winners from the old Everyday Food magazine. 

Next up was an old recipe from Cooking Light magazine, and it was pretty tasty too.  Smoky Cowboy Quesadillas were a nice twist on the usual with ham, salsa, and fresh corn. Mike made these with a little less salsa for the kids and they were a big hit, especially with Jack. 

Back to Everyday Food for the next one, Cilantro Buttermilk Skirt Steak. Delicious dinner, executed expertly. This will go into our rotation and next time I see a skirt steak on sale, I will know what to do with it! 

We switched back to chicken for the next recipe, but stuck with the same magazine - and had Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry. It was okay - not bad, but not terribly flavorful.  We didn't have oyster sauce, which might be the secret ingredient, so I think I will pick some up and we'll try it again to see if that does the trick.  

Next up was a recipe from Rachael Ray's magazine and I forgot to take a picture of the Corn Bacon muffins.  I cooked the bacon ahead, but we warmed it up and followed the recipe as written and it just didn't do much for us.  This is one we won't be making again - there are lots of other rolls or muffins that I would use before I went back to this one. 

I hosted my quilt bee at the end of the month, and I usually try to find something yummy to make them.  This time was no exception. I made a Dill, Feta, and Garlic Cream Cheese Spread that was delicious and also made Citrus Doodles, which were a tangy, delicious cookie. I don't usually like cookies with a glaze, but this glaze, which has lemon and orange zest in it, was delicious! 

We wrapped up the month by making Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas. They were a great finger food and the bowl disappeared into my daughter's room before I could get a picture.  We will definitely make these again when we are having friends over or need a small dish to bring along to a party. 

I also had to share another of the yummiest dishes we had this month - it was a peanut butter ice cream pie from our favorite custard stand that Mike got to celebrate my birthday.  Mmmmmm! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

August Accomplishments and Four Goals

August was a great month, but I didn't really spend a whole lot of time sewing.  It seems these days that most of my sewing is done on weekends or Mondays (my normal day off), but I went to China for work in August, so that chewed up two weekends - one for travel and one for jet lag.  I did stick to my list for the most part and here's the progress I made on my four goals: 

1. Frame/Finish another cross-stitch - done - here is a quick picture, but I will do another post with a full review. 

2. Get to 6 finished snowmen for the snowman quilt - I got to 5 finished snowmen with some fusing, button hole stitching, and hand sewing. 

3. Cut out a project to work on at work day/retreat - done - I cut out a hunter's star pattern that I've wanted to make for a while
4. Quilt a UFO - nope, didn't get this one done, but I did get the back made for the next quilt on my list. 

Here's the full (short) list of accomplishments for August: 
- Made another snowman to bring the group to 5 (picture above)
- Cut out and made a test block for hunter's star quilt
- Quilted blue and yellow top for my mom
- Made quilt back for the next UFO to be quilted
- Made flat fold for cross-stitch (picture above)

I know that September is going to be a pretty busy month for us too - and it seems like we have something almost each weekend, so I might need to get a little better about sewing a little bit during the week.  My goals for September are: 
1. Quilt my UFO that is hanging on the frame
2. Cut out a quilt with my Quick Curve Ruler
3. Finish baby blanket
4. Sew buttons and findings on all my "almost finished" cross stitch projects. 

Hope you had a good August and are enjoying September so far - it is beautiful here today with cooler, dry weather and we are enjoying having the windows open! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Stash Report - Week 34, 2014

After bringing home a bunch of fabric last weekend, I got going Monday morning to see if I could use some fabric. I started by looking for some fabric for the back of the quilt I made at my retreat last fall.  This is the quilt I want to finish so that I can take it back this year for show and tell. 
Quilt back
I also passed by some cute fabric in my stash that I decided would be good for a baby boy blanket. I got the semi-four patch made with flannel on Monday and then sent it off to my mom so she could embroider the baby's name on it before I put it together with a piece of cotton and burp it to make a blanket. 

I also pulled some other fabric to work on finishing a cross-stitch.  This is a new way of finishing a project that I haven't tried before, so I am anxious to see how it works. I will share pictures when I've gotten that together. 

I am only counting the Crossroads back and the baby quilt flannel this week because those are the only fabrics that I actually cut. I have a busy week this week, so am not sure I will get in much sewing, but at least I have a few things lined up when I have time! 

Fabric added this week: 0 yards
Fabric used this week: 4 7/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 36 5/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 46 1/2 yards

Net fabric used: 9 7/8 yards

I took a look at the same week last year to see how my numbers are, and found that I have bought more (almost x3) and used more (just a couple yards) than the same time last year.  I guess I am still being productive, but don't have quite the nice net total that I had at this time last year! 

Hope you had a great week with your stash! 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Quilts #12 & 13 - For my mom

My mom and I have a good trade going - she helps out a ton with our kids, house, and pets and in exchange I quilt her quilts for her (except the one she wants really fancy quilting on - and she pays for those!).  

She has been doing a great job this year of pulling out kits that she bought years ago and making them up, so she gave me a couple quilts in July to finish for her.  They were both pretty small and easy ones to quilt up and I enjoyed doing them. 
Quilt #12 is a wall hanging for Valentine's Day. I quilted it in a simple loops design, choosing not to go over the big hearts. I used Robison-Anton variegated cotton thread in the top and So Fine in the bobbin.  They were a great combination - I wish I could find more Robison-Anton cotton thread in my area because I really like how it works in my HQ. 

Quilt #13 is a lap/baby quilt that my mom made from a design that she made on EQ.  She has been working hard to learn how to use EQ this year and this quilt shows that off!  I used King Tut in the top and So Fine in the bobbin for this one.  I actually ran out of King Tut with just under a row to go, so I switched to a Permacore, which also worked very well. Unless someone looks really, really closely, they won't be able to tell that it has two different threads in it.  For this quilt, I did a large swirl all over the top, which seems to be my go-to pattern these days. The quilt back was a solid pale pink, so it shows off the quilting really well! 

Next up will be one of mine! I pulled fabric for the back earlier this week and plan to work on it this weekend. I want to get that one quilted and bound before our retreat to Shipshewana in October. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Quilt #11 - Honky Tonk

I was glad to cross the threshold of 11 quilts in July, as that is just over the halfway mark of my goal for this year.  This one was made in a hurry so that I could take it with me to Colorado and gift it to my long time friend Kristi while there.  

It is from one of the postcard patterns and is called Seashell by Villa Rosa Designs. I made it with parts from two charm packs of Honky Tonk by Julie & Eric Comstock.  The solid cream in it is American Made Brand fabric, which was a great deal at $7 a yard.  The fabric was a little thin, but it worked well other than that.  

I got this pieced into row before we went on vacation and we arrived home on Sunday and I was leaving for Colorado on Wednesday night - thank goodness I had Monday off so that I could work on it then.  I got it all pieced Monday morning, and then located a back that would almost fit - I pieced in another piece of fabric to make it work, and than piece wound up being at the very end when I rolled it on the frame, so wasn't in the finished back. 

For the quilting, I knew I would be quicker with an all-over pattern, so I did a loops and stars pattern across the top.  About halfway across, I realized that I had used the same quilting pattern for the baby quilt I made Kristi's daughter when she was born :)  I got the binding on but not sewn down before I headed to the airport, and my flight was delayed, so I hung out and bound like crazy!  I finished the last corner about 45 minutes before we landed in Denver. 

Kristi seemed to enjoy the quilt and used it quite a bit during our weekend together due to the chilly mornings and evenings in the mountains.  I used Warm and White batting and a variegated Lava in the top and So Fine in the bobbin.  Thanks to the suggestions from Jill to adjust my bobbin winder tension, I had almost no issues with loopies pulling through the back - thanks Jill!