2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Sunday, March 19, 2017

February 2017 Recipes

It's been a while since I posted any recipes we've been making. We've tried a few new dishes, but also have such a good collection of recipes now that we have a good rotation of meals with the existing recipes. Here are the new ones we tried last month: 

Let's start with Baked Ziti with Crumb Topping. This was in a "Meals in Minutes" article from a 2001 Family Circle! Now that's a recipe that's spent a while in the folder! This was good - the right amount of cheese and topping, and good flavor. It would be a great dish to bring along to a pot luck or for a big family dinner. 

Next up is one that will be hard to replicate.  It is called Grandma's Burrito Wraps and it was yummy. It is made with a mix packet from The Jam Farm in Michigan. I picked it up last summer when we were vacationing in the area. I should have gotten a couple spice packets! 

While we eat a lot of pork/ham in our house, we don't have pork chops very much, but I got a hankering for them a few weeks ago and found this great recipe for Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops. They were really tasty and had a nice cheesy crunch. This is the way to dress up a pork chop! 

Last up is Sausage Ziti Bake (that I had to make with Mostaciolli, since there was no ziti in the store!). It is from what is probably my favorite cookbook - the Fix It and Enjoy It Cookbook. We've had great luck with recipes from this cookbook and this one was no exception. 
In addition to these good recipes, we also enjoyed a variety of treats that my daughter has been cooking (no pictures of these) - muffins, samoa cookie bars, mint brownies...yum! 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

February 2017 Stash and UFO Report

Those of you who have read my monthly post about my accomplishments won't be surprised to read that I didn't make much difference in my stash this month. 

I used a little stash for the backs of my pillows. I am really pleased with how these turned out and look forward to getting over to Joann's so that I can pick up some pillow forms and get these on my couch. They should fit well in my living room. 
On the UFO front, APQ picked #8 and Judy Laquidara picked #9. I pulled them both out - #8 is an embroidery towel kit that I purchased several years ago. I got the design put onto the towel and it is now in my embroidery bag ready to go when I work on that next. My plan is to spend one stitching session on embroidery between each cross stitch project. #9 is my Chinese Coins quilt top that I made at my fall retreat last year. It is from batik scraps and is a small wall quilt - 24x20. I pulled a back for it and got it prepped and loaded on my quilt frame. I didn't touch it again for the rest of February, but last night I got to it and got it quilted and earlier today I got it bound. Now I just need to tie off threads from a few thread breaks and some intentional starts and stops. I should have a full picture by the end of the month. 

Here's the official stash report: 

Fabric added this month: 0 yards
Fabric used this month: 1 3/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 2 3/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 4 7/8 yards

Net fabric used: 2 1/8 yards

Saturday, March 4, 2017

February Accomplishments

It is a bit of a misnomer to title this blog post accomplishments, because it was a month of not much getting done on the crafting front. The weather here in February was unseasonably warm and I guess we spent more time out and about than hanging around the house. 

We finally finished painting my son's bedroom, a project started two years ago, then he had second thoughts...I finally talked him into letting us finish it and see how he liked it when it was all done, with a promise that we'd repaint if he didn't like it in the end. He does like it now that it's done - phew! Now we can move on to the next painting project - the living room/kitchen area. I've painted about 6 different squares on the wall, but can't quite find a shade I like. We have a cookie booth at Lowe's tomorrow, so I think I will look there and see if something else catches my eye. 
The new blue (please pardon the mess of a little boy's room)
On the sewing front, I had 4 1/2 hours in the sewing room. I worked on transferring Girl Scout patches from Junior sashes to Cadette sashes, helped my friend Pam load and quilt a top, pulled some fabric to work on a UFO, and finished up my pillows that I started in January - I just need to pick up pillow forms for them. I used a great tutorial on Moda Bake Shop for concealing the zipper and I think they turned out pretty well. The tutorial is in this post, which also has a really cute pillow!

Pam with her quilted top
A picture from the back so you can see the variety of quilting. 

Back of two pillows and front of the third
On the stitching front, it was a bit of a heartbreaking month. I got pretty far along with my Easter sampler called Primitive Egg, then realized that I had used two strands of floss in almost the whole thing instead of 1 strand. It really started to look to heavy as I started the alphabet, so I spent three stitching sessions ripping out. 
After all he ripping out :(
By the time I was done, I just needed to put it away for a while, so I pulled out one of the kits I planned to work on this year and got started on it. There's no picture with this one, but it looks like it is stitching up well - Lady Liberty - a kit from Janlynn that was given to me by another stitcher who was removing it from her stash. This one is going relatively quickly, so I hope to have a finish in March. Maybe after that, I will feel like going back to the Easter project. 
Although March is going to be a busy month, I hope to make some more time for crafting so that I have a little to show you in a few weeks! 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

January 2017 Stash Report

I was pretty busy in January making my tuffet, finishing up a UFO, and starting on a new project (pictures in my last post) which also resulted in some stash usage. I offset the usage with some new purchases. 

I don't mind a few purchases from time to time, especially when you can take advantage of a sale (I got the Frivol for $13 since I had a full punch card at a shop having a sale!). My plan is to make a couch caddy with the sewing themed fabric and to make the quilt from the Frivol at my spring retreat. Let's see if I remember by May that that was my plan! 

Here's the accounting: 

Fabric used this month: 3 1/2 yards
Fabric added this month: 2 3/4 yards

Fabric used year to date: 3 1/2 yards
Fabric added year to date: 2 3/4 yards

Net fabric used: 3/4 yard 

Plenty of time left this year to boost those numbers! 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

January 2017 Report

This year has started off well on the crafty side for me. Really, it has been good all around, but I am particularly pleased with the amount of time I've made for my favorite hobbies! 

I started off the year by trying to finish up a few things from prior years. I showed you a few of them in my December accomplishments post. I also spent some time doing some ornament finishing and finally have a few of last year (and the year before)'s pieces ready to hang on the tree or be displayed around the house. 

Once I got these ornaments finished, I let myself start something from my 2017 bag of projects (remember all the ones I purchased threads and fibers for back in early December?). I pulled out this kit thinking it would be relatively quick and it was - but I have to say I am not a big fan of the burlap style fabric and perle cotton. I like how the finished piece looks, but I don't plan to buy any more from this series. This is Candy Corn of Mischief by Bent Creek. I've already passed it on to my mom so she can stitch it next.

Right as I finished that kit, the JSC Ornaments facebook group selected their ornaments for 2017. I swore I wasn't going to stitch along this year - but once they picked the ornaments, they were so cute, I went right over to my local shop and bought the issue! I started in with Blue Snowman, the ornament selected for January, and finished it up in two stitching sessions. I am going to try to be a little more like Carol this year and do my finishing as I complete my stitching...the best laid plans, right?  It was snowing as I took this picture, so the white you see behind the piece is real snow, as is the snowflake at the bottom center of the photo. I think this snowman is adorable, can't wait to hang this one on my tree! 

 Now we'll move on to the quilting activities for January - I started by working on a UFO - Judy Laquidara picked #3, and I was more motivated to work on that than I was #6, which APQ picked. It only took me about an hour to finish this card holder! I had all the pieces, just needed to put them together and bind it. I noticed after doing the embroidery on it that I'd sewn the ornaments together in the wrong order (there isn't supposed to be a big gap between 1 and 2, and the last one should have some space between it and the border), but I decided done is better than perfect, and even though I will notice it, it won't drive me crazy (hopefully!), so it's done! One UFO down, a couple dozen to go! You can see it here with a card in it. I need to get a dowel and a nice ribbon so that it is ready to go next holiday season. 
Right after I finished this, it was time to get going on a class I signed up for to make a tuffet. We met on week one to learn how to do the foundation piecing, and then sewed 8 wedges with 8 pieces each (that's a lot of sewing!). On week 2, we came back together and finished our tuffets. I picked out a jelly roll for mine that I've had in my stash for ages. I originally bought it for a workshop, but for some reason, I decided not to use it then. I am glad I didn't, I think it looks great as a tuffet. The tuffet is still waiting patiently in my basement until I pick up some Scotchguard so that it doesn't get grimy. I told my son he can't put his grubby feet on it :) 
My finished tuffet
The group of tuffeteers (and our teacher in the front row center. 
 The last project I worked on in January was a set of pillows. I picked up this fabric in December when I went with my mom for her birthday shopping. I have all three pillowtops pieced and quilted, so now just need to finish them into pillows. The colors will go with the colors in my living room and I think they will bring a nice, but subtle, pop of color. 

I also did a little shopping in January - I took my mom to Cincinnati for a Garth Brooks concert. I've wanted to see him since about 1994, so I was so glad to finally see one of his shows. We had a great time and stopped at two quilt shops on the way, then dropped a small fortune in our favorite Ohio stitching shop, Keepsakes. I tried not to buy too much...but it was hard to pass up the good stuff! The project folders in the stitching folder are from The Container Store, and a little of the stitching stuff is from my local store at their Super Bowl Sale, which happened last weekend. 
Stitching purchases in January
Quilting purchases
After all of that, my sewing/quilting hours in January really added up - I wound up with 18 1/2 hours - about half of that was related to the tuffet, but I am still pleased with the remainder. I spent some portion of 9 days in my sewing studio, and I stitched all but about 4 or 5 days. It was a great start to the year - how was yours? 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

December Cooking

We tried a few new recipes in December, most of them related to the holidays. I was a little lax in taking photos, so you'll have to use your imagination for a few of them. 

We started off the month with a tasty meal called Cuban Pork, from the Quilter's Cuisine cookbook from the Central Florida Quilt Guild, a gift from a friend who use to be part of that quilt guild. This one had lots of easy ingredients and was pretty easy - throw everything into a ziploc bag and let it marinate for a day, and then roast it. The pork was pretty tasty and is a nice way to dress up a plain pork tenderloin. 
Early in the month, Jenna decided she wanted to make a new dessert for dinner with our friends, and after looking through the dessert recipe folder, she decided on Apple Crisp with Oat Topping. She powered through peeling the apples, and then had some help from her dad when he decided to see if he could peel apples with his drill (it worked!). With the speed of peeling via drill, it made the whole process a lot quicker! 
The next one I have a picture of is the pie I made for Christmas dinner - it is the Southern Pecan Pie from Fix-it and Enjoy-it Cookbook, one that we go back to time and again. I also made the pie crust (and I am not great at them) from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Clearly, I need a little more practice to make my pie crusts pretty, but the taste is okay, and the pie turned out well overall. 
In addition to the pie, we were busy making cookies the week before Santa arrived. I planned to get a nice picture of the cookies out for Santa, but I totally forgot in all the activity on Christmas Eve. We tried three new recipes - Sugar Cookies from a cookbook my mom gave Jenna, No Bake Cocoa Bourbon Balls (this recipe plus 1/4 cup bourbon), and Outrageous Cookie Bars. They were all great, but I have to admit I liked the bourbon balls most of all! 

My husband also did some Christmas Eve cooking, as he made his mom's Sweet and Sour Meatballs, a recipe that she's made for years on Christmas Eve. When she didn't feel like cooking this year, his sister took on the coffee cake recipe (she makes one for each family to eat on Christmas morning) and he took on the meatballs. He had to do a little running around to find the right kind of jelly (I can't even remember what kind of jelly he used, but it is unusual), but they turned out great. It turns out she had two different recipes and the one she had given me wasn't the "right" one, but one of his sisters came to the rescue and provided him with the right recipe in time for him to get the meatballs made. They bubbled away in the crock pot all afternoon and slowly disappeared! 

Hope you all enjoyed some old standbys and some new treats over the holidays! 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2017 Goals

Well, we are a couple weeks into the new year and it has started off pretty well for me - a few days off at the start, and then back into work and nicely busy. This weekend was a good one to pick up the holiday decorations and take out the tree, but I've left a few decorations up that are more winter than Christmas. Even so, the house always looks quite bare after the Christmas decorations come down. 

On to the goals part - I am not sure how a goal is that much different than a resolution, but I like that word better, so that's what I will use. This year, I am going to use the same concept for my goals as we're using at work - prioritize and focus. So, fewer overall goals, and hopefully a better ability to focus on them. 

Let's start with the crafting goals: 
1. On the quilting side, I am working again to finish up some UFOs, especially as my list of unfinished projects has gotten longer, so I will again participate in the APQ UFO Challenge and also Judy Laquidara's UFO Challenge. I only have one list, so I will have two numbers to choose from each month :) I'd like to get more than 6 of the 12 completed. 
2017 Quilting UFOs
2. Stitch What I've Bought - I have so many charts, magazines, and a few kits, and I really want to focus this year on stitching things I've already got! To aid me in this, I spent some time a few weeks ago and pulled out all my patterns, sorted them by season/occasion, and selected the ones I want to work on next year. Then, I dug through my relatively small stash of linens and found which would work with patterns I'd chosen, and then dug through my specialty threads to see what I'd need to finish these pieces. I wound up with a healthy list that I took with me to House of Stitches after a trip to South Bend, Indiana to see the Downton Abbey costumes. House of Stitches is a great store with a fabulous selection of linens, threads, and patterns (and I hear from my mom that they do great mail-order business). I tried not to even look at the patterns so that I could stick to my plan for 2017 and I did well! Here are the charts, threads, and linens for my 2017 stitching projects. I might not get through all of them, and I might sneak a few others in between, but I feel good that I am all set to work on all of these projects. 
Stitching project priorities for this year!

New Linens
New threads

That's it for the crafting goals - I still fully expect to quilt several quilts on my HQ, and I plan to do some crocheting, but I will fit them in when I am in the mood! 

On the personal front, I want to continue with some things that started last year, but with a little extra focus. 
1) Paint - This falls into the home improvement category. Several items in our home need paint...the exterior, our family room, our remodeled bathroom, and my son's room, and all of these spaces have needed paint for at least 6 months. 
2) Get up and Get Out - This continues my goal from last year to swim more. I want to do more exercise from home - walking and biking primarily. I want to get moving more often, even when the weather isn't great. 

So, that's it - short and sweetly focused goals - I will let you know through my monthly accomplishment posts how it's going!