2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Sunday, September 1, 2019

August 2019

Boy, did August go by quickly! Our kids were back to school at the beginning of the month and so we returned to the school-year routine. I spent most of my month stitching in August, and my mom and I hosted our second year of the Indy Summer Stitchers retreat. We had a great time hosting 29 stitchers from all over the midwest (and one from Arizona!) for a 3-day weekend of relaxing, laughing, snacking, and of course stitching. We had a great group of women again this year and enjoyed a fabulous show and tell (you can see the show and tell in my Instagram stories - @jenquilter). 

While most of my focus was on stitching this month, I did finish one UFO - I was sewing binding down yesterday, and am happy to show off this quilt, with a name to be determined (the working name has been Santorini houses, as Santorini is the name of the fabric line I used).  I made this quilt several years ago from a pattern on Moda Bake Shop and have known for at least a couple years how I wanted to quilt it. I finally took a deep breath, loaded it on the frame, and quilted in the names of all the streets where I have lived. Each little "neighborhood" has a different street name. I connected them with trees, bushes, or flowers. After auditioning lots of options for the binding, I decided I wanted a nice clean finish, so I made a faced binding. I still need to add the label and hanging sleeve, but I am considering this one finished and I love how it turned out! 

This street got a pine tree because we had a pine tree right outside our front gate when we lived there!
On the stitching front, I finished up Snow White by Little House Needleworks before the retreat. I stitched this project with B5200 on a mystery navy linen that was in my stash. It took me some time to get the fabric and light situated so that I could see reliably. I really like how this looks and also like that it will be a good winter decoration. 

I also finished my monthly Lizzie Kate Flip-It for August and I think it is pretty cute. This took up my first afternoon and evening at retreat. After it was done, then I moved on to three new starts! 

I finished up one of those new starts on Friday night. It is the third Hands On Design Year of Chalk pieces I've finished. I don't know if I will do anymore, but each of the three I've done will help fill in some decorations in the months between big holidays. I have the board that she used on the pattern for finishing, and my goal is to get the three fully finished before the end of the year. 

I also finished up some crochet this month - my second blanket square for the Veteran's Day project at work. It is now at my moms pinned to the blocking board. This one needed a little more work to block nicely, so I hope it will look nice when it dries. The pattern is called Lemon Peel and it was certainly quick and easy to crochet. 

Finally, the reports...stash report didn't move too much this month - I gave my mom some fabric so she could make a cross stitch project bag, and I used a little for my binding.
Fabric added this month: 0 yards
Fabric used this month 1/2 yard
Fabric added year to date: 4 1/2 yards
Fabric used year to date:  32 3/yards
Net fabric used: 28 1/8 yards

I had pretty good success with my crafting days this month - it was tough to get them all in with back-to-school activities, but still a good total: 
Days crafting this month: 21/31 = 68%

As I type this, I have the suitcase open and have started packing - I will be on the road for the next three weeks with just a quick trip home in the middle - I have some stitching and crochet packed and ready to keep me occupied in the hotel and on the plane. Hope you all have a good September! 

Linking up with Kate at Life in Pieces for the 15-minutes a day challenge and 
with Donna at quiltpaintcreate for Sunday stash report

Sunday, August 4, 2019

July 2019

Wow, July was such a great month. In some ways it went quickly and in other ways it seems to go on for a long time - I think that's what happens in the middle of summer! I had the first week of the month off work, and managed to do some crafting and exercise almost every day. The whole company was closed for the week which made all the difference - no email and no feeling of needing to jump in and just answer a few questions. This led to plenty of time at the start of the month to catch up on some projects and that carried through the month. 

Let's start with stitching...I actually did some finishing! Hooray! My goal this year is to finish 2 pieces for every one I start and I spent much of the first half of the year working on UFOs, so it wasn't hard to keep to that goal...well, now that I have finished all but one of my UFOs (and I can't even find that one!), I am going to have to keep on it a little more. Here are the four pieces I finished this month - it was my first time framing and although I can certainly make some improvements, I am thrilled with how these little pieces turned out - each one is a 2x2" opening in the frame. 

Then, I pulled out this pillow, which has only needed the bow attached for months, and added the bow. Thanks to Vonna's bow tutorial, I think it turned out pretty well. 
The last thing I finished are my two oldest unfinished projects as far as I can figure - I took some time at the turn of the year to put together a spreadsheet with all my projects and when and how I finished them - these were stitched in 2011 and 2012. I've done a lot between then and now so I still have lots of finishing to do to catch me up! I put these right up on the family room mantel when I finished them and I really like the bright pop of summery color. These are both Lizzie Kate boxer designs, and I saw yesterday that they are still available at House of Stitches (just in case you want to do some shopping!). These were finished into cubes, also a Vonna tutorial. I may still add some ribbon or embellishment to the top, but they are hanging out like this for now.

So, that was some good finishing progress, and I also made some great progress on finishing the stitching on four pieces! Three of the four are Lizzie Kate - my June and July monthly flip-its, and a cute ornament, and the fourth is my Bloom project, which I started before Stitch Maynia last year! I have worked on it on and off and am so glad to have it done. I took it with me yesterday and wasn't able to find a frame that really works well with it, so I will keep on trying until I find something. 

Whew, that's a lot of stitching - the kids and I have been working through the TV series Glee so I have had lots of couch time and I think I've made the best of it! The longer summer nights don't hurt either.

Next up, a little crochet. I finished the crochet work for this back in March-ish, but have dilly-dallied with getting it blocked and putting the buttons on - I spent an afternoon with my mom early in the month and was able to block it at her house and then finished it up a few weeks ago. You can see the pattern better while it was being blocked. I look forward to using this in the fall and winter. It is the Autumn Leaf Cowl and the best part is that I used stash yarn! 

I also finished a crochet blanket square but forgot to get a picture of it - I am working on a second one now, so I will get them together when I finish that one. 

On the quilting front there was one and only one goal at the start of the month - get my coworker's t-shirt quilt done! I made the back, quilted, and bound it and had it ready for her when we got back from our summer shutdown. Good news is that she loves it. :)  I put super soft fabric on the back and it is so cozy, so I hope she will enjoy it for many years. 
The next project on the quilting front was two selvage bags - I started to make one, but then stitched the selvage panel incorrectly, so wound up with two! The pattern is from the book Everyday Handmade, and I found it pretty fun to make, although the prep work for the selvages is pretty involved. In the end, I think they are really cute and now I am looking for a good way to use them. 
 Last up in my quilting projects is my Santorini Houses quilt. This was a pattern from the Moda Bake Shop and I made it several years ago. I have known for at least two years how I wanted to quilt it, but I was chicken...so I put on my big girl panties and got it loaded and quilted. If you click on the picture, you can see a few more details, but I will try to show more when it is fully finished. I quilted the name of each street I've lived on under each set of houses and then stitched trees, bushes, and flowers in between. I am really pleased with how it turned out and now am on the hunt for a good binding. My plan is to have it done in August so that it is ready to bring to my fall retreat for show and tell. 

Hope you had a good July too - all the stats are below :) 
Stash Report: Great month for the stash report too - I gave some fabric to a friend to use in her classroom and donated a chunk of old fat quarters to the guild, which contributed to a nice jump in the used number

Added this month: 0 yards
Used this month: 12 3/8 yards 
Added year to date: 4 1/4 yards
Used year to date: 31 7/8 yards

Net fabric used: 27 5/8 yards
Linking up with Donna at quiltpaintcreate
15 Minutes a Day: The best month so far! 
I stitched, quilted, or crocheted for at least 15 minutes 28 out of 31 days in July, for a 90% success rate. 
Linking up with Kate at Life in Pieces

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Great Eastern Road Trip

Warning - photo heavy post!  I whittled down what I could, but there were a lot of pictures over two weeks.

On June 14, we picked up a rented RV (for the second time) and headed out on a road trip to show our kids and see for ourselves some of the amazing sights and historical locations this country has to share.  My husband is the route planner and camping reservation king, so he knew where we needed to go and when we needed to be there. I tagged along for the ride - haha, just kidding. I was responsible for all the prep and planning outside of the camping reservations (aren't we moms usually the ones who handle all the details, like reminding everyone to bring raincoats?).

Our rental unit this time was a 29-foot Class C RV, which means that it is all contained in one vehicle. The nice part of that is that you have several places to sit while on the road, you can create at least one bed (important with teenagers) with a seatbelt, and it is easy to stop and eat along the way. The downside of a 29-footer is that it is a lot to handle when you're in smaller towns and on narrow roads (or trying to clear low bridges!), and once you're parked, you have to move everything to go anywhere. Overall, it was the best choice for our family and we enjoyed this one just as much as our last one.
Our home for two weeks
We started our trip near Cleveland, OH at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I did a little research and found that it was easy to hit the two park highlights in one day - first was the Ledges hike - a beautiful hike around a rock formation that led to a nice overlook.  The second is Brandywine falls.  We enjoyed that the weather was cool so the hike was easily done in long pants and lightweight jackets. The views were really amazing along the hike and the kids really enjoyed scrambling around and in between all the rocks. The waterfall was great too - this spring of heavy rains made it a very full waterfall.

Ready for our first hike!

The Ledges Hike at Cuyahoga Valley NP

Brandywine Falls at Cuyahoga Valley NP
 After a good hike and a nice visit of the falls, we headed for New York and Niagara Falls. I was the only one who had been there before, and when I was, I'd seen them from the Canadian side. We were all looking forward to a day of exploring the falls. We tried to go the evening we arrived to see the light show and fireworks, but rain and trouble parking waylaid us, so we went back, slept well, and did our research for the next morning so we could easily get to the RV parking. The falls did not disappoint - we spent about half a day there and really enjoyed watching the water and seeing the falls up close on Maid of the Mist, the boat ride that goes into the falls.

Niagara Falls from the American side
 After leaving Niagara, we drove a few hours east and stayed in the Finger Lakes region of New York. We were hoping to do some more hiking, but heavy rain encouraged us to stay put for a while. As we had really weak wifi that afternoon and evening, we all enjoyed some reading and non-connected activities.  After dinner, the rain cleared and we spent some time out by Seneca Lake (our campground had lakefront access) skipping rocks and enjoying a beautiful sunset.

Sunset at Seneca Lake
 Monday morning brought a drive to Albany, New York to visit the Schuyler Mansion, childhood home of Eliza Hamilton (A. Ham's wife). Jenna was so excited to see this home, as she loves everything Hamilton, and especially has enjoyed learning about the confident, intelligent young women of the Schuyler family. We were treated to a private tour of the home (they are normally closed, but one of their historians agreed to give us a tour once he read Jenna's letter about how much she wanted to see the home) and it was fantastic.
Jenna in her element at the Schuyler Mansion
 We spent the night in the same area, had a lovely campground on the Mohawk river, and headed out the next morning toward Vermont and then New Hampshire. We stopped to see the Bennington Monument in Vermont and then had a lovely drive to get us to our State Park campground in New Hampshire. We were really in the middle of nowhere there and the park was almost empty on a Tuesday afternoon. I think it was the quietest night I can remember!

Bennington Monument in Bennington, VT

Jack having a little fun
New Hampshire hike - our first warm/muggy day of the trip!
 The next morning dawned bright and sunny and we started the long trek north to Acadia National Park in Maine. It was a full day of driving, and we were in and out of rain showers, but were greeted with a lovely evening at our campsite just across the bay from Mount Desert Island. We were all tired and excited to see the park the next day. The morning was a little overcast and foggy, but we headed out anyway and did the Scenic Loop. The sky was full of fog and we had light rain most of the day, but it didn't stop us from enjoying the park, I think one of the best in the country. We had two full days at Acadia and made the best of the rainy/overcast weather with several hikes, some driving, and some good food. We all had our fill of lobster and crab and even did a little shopping in Bar Harbor, where we saw a cruise ship docked for the day.

One of many rocky beaches at Acadia

Stone bridge in the park

The harbor (and cruise ship in the background) at Bar Harbor, ME

Jenna enjoying a Popover at Jordan Pond House, Acadia NP

Great views and a happy hiker at Acadia NP
 As we said goodbye to Maine, we all looked forward to seeing a little more of New England. We stopped in Plymouth, MA on our way south to see Plymouth Rock. There was a ranger there who told us what was fable and what was true about the rock and the stories we hear (hint, most of it is fable). We stayed in Mass. for the night and then decided to take a trip to Newport, Rhode Island. It was a busy Sunday there with gorgeous weather, which made it a little tough to navigate an RV. We eventually found a parking lot that would take us and then enjoyed a lovely cruise of the harbor. There are many mansions along the water, and a lot of rich history in this town. It has over 300 colonial homes that have been preserved, and it is pretty amazing to walk by house after house built in the 1700s!
Plymouth Rock (date carved many years later)

Scenic Cruise in Newport, RI - the sailboat in the picture has raced for the America's Cup!
 The next day was one of memories for me - my grandmother lived in Budd Lake, NJ when I was a kid and that's where we always went to visit her. We took an afternoon for the tour of this area, including a stop on the rock behind her apartment where my brother and I played for many, many hours. We also had pizza at her favorite pizza place (which has been there 41 years!) and visited the cemetery where she, my grandfather, and many other relatives are buried. It was a good day to relive good memories from my childhood and share some with my children.
My favorite rock - Budd Lake, NJ
 The last leg of our trip took us through Pennsylvania - we started in Philadelphia, where we squeezed in as many historic sights as we could in two days, then went to Gettysburg, and finished up with a somber trip to the Flight 93 memorial. Philadelphia was great! It had warmed up by the time we arrived there, but the air was mostly dry and we were in and out of air conditioning most of the day. The kids really enjoyed seeing so many important places in our nation's history and they also enjoyed some great food! After Philly, we toured the battlegrounds at Gettysburg and really were amazed at the size and scale of the battles - we all appreciated learning more about the history of this important place. The last stop on our drive home was near Shanksville, PA to see the Flight 93 memorial. It was a somber place, much like Gettysburg. The national park service has done a wonderful job of paying homage to the passengers who saved that plane from hitting another major landmark. I was really impressed with the volunteers who are there to tell stories from the planes, who know a little bit (or a lot) about all 40 of the victims, and who help us understand the importance of what they did that day, knowing they would probably lose their lives in the process.
Independence Hall, Philadelphia

The room where the Constitutional Congress met and signed the Constitution, Philadelphia

Liberty Bell, Philadelphia

A monument at Gettysburg National Battlefield

Monuments for all soldiers and many battalions line the battlefield at Gettysburg

Flight 93 Visitor Center and flight path (in dark grey)
 We left the flight 93 area in early afternoon and headed for home, two weeks from the day we left. We had a wonderful time, saw some beautiful parts of our country, and got along pretty well for being together in a small space all that time! Hope you enjoyed the pictures - we look forward to doing probably one more big trip before the kids head off to college, so let me know if you have any suggestions for where we should go next!
Home late with a happy cat! 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

June 2019 Recap

Hi all and Happy Independence Day for those in the US. It has been a great week for me as I am coming off two weeks of family vacation (will save that for a separate post) and have this week off of work for a company shutdown. This is the first year my company has offered a summer shutdown and I am loving it! In addition to giving me time to finish all the vacation laundry, it has given me time to stitch, quilt, and crochet, along with catching up with a few shows on Netflix. 

I am getting ahead of myself though, as I wanted to share what I did in June! It was a tale of two halves of the month - the first half which included some good stitching time, and the second half, which was vacation. I did take a few projects with me on vacation and I had one stitching finish, which is my only one for the month. This is the Mill Hill Menorah kit that I will give a friend for Hanukkah. She loves to collect menorahs, so I will make this into a magnet she can put on her fridge. 

On the quilting front, I worked on a project from my 12 Things list and a UFO this month. Let's start with the UFO. I made this mini quilt called Periwinkle at one of my quilt retreats several years ago. I had no idea when I selected and cut the green fabric that it would come together so well in the piecing! I didn't know how to quilt it so it sat (like so many of my UFOs), but I put it on the frame and started and it was done in less than an hour! I was glad to find some complimentary green in my stash for the binding, and had this one done by the second Saturday of June. 

The other project I worked on is the t-shirt quilt for my friend at work. It is a semi-commission quilt, as she will pay me for the materials and quilting. I had been slowly working through stabilizing the t-shirts over the last few months and decided to see how they'd all fit together. Imagine my surprise/pleasure when they nested together just about perfectly! There was one extra t-shirt that didn't fit, but she didn't mind leaving it out. I was really happy to get the top done in June and I also got a fuzzy backing for it so it would be ready to quilt when I returned from vacation. 

After that, we headed out on vacation and I did just a little stitching and crochet while on the road. More to show on those next month. I did visit one quilt shop along the way and picked up a few fat quarters. I let my mom pick two and she kept the top two. 

Overall, I had 7 3/4 hours of quilting in June and crafted 16/30 days for a 53% crafty rate - my lowest month for the year, but that's okay. Glad to still have half of the days with a needle, thread, or fabric in my hands! 

For the stash report, I used a little more than I added, so I am still moving in the right direction: 
Fabric added this month: 1/2 yard
Fabric used this month: 3/4 yard
Fabric added year to date: 4 1/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 19 1/2 yards
Net fabric used: 15 1/4 yards

Hope you had a great June - I will be back soon with vacation pics and a mid-year check-in of my progress on my goals and lists for the year. 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

May 2019 Wrap-up

May 2019 was a great month - very busy, but lots going on and I participated in StitchMaynia again this year. StitchMaynia is done many different ways, but the most common is to have 1 start per day in May (and stitch every day).  Last year, I started 18 project in the first 18 days of the month (for 2018). Over the past year, I've worked on finishing them and completed all but 1 before this May. I also have the project that I started before Maynia last year, so I decided to focus this year on just three projects - the one Maynia start not yet finished, the pre-Maynia start, and my monthly Lizzie Kate Flip-It. I switched projects about once a week - not methodically, but just when I felt like switching up what I was working on. 
2019 StitchMaynia Projects
I am pleased to share that I finished two of the three - my May flip-it and Cozy In, a Mill Hill kit. I made good progress on Bloom, the third piece, as well. I stitched 25/31 days - some days just for a few minutes, but it was great to put so much focus on the stitching. 
May Flip-it
Cozy In (complete with beads)
Bead close-up
On the quilting side, I did almost all of my quilting for the month at my retreat - I did quilt Square Dance before retreat, and I worked on a t-shirt quilt a little the last two weeks. The t-shirt quilt is on my "12 Things" list for the year, and it is for a co-worker, so I want to get that finished soon. 

My stash report is pretty good for May since I focused on sewing up existing projects at retreat and I resisted the urge to buy pretty new fabric. My only addition is 1/2 yard of challenge fabric for the next challenge. With all that I got done and some fabric I sold at the sale table, I more than doubled my amount used for the year! 

Fabric added this month: 1/2 yard
Fabric used this month: 9 3/8 yards
Fabric added year to date: 3 3/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 18 3/4 yards

Net fabric used: 15 yards! 

I crafted 26/31 days this month for 84% crafty days. Most of those were cross stitch days due to Maynia. 

Hope you had a great May and are having a good start to June! 

I am linking up with Kate at Life in Pieces and quiltpaintcreate for Stash Sunday