Sunday, August 23, 2015

Stash Report, Weeks 31-34, 2015

I've had lot of activity in my stash over the last few weeks. There was some fabric in and some fabric cut, some fabric used, and some donated to my guild. 

I decided to join a mystery quilt. I've made a couple in the past - one I loved and still hang regularly in the house, and another I didn't care for, so re-purposed and made into another quilt (see my posts from the mystery quilt redo). I also participated in Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street Mystery quilt a few years ago (it is on my frame being quilted right now). It is time to do it again, so I went through my stash and picked out a focus fabric and then picked some others to go with it. I wound up with two printed cottons and two batiks. Here are all the pieces ready for their clues. This is the Midnight Mystery from Meadow Mist Designs - and we're only one clue into it so there is still lots of time to join along! 

I also continued on my quest to make up kits and got one of my row by row kits put into a table runner top - I'll share a picture of that as I get it quilted (hopefully soon!). 

I did add a little fabric over the last couple weeks. I found another great bag pattern and picked up some cotton and denim to make it, then a week later found Essex Linen, which is what I wanted to make it with in the first place :) 
Here's the final report: 
Fabric added last four weeks: 2 1/2 yards
Fabric used last four weeks: 8 3/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 8 7/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 124 1/4 yards

Net fabric used: 115 3/8 yards

I think that's a pretty good report -- now I just have to finish the quilt on the frame so that I can move on to the next one! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

July 2015 Accomplishments

July was another fairly quiet month in my sewing room, which is okay with me because I spent a fair amount of time stitching this month and got through some good TV :-)

I continue to work on a few ongoing projects - so haven't recorded them as completions, but I keep moving them along one step at a time. This month, I pushed forward with my string blocks (I am doing a good job at making a few each month), my Christmas kit that was started at retreat in March, quilting UFOs, and working through kits. 

In July, I had hoped to get one of my projects done, and I got really close...but the month ended just short.  That should mean good things for August, right? 

I did get a few things done: 
- Cut more string block foundations so I am set for several months
- Made 2 string blocks in tan/cream
- Loaded and started quilting my Easy Street quilt
- Made a Santa ornament from a kit I got on a shop hop in 2005(!) - okay, I guess this counts as getting one project done!! 

I spent a total of 13 1/2 hours sewing/quilting during July, which is about the norm these days. 

I finished two stitching projects in July - one kit and one from a pattern. 

My newest kit - Give Thanks - I bought this earlier this year and it was easy to grab when headed out of town for a work trip. I finished it in four days! I love being able to stitch and listen to podcasts on the airplane. 

Baby sampler for my friend's newest - this is a Lizzie Kate pattern that my mom had and she wound up stitching it this summer too! I love the colors in this - even brighter in person - and I now need to dig out some good fabric to give it a nice fabric frame and send it to its recipient. 

I am continuing to putter my way through August and I have new quilting and stitching kits underway, so I should have more to share soon! 

Friday, August 14, 2015

July 2015 Cooking Challenge

I set out with renewed resolve in July to dig back into some cookbooks and pull out some recipes to expand our palates a little more. I start out each week with a goal to balance beef, chicken, pork, fish/shrimp, and pasta. Sometimes I do better than others, and I think this month was a pretty good balance.  In addition to trying the new recipes below, we revisited Chicken Meatballs, Trout Almondine, and Glamour Salmon and I think we liked them all about the same as we did the first time around!

New recipes for this month were:

Pioneer Woman's Blackberry Cobbler - when our best friends went away for the week with a blooming blackberry bush, we had the go-ahead to stop by and pick all we wanted. We did that, enjoyed a few handfuls of blackberries, and put the rest into this easy cobbler, which was also quite delicious.

General Tso's Chicken Wraps - from our Trader Joe's cookbook. I love the similar wraps at that well known Chinese chain and these didn't disappoint a bit! They were a perfect summer dinner and I will build them into our rotation.

East-West Flank Steak Wraps - I had trouble tracking down a flank steak, but wound up finding another cut of meat that worked just as well. However, the seasoning on this one was a little too strong and we decided that we liked other wrap and/or steak sandwich recipes much better, so this one will be recycled.

Chicken Noodle Casserole - When I went to Shipshewana for my retreat last fall, we received a coupon for a free bag of homemade noodles. They've been in the pantry ever since and I had a sudden hankering for them.  This casserole had two cans of Golden Mushroom soup, which gave it the orange tinge. It was tasty (and the noodles were great), but I think next time, I will revert back to the traditional casserole with the white sauce. This one also came from a cookbook - Mary Englebreit's Fan Fare.

Chicken Burgers - the last recipe I pulled for the month was an online recipe pulled in desperation one night when I had to pull something together. I had planned to make another recipe, but didn't have one of the key ingredients, so I looked up something that I could do with ground chicken and common ingredients around the house. I found this recipe and it was delicious!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Stash Report - Weeks 28-30, 2015

Both of my stash usages over these last few weeks have been in support of some of my goals for the year - it is nice when it works out that way!  

First up is my string blocks - I cut a few more foundations so that I am ready to go for the next few months, and I also made the two blocks for this month in the cream colorway.  

On the other goal, I pulled out and started working on a bunny table runner kit. My mom and dad gave this to me for Christmas several years ago (I only know that because the tag was in the bag with the kit!). I am close to finished on it - down to the hand sewing at the end now. 

Here's the accounting: 

Fabric added last 3 weeks: 0 yards
Fabric used last 3 weeks: 1 1/2 yards

Fabric added year to date: 6 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 115 7/8 yards 

Net fabric used: 109 1/2 yards

I am tracking really well on both the additions and the usage compared to prior years - I've usually added at least 2 or 3 times the amount of fabric and have used about 1/2 as much, so I am really happy with the progress this year. 

Hope you had a great week with your stash! 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

June 2015 Accomplishments

June was a fun month in our house as we ended a school year and the kids started some new summer camps. I am glad to report that everyone enjoyed where they were despite some rain. I also accepted a new position at work, so I was busy wrapping up my old job to get ready for the new one at the end of the month.  The exciting news is that the new job will come with some travel (in the US), which I am looking forward to in August (I may not be as excited once I've done the 5:50 am flight a few times!). 

In June, most of my sewing happened during the weekends, but I am pleased with what I got done: 
- Made two zip bags for our guild shop at the semiannual quilt show (coming up this October!)
- Finished teacher gifts - a quilt for my daughter's teacher, a fabric bowl for my son's teacher, and a fabric box for the bus driver. (and all before school got out!) 
- Made orange and teal-blue string blocks
- Made 2 trip around the world blocks for Diana's Golden Needle
- I also continued to work on my applique Christmas quilt, which I haven't taken a picture of recently - I think I will hold this one for the final reveal when I get the top done. I am getting some good practice with my Scan'n Cut machine with this one, as there are lots of pieces! 

In my stitching adventures, I finished two kits: 
- Firenze stamped cross-stitch
- Alphabet Sampler embroidery

My list for July is fairly short - I want to get one project done - no specificity on which one, but one of my kits. I have three in progress, so there are a lot to choose from! 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

June 2015 Recipes

We are still working to add a few new recipes into the rotation each month, along with eating some of our favorites. It is hard to believe that we've been doing this for three years now - the variety of foods we eat has certainly increased, and I am please to say that the grocery bill is about the same.  We also go out to eat less, because I am more intentional about planning the menus for the week before I go to the grocery store. We certainly still have nights where no one feels like cooking, but they are more like once or twice a month now instead of once or twice a week! 

Four new recipes got added to the rotation this month, but only two pictures taken: 

Hidden Valley Grilled Chicken - this is a really easy recipe and Mike was surprised we hadn't made it yet. I think this is the same recipe that my neighbor uses and we have liked it at her house and liked it at ours too! This is a great grill recipe and I know we'll be making up more soon. 

Italian Sausage Lasagna - this was a recipe sponsored by Johnsonville. I didn't find their sausage at the grocery store, but what I did find worked very well. The primary difference from this to other lasagna recipes was the mix of sausage and ground beef (which we loved).  I am not sure it was really any better than other lasagna recipes, and the print on the recipe was tiny! We will go back to my aunt's recipe next time with the mix of meats and see if that's any better or about the same.  If they are both the same, we'll go for the larger print recipe!

Quicker Pork Chops over Stuffing - Next up for dinners was one from the 2000 Quick Cooking recipes book that we originally used in March 2013. This one was great. The kids didn't care for the stuffing, but they did like the chops, so it is easy to adapt for the whole family.

Mrs. Truman's Coconut Balls - I made these "cookies" for a work pitch-in and they were very easy, if a little messy.  I added dried cherries to half of them and left half plain.  They were both pretty tasty! 

Off to pick out a few new recipes for July!

Stash Report - Weeks 23-27, 2015

It has been a month since I did my last stash report, and there has been a little activity, but not too much. I don't have any looming deadlines, so I've been puttering around. 
My zip bags
Over the past 4 weeks, I've made zip bags with my bee for our donation to the guild shop at our quilt show (which is coming up in October - more info here), teacher gifts, foundation for my string blocks, and strips for scrappy trip around the world blocks. 
Zip bags from our bee
Here's the accounting: 

Fabric added last 4 weeks: 0 yards
Fabric used last 4 weeks: 2 7/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 6 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 114 3/8 yards

Net fabric used: 108 yards
Scrappy Trips blocks