2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Sunday, November 1, 2020

October 2020 Reports and Stats

Yesterday I shared about my retreat and trip with my mom - I did get a few other things completed in October and I did a little shopping while on the trip too, so there are a few new things here :) 

Before I headed out for retreat, I prepped several projects and also finished up a new bag called the Hello Pouch. I made the largest size and it was perfect to carry along a few things for retreat. 

I also made a new mask, which you can see from this early voting picture with my daughter. I had grand plans to make a few more at retreat, but didn't wind up getting to them. 

She didn't vote (not old enough yet) but they let her have a sticker! 

In terms of stats, all of my stash usage and additions were from my retreat/vacation week. I added some new yardage for the Preppy quilt background, which you can see if yesterday's post. And also added some yardage (on the left in the picture below) as a background for a quilt kit I've had for a while. I am in no rush to make that quilt, but it might be a good retreat project next year. 

Stash Additions from Retreat/Trip

There were a few other additions - some fat quarters and some patterns - I managed to pick up something in each quilt shop we visited - nothing like supporting the local vendors, right? 

So here are the stats for the month -- 

Stash Report - linking up with Donna at quiltpaintcreate
Fabric added this month: 6 3/4 yards
Fabric used this month: 7 yards
Fabric added year to date: 11 6/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 70 1/4 yards

Net fabric used: 58 5/8 yards

Stitching Time Report - linking up with Kate at Life in Pieces
Days with at least 15 minutes of stitching time: 28/31 = 90%

Exercise Report: 
Weeks with at least 90 minutes of exercise: 2/4 = 50%

Hope you had a great month and have great plans for November! 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Fall Retreat 2020

Believe it or not, my fall retreat is the one thing that wasn't canceled this year! But before I got there, I took my mom up to the Traverse City, MI area for a long weekend away that I gifted her for Mother's day back in 2016! I am not sure how it took us 4 years to make the trip happen, but I am sure glad we got it in this year. 

Lake Michigan

We stayed in a perfect little cottage on Lake Bellaire and loved the view and the tranquility of it. We spent our 4 days there wandering around northwest Michigan, trying a few wines/ciders/beers, and did a little bit of shopping and a little bit of stitching.

A tower of wine for sampling

Overall, we felt pretty safe - there was one restaurant that was a little tight with people a little too close, but other than that, we always felt that there was enough room between us and others and we were impressed with the mask wearing throughout the area. It was a great time and now I want a lake house more than ever! 

The beautiful misty morning view of the lake
Beautiful sunset after dinner and a big storm on our last night in MI

On Wednesday morning, we packed up and headed south to Shipshewana for our annual quilt retreat. We were down significantly from our normal group of almost 100 quilters, which was nice as it made for lots of extra room in the sewing area and plenty of ability to social distance. We wore our masks when we left our tables/area, and were good about hand washing and sanitizer. However, the mask usage in the area was abysmal. Hardly anyone we saw was wearing a mask, including cooks, servers, and cashiers. It was disappointing to say the least, and then we held our breath for the next two weeks in hopes that we wouldn't come down with any symptoms. While we knew we'd done what we could to stay safe, we just thought there was more risk in that environment. 

The good news is that it meant we spent a little more time than usual in the sewing room. For the second year, the retreat started almost a day earlier - at 3pm Wednesday instead of 10am Thursday. I took full advantage of that time and got a lot done! Here are the things I worked on: 

A quick and easy pattern to get things started - this is called Layer Cake 4 hour throw and I used a layer cake from my stash - it is really busy and bright, but I think it will make a nice spring/early summer quilt for the couch and it matches the fabric that's in my House quilt that I hung up a few months ago. 

This quilt is for a baby boy who was born yesterday! Glad I got the top finished at retreat and I need to get down to my sewing room this weekend to find a back and get started on the quilting so I can deliver it soon. The pattern is called Preppy and it is by Andy at A Bright Corner. I enjoyed making this quilt with a fat quarter pack a beemate gave my when my son was little. I never did make him a quilt from it, but I think it will be great for this new baby boy.  

Next up was some cross-stitch finishing. It is something I'd have never brought to a retreat before this year, but I decided to spend a little time on my finishing, and I am happy to say that with these 5 pillows, I have now fully finished more items this year than any other year! All the items were stitched at least 2 or 3 years ago and I think one of them goes back to 2015! I think they all make great pillows and can't wait to display them during the different holidays. 

This is a busy bench, but it is the only picture that shows the project bags I made - with fabric purchased back in August, I finished three stitching bags and can't wait to get a few new projects in them ready to go! 

In addition to these projects, I worked on blocks for my son's quilt and also made a few paper pieced blocks. Our group was down to 4 quilters this year (we usually have 12+) but we all had a good time and are glad we went - especially glad now that we've passed the window for illness and are all healthy :) 

Monday, October 5, 2020

September 2020 Stats

I am always a little unsure when I do a mid-month blog post that there will be anything else to share by the end of the month, especially when I have such a good start to the month. Don't worry though, it worked out ok! 

I did a lot of stitching this month, but only had one finish, my monthly block from the Stitchingly Blocks of the Month SAL. I enjoyed stitching the Oktoberfest piece as it reminded me of our trip to Oktoberfest 10 years ago (for our 10th anniversary trip). I made good progress on three other projects, so expect to have more finishes coming soon.

I also had a little fun doing some more finishing. One piece is still in progress but the other one is complete, minus a bow or two. I stitched this piece called Autumn Colorwork in 2016, and I was so thrilled to find it would fit perfectly in this decoration I picked up at Hobby Lobby - you can see what it looked like when I bought it below. Thanks to Priscilla and Chelsea, I am walking around the craft stores with all new eyes for ways to finish things. 

On the quilting front, I had two projects that I worked on through the rest of the month. The first is a kit that I purchased 5 years ago in Hawaii (during our 15th anniversary trip) - I decided to start working on it when my mom and I got together at the beginning of the month. I finished up the cutting and fusing, and got it quilted before the month ended. I just need to bind it now and can't wait to hang it next summer. Here's a sneak peek and I will share a full picture when it is all finished. 

My last project for the month was my Global Day of Service project for work. Each year, the company dedicates a day for all employees to participate in service projects in the communities in which we work. With Covid, the plans were a little different this year - we had walkathons, blood drives, and thankfully, a mask making project! I made two kits of masks (about 60 total) for American Red Cross. 
I really enjoyed using my talents for this project and helped a few friends along the way, as it was a little bit harder project for part-time sewers. They provided the fabric, elastic, and even a spool of aurifil thread! Here I am about to drop mine off. 

It was a great month overall and I have some good stats as a result - here they are: 

Stash Report - linking up with Donna at QuiltPaintCreate
Fabric added this month: 1 yard (a really cute print that will be used for some presents)
Fabric used this month: 7 3/4 yards
Fabric added year to date: 4 7/8 yards
Fabric added year to date: 63 1/4 yards
Net fabric used: 58 3/8 yards

Stitching time report - linking up with Kate at Life in Pieces
Days with at least 15 minutes of crafting - 26/30 = 87% 

Hope you had a good month - October is shaping up to be fun as my mom and I are heading away for a few days and then going to our retreat, which is still on with fewer people, more social distancing, and masks. Right now, I have a pile of projects downstairs so I just need to decide which ones to take along. Lots of decisions and you'll see the result next time! 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Early September 2020

I know it is really mid-September by now, but I had another chance for a sewing weekend with my mom over Labor Day weekend, so thought I'd share some of the fun we had. 

At our last sew-together weekend, we decided we should select a kit and work on it next time we were together. I went through several kits before I decided on two to bring along. In addition, I picked a few other things to work on. 

I started with my kit - it is a pattern called Aussie Traveler from Capitol Quilts in MD. My mom bought it for me and also picked up with kit with Australian fabrics. It took about a full day of cutting, fusing, quilting, and piecing to get the bag together and I think it turned out pretty well. This is a big bag - more of a tote bag than purse size. It will be great for an overnight getaway or would be a good bag to stuff with things to take for a sewing weekend or retreat. I did swap out one of the fabrics in the kit for the green that is at the top and bottom of the focus fabric. While it doesn't show as much on the picture, it really pops in person and brings out the green in that focus fabric. 

Next up was another bag pattern (I love to make bags and it had been so long since I'd made one!). - we picked up this one-page pattern called The Trendy tote when shopping in Illinois in December. I picked fabric from my stash (left) and mom picked out some brand new fabric at the local shop (the sunflowers) to make these bags. Mine has a thicker interfacing so stands a little more upright. This is a great pattern and quite easy to sew - two half yards along with interfacing. I am thinking this will make a great bag to store my stitching projects in. I am realizing as I look at the picture that it looks like both bags are higher on one side than the other - I don't think that's the case in real life, so hope it is just an optical illusion from the picture. 
I also thought I'd share a photo of Cole, my mom's constant companion. When we sew, he cuddles up in the chair next to the machine I use and snores a lot! He's a very funny dog and sleeps in the craziest positions. He and Grace are getting to be friends, but she doesn't come along for the sewing weekends - I don't think Cole would be willing to share "his" chair! 

The next thing I worked on was a little cross-stitch framing. I've only framed a few pieces so it still takes me a while to get one set into a frame nicely. I purchased both of these frames at Fancy Works, a local needlework shop about an hour away. She has a lovely selection of frames and I've had luck several times when shopping there (not to mention all the new projects I've bought!). I have had both of these for at least a year, so it was time to put on the big girl panties and get going to frame them. 

The first one is called Evergreen Sampler and is was made from a Kreinik kit with silks and specialty threads. My mom gave it to me long ago and I finally stitched it in 2015, when I had my "Year of the Kits." I love this dark green frame and it really fits quite nicely. I started this at about 10 pm at night and ran into lots of problems...so it went into timeout when I went to bed. With a good night's sleep, I was able to get it into the frame with pretty good success the next morning. If anyone would like the pattern and leftover threads from this project, please leave me a comment below - I'd be happy to slip them into an envelope and send them along for someone else to enjoy. If more than one person is interested, I will run the random number generator. 

The second piece I framed went much better than the first one - this is Harvest from Bent Creek and I also stitched this one in 2015. I love the rustic wood look of this frame and think I may have to adorn it a bit with a bow at the top. I have this one out on display for the fall and love seeing it each time I go by the table in my living room. 

With these two projects framed, I now have 11 items fully finished for the year and hope to be on target to get to more than 16, my highest FFO count since I started tracking. I have also finished stitching 9 projects this year (2 of which are fully finished), so need to make sure I am keeping up so the stack of items to-be-FFO'ed don't get more out of control. 

I did have one more project that I started, but I am going to wait on sharing that, as I hope to have it in a more finished state by the end of the month when I do my monthly reports. 

All-in-all, it was a very successful (and fun) sewing weekend. Along the way, we discovered a new and very yummy Italian restaurant, debated starting our own Flosstube (a YouTube channel sharing our cross-stitch), and went on our very first trip to Tractor Supply! 

See you again at the end of the month - thanks to all who stop by to keep up with what I am doing and special thanks to those who leave a comment. 

Thursday, September 3, 2020

August 2020

Hi everyone - I am back to share with you the other activities from the month of August. I continued to enjoy my week off from work at the end of the month and got a big quilting project finished. It's an old one that started probably back in 2007, and it is from this book, which is one of the earliest quilting books I received. I love log cabins, and I love this quilt! It started as a bee project - back when our bee was called Block Builder's Bee - we each hosted one month a year and when we hosted, everyone else made a block for us. It was a lot of fun and I thought it would be a great way to get a start on this project and ensure I had lots of variety in the fabric, since I was still pretty early in my quilting history. I think I had the group make blocks two years in a row, and then I still had a lot more to make. If you want to follow back on the history of this quilt, you can see these blog posts, where I belly-ache about making the rest of the blocks, and then set goals and get the top made. In my make-some-backs day last month, I found the perfect fabric for the back of this quilt - a border print that was perfect to complement the bright colors on the front. I loaded it and then hemmed and hawed about how to quilt it, eventually landing on very simple quilting. I did large loops in a variegated teal blue Superior Lava thread. I had a few troubles with the thread, but managed okay. I used a black Hobbes batting for this and am really pleased with the finished result. Without further ado, here's the quilt out by my garden! 

Stained Glass Log Cabin

Stained Glass Log Cabin Back

The other quilting project I spent some time with this month is the End of the Rainbow quilt I am making for my son. I got the blocks put together and laid them out - my son approves, so I will keep going! This is about half the blocks that I will need as I am making it for a twin extra long (he's 13 and 5'11" already, so I am pretty sure he'll need the longer bed soon)! 

End of the Rainbow blocks

The last project that I pulled out this month is a crochet project! I've worked on this on and off for months, usually preferring to stitch over crochet. However, my brother and two of his boys came to visit and I thought this would be a good project to work on while we all spent time at my parent's house. I had no idea I was close enough to be able to finish it! Here it is before blocking - I will soak and block it this weekend at my mom's and then I am going to gift it to an unsuspecting friend as the weather turns colder. As I worked on it, I thought it would be perfect for her. The pattern is 1-on-1 Cowl by Sharon Frazier, and I used Cascade Yarns Pacific in Blue-Green. I am really looking forward to seeing the pattern open up a little when I block it. 

1-on-1 Cowl

Well, that's all the projects, so now I will move on to the monthly accounting. 

Stash Report - linking up with Donna at quiltpaintcreate

Fabric added this month: 1 1/4 yards (see picture below)
Fabric used this month: 7/8 yards
Fabric added year to date: 3 7/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 55 1/2 yards
Net fabric used: 51 5/8 yards
New fabric, birthday gift, and some cross-stitch fabric from a friend!

Stitching Time - linking up with Kate at Life in Pieces
Days with at least 15 minutes/crafting time - 31/31 = 100% (it was great to have 10 days off where I did some stitching or quilting or crochet every day!)

Exercise report
Weeks with at least 90 minutes of exercise - 3/4 = 75%

All in all, August was a great month for me and I hope it was for you too! 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Mid-August 2020

Good morning! It has been a busy month so I thought I'd pop in before it ends and share a few things with you. Work has slowed down a little bit - the long, long days have turned into mostly normal with a few long days, which is pretty good one month after launching a new global system. My team is amazing and they really get the credit for doing all the hard work. One of my primary goals at work this month is encouraging everyone to take a few days off as many of us have worked with little or no vacation most of the year. That includes me, so I am enjoying my first full week off for the year. It coincides with school, so no travel for us, but that's okay - it has been a great week to work on a few things around the house, as well as having lots of good stitching and quilting time. 

So, let's dig into the projects that I've worked on so far in August - as I write this, I've stitched or quilted every day this month! All of the finishes so far are stitching related, but there will be a few things coming from the sewing room by the end of this week. 

I finally picked up the last thread I needed to finish this piece, which I worked on earlier this year. I came very close to a finish, but didn't have one thread, bought it, and then couldn't find it anywhere! I finally gave up and bought a new skein a few weeks ago and this one is now finished. Where Liberty Dwells by Hands On Design - stitched with some called for colors and some subs from my stash, and on a mystery piece of linen left over from another project. This one will finish into a pillow...once I find the velveteen that came with the pattern to make the pillow! (I usually do not lose things, so this is driving me a little crazy!) I made one adjustment and changed the color of the quilt block stars to red. The colors are a little off in this picture...but I really love the letters and the great variation in the thread color (Wood Grain I think) and the flowers with their red backstitching. 

The next project is my Months of the Year Stitch-a-long from Stitchingly, created by Durene Jones. I saw this and bought it on impulse at the start of the year, because I loved the first block. I used stash fabric (that will probably be really tight when I get the fourth row in!) and had most of the threads. I just love the bright colors in this piece - it took me several months to realize there was a flower in every month, and now I look forward to seeing what's next! I was a little behind on this project which releases a block monthly, but I caught up thanks to some long stitching sessions over the weekends and on my week off. Here are July and August, with a shot of the piece in whole before I started on August. 
July block celebrating Delphinium and International Friendship day
July - Delphinium & Int'l Friendship Day

The first 7 months

August - Poppy & Obon-bon Festival

August also found us at the start of school. In Indiana, we usually start school in early August (sometimes very late July), and have a couple longer breaks in fall and spring, then end the school year in May. Due to the state of our state, they pushed school start back a week and it is online only until at least Labor Day. After that, they will re-evaluate based on local illness rates to determine if it is safe enough to return in person. Even when that is the case, my daughter has decided to do the full semester virtually. The day starts at 7:15 with Orchestra, so we hear the lovely sounds of the violin each morning in our house! I have to give huge props to the teachers and administrators, as we are doing live-streaming of all classes, so it really feels more like a full school day. The IT teams at the school have done a great job of providing resources and help to ensure that all kids can get online and learn. The kids have both found a group of friends to have a virtual lunch with, so they manage to include some social time in the day still. This year is 8th grade for my (tall) son, and 10th grade for my daughter. I am also super grateful for having older kids - it is far easier to send a teenager upstairs to "go to school" than it is a younger child who needs help logging on, joining calls, muting, etc. It will be an interesting school year for sure. 
Start of school 2020 - out for a picture and back up to their bedrooms!

I'll finish this post with a relatively rare picture of me - I created a list of things to do this week and one of them was a long bike ride on a local rail trail - my husband and I went yesterday on my birthday and I got in a nice ride to start my 46th year. I also started a new stitching project, which was just as much fun!

Monday, August 3, 2020

July 2020

I hit the halfway mark of the year in a full sprint - or maybe I should say a full yawn. The big project I am on at work went live at 6am on July 1 and we all woke up early to participate in a virtual count down. It was a great celebration and then we just ran through the month like a marathon. When you implement a new global system in 88 countries, there are bound to be a few challenges. Thanks to a great team, we've gotten through the most difficult items and are now working on the rest. It is the third time in my career that I've been part of a big system implementation; this one was by far the largest and the team has done such a great job. It is pretty rewarding to be part of something that will be used for many years down the road, and hopefully by the time they decide to replace it, I will be retired! 

Despite long work hours, including lots of weekend work, I managed to get some decent time in my stitching spot and my sewing room. I have several finishes to share and an exciting stash report. 

Let's start with the quilting projects this month. Most of my quilting time this month was on the weekends, but I still managed to get in just under 20 hours, with more than half of it on an overnight sewing weekend with my mom (Fri morning - Sat night). The first activity of the month had me pulling bright and cheery fabric from my stash for mask-making to support the local schools. Back at the beginning of July, we thought we'd send the kids back in masks...that's changed, but I still managed to donate 20 yards of fabric to a lady who said she'd make masks for the kids. Once I pulled all that fabric, then I decided to finish a top of my own. This is my sashed half-hexagon, which I worked on at both retreats last year. I added the borders to finish the top - not sure yet exactly how to quilt it, so if you have any good ideas, please let me know! 
The rest of the month had me working on...
1) I quilted a top for my mom, no pictures as it will be a gift later this year - remind me to share them later. 
2) A camping mini-wall hanging that I bought several years ago - I even have the hanger for this...just need to find it now! 
3) Blocks and pieces for my End of the Rainbow quilt - I made 6 red blocks and cut out a bunch of background fabrics - I hope that I have enough as I didn't really keep count! This project also had me adding the first stash of the year as I raided my mom's blue bin to add to my fabrics. Good news is that I also promptly cut it up. 
4) The start of a new quilt called Which Way by Judy Niemeyer. I am using some of my batik stash for this one and I will keep going on it a little at a time until I get bored making these blocks - pictures to come when I have enough to share
5) Quilt backs - the part where I usually get hung up in my quilt-making. I dedicated an afternoon and made up 3 backs - from my newest finished top to one of my oldest, now they are ready for quilting when I get the bug to finish them (the one in the middle is loaded on the frame to be quilted in August)

And not to be left out, I also had some fun with cross-stitch - have a seat if you're reading this standing, as I fully finished 4 projects this month! Patriotic Cracker is a small project that I finished last month (!!) and made into a pillow. 
The chalkboard pieces are from Hands on Design and I stitched them all last year. I decided I needed a few more summer decorations, so finally got them finished - they will all rotate on the board with velcro. 
I also finished up a few smaller projects this month - don't expect them to be fully finished for a while ;) 

Mini-Pumpkins by Little Leaf Designs - I picked up this kit at a stitcher's garage sale last year for $3 and the kit included the overdyed threads and the charms. I used R&R Witches Brew and loved this linen - my first time using R&R and I will definitely look for it again in the future. 
Next I had some catching up to do on my Stichingly Months of the Year project - I started and finished the June block and did get the July block started (but not finished) before the end of the month. 
Last was a quick project I picked up for Jolly July, a kit that has seasoned for a long time - it is the last of the Victoria's Sampler kits that I have and I am glad to have stitched it up. I plan to finish this as a pillow ornament with a nice pop of red behind the cutwork. 
Whew, that was a full month! I am glad for the quiet evenings and weekends to be able to recover from long days, take a few naps, and enjoy some time with my crafts. Hope you saw something you enjoy! 

Here are the reports for the month: 

Stash Report
Fabric added in July: 2 5/8 yards
Fabric used in July: 36 1/8 yards
Fabric added year to date: 2 5/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 54 5/8 yards
Net Fabric used: 52 yards

Stitching time: 15 minutes or more 23/31 days = 74% 

Exercise report (this is where I fell apart this month!) - 1/4 weeks = 25%