2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Saturday, December 7, 2019

November 2019

Well, if you've been reading along the last few months, you won't be surprised to hear that I did some traveling for work in November. I was gone more of the month than I was home and my travels took me to two places I haven't been in a long time and one new place. 

The month started with a trip to Toronto - an easy and direct flight from home (hooray!) and a week there to work with the team. It was their second week in their new office, so we will all figuring things out together. On my two prior trips to the area, I went to the old office, which is about 45 minutes outside of the city, so it was fun to be in the heart of Toronto. 
Me with some yummy tiramisu on my anniversary in Toronto!

At the end of that week, I headed home for the weekend, changed out suitcases and clothing, and then left on Sunday morning for Puerto Rico! The last time I was in PR was for my honeymoon 19 years ago. It was great to return to the island and work with the team there. The best part is that we stayed right on the beach in Condado and each day either started or ended with a beach walk. On Friday, I met up with a friend who lives there and we did a great tour of Old San Juan. There's a lot of great history in that city and I enjoyed learning about it and seeing some of the architecture that made it possible to live in the heat before air conditioning. 
The morning beach view from Condado Beach
Fortaleza Street Umbrellas
Old San Juan Gate - left side is restored, right side original
In the pool overlooking the beach
The weekend brought another adventure, as we boarded a plane to head further south to Sao Paulo, Brazil! I was excited and a little nervous for my first trip to Brazil. It turned out to be a great trip, a great team, and wow, what a big city! 22 million people! We stayed mostly in our area, but got a little taste of the enormity of the city and the traffic on the way to the airport. We flew out on a Friday night and they told us to allow 3 hours for the drive! Good news is that we got there in just under 2 hours. 
City view - Sao Paulo (on a Sunday, so no traffic!)
Art by my hotel
Kit-kat cake! All the different colors are different flavors. 
Our crew for the trips at the churasceria on the last night in Sao Paulo
Caipirinha - the drink of Brazil
I took some stitching with me along the way and finished off one project. I found most nights were filled with catching up on the work computer, but a few nights I was able to find the time and energy to stitch. The project I finished is an embroidery kit I bought several years ago to make ornaments. I got them all stitched on the trip, then finished them into ornaments when I returned home - I think that's a record to finish up something! 

I also started on my November Lizzie Kate Flip-It while on my trip and made some good progress. I finished it up when I got home - only two more months to stitch and then I will start finishing these cute little pieces. 

When I returned home, I also fully finished on of my cross-stitch pieces in a frame I purchased over the summer. I still need some more practice, but glad to have this one done!
No quilting traveled with me, but I did finish up a Ditty Bag before the trips as a gift for one of the women who I worked with. When I got home, I spent some time almost every day in the sewing room or in the stitching spot, and it was nice to take advantage of a few days off to get some good sewing time in.  

I also finished up a UFO - my Mini Pumpkins, which I made at one of my Shipshewana retreats. I did some of the quilting in October and finished it up after I got home, then made and attached the binding, finishing it up on Thanksgiving, so hung it up for a few days before I switched out to the Christmas quilts. 

Overall, it was a great month and I am happy to be home now for the rest of the year! Next year will bring some more travel and I will be glad to do it when it comes, but for now, I am going to enjoy having some time at home. 

Here are the stats for those who want to follow along on that: 
Quilting Time - 6 hours in November
Days with 15 minutes of crafting - 17/30 - 57%

Stash Report: 
Fabric added this month: 0 yards
Fabric used this month: 1 1/4 yards
Fabric added year to date: 9 yards
Fabric used year to date: 44 1/2 yards
Net fabric used: 35 1/2 yards

Hope you all had a good November and a nice Thanksgiving. I am off to get ready for Christmas tree shopping today and hope to find some time in the sewing room this afternoon! 

Sunday, November 3, 2019

October 2019

Wow, did October go by quickly for everyone or was it just me? We ended the month with snow and cold winds on Halloween, so it sure feels like fall has arrived in full force here! This is a long post with quilting, stitching, and travel, so settle in :) 

I had another busy month of travel, but my trips weren't quite as long and one of them was my quilt retreat, so I wound up with quite a few things to show for this month. 

Actual quilting was a theme this month - I had a quilt of my mom's on the longarm when the month started, so getting that completed was job #1, then I moved on to quilt a top for a friend who goes to retreat with us. She gave me the top in May so I wanted to get it quilted and back to her at our fall retreat. Then, since things come in threes, I got another quilt on the machine last weekend. It is one of my UFOs that will soon be finished! I still have some quilting I want to do on it with my regular sewing machine, so it isn't quite ready for prime time, but here's a sneak peek. 

I took a bunch of projects to retreat (always good to have more than enough to work on), and I made good progress on several of them. I hadn't made time to pre-cut before retreat, so I spent the first evening cutting out projects for the weekend. That made it a lot easier to then jump right in when I started sewing on Thursday morning. 

I started with my camping wall hanging - it just needed binding and a hanging sleeve sewn down, so it was ready for show and tell the first night! When I got home from retreat, I hung it up in our family room. 

Next I went back to the scrap quilt that I worked on in May. I added the pieced border (which didn't take nearly as long as I'd anticipated), and then the outer border. I am so happy to have this top finished and have plans to get it quilted by the end of the year. 

Once I'd finished the two "easy" projects, I dug into log cabin blocks. These are made with 1" strips. I started this pattern back in 2018 and decided it would be purely a retreat project. It is easy and mindless to work on while chit-chatting. I spent probably a full day making 32 red/brown and cream blocks and am so happy with how they turned out. Next time I pull this project out, I will make 16 red/brown blocks and then I will be ready to assemble it. I am looking forward to that step. Here are four of the blocks together. To give you some scale, they finish at 5". 

Next up was a pattern called Ditty Bag, and I just love to make bags. I pulled fabric from my stash to make this and I really like how it turned out. The plan is to give it as a gift...but I have having a hard time with that because I like it so much! 

The last project I worked on at retreat was my half-hexagon top. This pattern is from a Missouri Start Quilt Co. Block magazine, and I loved it the first time I saw it. I chose light fabrics for my sashing (they'd used dark in the magazine) and picked a very soft linen/cotton blend. I used a layer cake that I inherited from Lois and it is a pretty old one. I love how this quilt came together! I need to find some border fabric and then also would like to get this one quilted by year end...we'll see! 

So, the last thing to share from retreat is the results of our half-yard challenge. Back in May, we had one person pick a fabric from the sale room and we all got a half-yard of it. Our instructions were to make anything with it - a few added more fabric to make theirs into a full quilt, but most of us used our fabric in smaller projects. I made a laundry bag with mine, perfect with all the travel I have going on right now! It's so fun to see how everyone interprets the fabric and decides what to make. We got our half-yard for the next challenge while we were there. 
My laundry bag
Our awesome group with our challenge projects
Speaking of fabric additions, I did do a little shopping while on retreat. There are two great quilt shops in the town of Shipshewana and I always enjoy shopping at them! I picked up 3 yards of fabric in the sale room, and then sat down for just a little too long at the boat (yes, it is a literal boat!) that is full of fat quarters and found a few that had to come home with me. My plan for the Girl Scout fabric is to make something for a giveaway at an upcoming Girl Scout event. 

Well, that's all for the quilting this month! With so much of that, I don't have much to show for the stitching. I did work on a couple projects but only one finish - and I squeaked this one in at the end of the month! Here's my October Lizzie Kate Flip-It. Such a cute little pattern. 

In addition to all this, I made a trip to Mexico City for work in the second week of September. I was a little nervous about the trip due to the circumstances that took me there, but the team couldn't have been more open and welcoming. It reminded me that even when the work content isn't the easiest that people make the difference. We didn't have much time for sightseeing, so experienced the culture mostly through the people we worked with and the meals. Here are a few highlights. 
Pretty water fountain at a mall where we had dinner
Morning view from the hotel with mountains in the distance
The most amazing souffled potatoes - best food of the trip!
Our awesome team - look at all those amazing women!
Thanks for hanging on for all for all of that! If you want to see the monthly stats, they are below. If not, thanks for stopping by, let me know which retreat project you like best, and happy quilting/stitching/crafting! 

Official stats: 
Stash Report - Linking up with Donna at quiltpaintcreate
Fabric added this month: 4 3/4 yards
Fabric used this month: 10 1/4 yards (yeah!)
Fabric added year to date: 9 yards
Fabric used year to date: 43 3/8 yards
Net fabric used: 34 3/8 yards

Days with 15 minutes of crafty time: 18/31 for 58% 
Total hours of quilting time in October: 36 1/4 hours
Linking up with Kate at Life in Pieces

Sunday, October 20, 2019

September 2019

Wow, here we are more than halfway into October, and I haven't posted my September recap...for good reason though. I've been traveling a lot, with little time at home between trips. September found me gone for three weeks - 2 in Ireland, a quick 40ish hours home, and then a week in Memphis. Both trips were for work and both were great. I was able to sneak in a little sightseeing in Ireland over the weekend and enjoyed seeing a little of the city Cork, Blarney Castle, and Spike Island. I included a link to Spike Island - it is a very interested place - similar to an Alcatraz with just as many interesting stories, and just closed as a prison 15 years ago!  If you ever have an afternoon in Cobh (pronounced Cove) Ireland, I highly recommend this tour! In addition to some nice sightseeing, I had two great weeks of work with our team there - it is always nice to be able to work face-to-face with people who you usually talk to over the phone.
The English Market in downtown Cork

A beautiful Dahlia at Blarney Castle

Some yarn bombing in a window at Blarney Castle! 
Entrance to Spike Island

St. Colman's Cathedral in Cobh, Ireland

Bye, bye lovely green country! 
After a quick partial-weekend at home, I left again on Monday morning for a leadership training course in Memphis, TN. We spent the week exploring our own leadership styles, setting goals for ourselves, and visiting some nearby places to learn about leadership - it was humbling and very inspiring to visit both St. Jude's Hospital and the National Civil Rights museum. Even though timing wasn't great, I was very glad for a week to reflect and think about my own goals and style.
Lorraine Motel, sight of Martin Luther King, Jr's assassination and also home to the National Civil Rights Museum

The last week of September saw me home, running between tennis matches for my son, orchestra for my daughter, and working with my Girl Scouts to help them finish up their Silver Award. I am glad to say that all went well!

All this travel made the crafting time limited, but I did take a few projects on the road with me. I crocheted back and forth from Ireland and finished up a skinny scarf for my daughter - it is long and you wear it doubled and then pulled through the loop. She wouldn't model it for me today since she stayed in her pajamas all day :)

I also got my September Flip-It done - just in the nick of time. I like this one just as well as the others and am looking forward to starting to work on the finishing for these monthly projects. I have a plan to have a rotating display for them.

On the quilting front, I only spent a couple days with my machines - I repaired an old blanket, loaded and started quilting a top for my mom, and also made my project for my quilt group's 1/2 yard challenge. We all bought 1/2 yard of the same fabric and made what we wanted with it. I shared this sneak peek of mine in September, and we just unveiled them over the weekend. Mine is a laundry bag! Perfect for all this travel. I will share a picture of it with the other projects as we end October.

A slow month for stash and stitching days, but here is the accounting:
Fabric added this month: 0 yards
Fabric used this month: 3/4 yard
Fabric added year to date: 4 1/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 33 1/8 yards
Net fabric used: 28 7/8 yards

Days of crafting in September: 13 = 43% of the days in the month - my lowest for 2019 so far.

Hope you all had a nice September and are enjoying your October. I am just back from my fall retreat so will have more to share soon!

Linking up with Kate at Life in Pieces and Donna at Quilt Paint Create

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