Sunday, May 24, 2015

Stash Report - Weeks 18-21, 2015

The stash reports seem to come few and far between these days, because I have been spending far more time stitching than quilting.  

I have continued on cutting fabrics to donate to our guild show mystery bags which really helps the stash report!  I now have just over half of the bins completed but I have lost steam.  I think that's okay given that I have cut over 80 yards of fabric.  I have emptied one full bin and have moved my stash into the other free space that I've wound up with in almost every bin.  It has also been helpful to go through all the fabric to remind me what I have :) 

In addition to the fat quarters, I did use a little fabric to cut some tote bags - one of which was for the bunco group prize when I hosted the game earlier this  month. The other one is still under construction. 
Bunco prize - one hour tote bag
I did add a little fabric last week, as four of us went over to Cincinnati for the day to pick up some special orders at the cross stitch shop (Keepsakes).  I left three projects for framing, and picked up one new stitching kit, a couple quilt patterns, and some fabric to make them.  I don't feel bad about bringing the fabric in given all that I've been moving out! 

Fabric added last four weeks: 3 yards
Fabric used last four weeks: 25 3/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 6 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 105 yards

Net fabric used this year: 98 5/8 yards

My daughter and I started on a teacher gift today so I should break the 100 yard mark in the next two weeks!  Even though most of it is fabric I've given to the guild, it feels refreshing to know that I have cleared out so much so far this year! 

Hope you're enjoying your own stash - whether it is fabric, cross-stitch, or movies :) 

Monday, May 11, 2015

April 2015 Cooking Challenge

It seems over the past couple months that our challenge has been more about pulling out recipes we've made before and making them again. We now have such a big set to pull from that we get some great variety in the menus. We did try three new recipes in April. 

The first was from Cooking Light  - Quick Fried Brown Rice. We loved this easy weeknight meal that uses the bagged brown rice that you cook in the microwave for 90 seconds. It was a hit with the whole family (less spice for the kids, more for the adults). 

The second was a chicken recipe from our four ingredient cookbook, but I didn't keep good notes and don't remember which one it was! I think it was a honey/soy marinade. It was good and another easy weeknight meal. 
The last of the month is a recipe from a quilting friend for Chicken Curry with Cashews. I didn't think that I liked curry at all, but found from this recipe that it isn't too bad when mixed with the right ingredients.  Mike absolutely loved this one and said he could make it once a month! 

We're into rec soccer season with the kids for the next several weeks, so with practices two nights a week, scouts, and the school year coming to an end, we will be seeking quick and easy recipes to make on most nights! 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Stash Reports - Weeks 16-17, 2015

Over the last two weeks, I have continued to work on going through my stash and pulling out the stuff i don't love to cut up into fat quarters for our guild show mystery bags. All I can say at this point is that the bags are going to have some very interesting fabrics in them - some people will love and some they will just say "Hmmm" to. Here's the latest - my spoils from last night, when I worked through two bins of black floral/black and white/grey and one bin of green.  

I really thought that I would pull out much less by the time I got to the color bins, but I am finding lots of good gems in there too, so that makes the stash report really sing! 

In addition to that, I have used a little stash for projects over the past two weeks - a binding and some headbands for  my daughter. For the headbands, I use Dana's tutorial at Old Red Barn and it works really well. I also use this pattern for myself and use my headband at yoga. 

I also made a quilt back for one of my UFOs.  I have another quilt loaded onto the frame right now, but plan to get to this one next. I want to have it finished in time for our guild show this fall. 

Here's the final accounting: 
Fabric added last two weeks: 0 yards
Fabric used last two weeks: 34 yards (29 for the donation fat quarters)

Fabric added year to date: 3 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 79 5/8 yards
Net fabric used: 76 1/4 yards

Hope you're getting in time to work on some fun projects! I'll be headed down to the basement later today to work on something...wherever the wind takes me! 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Stash Report - Weeks 13-15, 2015

This post should probably be titled "how to make your stash report look really good in one quick week."  I decided a few weeks ago that I would donate a sizeable amount of stash to our guild in the form of fat quarters.  They will go into mystery bags for our biennial quilt show, which is this October. I have 25 plastic bins of fabric in my basement that is almost all fabric I inherited from Lois (you can learn more about this by following the Letters to Lois tag) three years ago. I have done a good job of using lots of her fabric over the past three years, both to help finish up her UFOs and to contribute to my own projects.  Even after three years of usage, there is just a ton of fabric!  That's not a bad thing, but I know there is some of it that just isn't my style and I likely won't ever use.  So, it seems like a good idea to donate it to a show that she loved. 

I started Tuesday night and got through 2 bins - creams and holiday - and had 7 1/2 yards cut. Thursday night I started with the floral bin and wound up with 9 1/4 yards, and then yesterday I continued with floral bin #2 anf cut 11 1/4 yards.  I found fabric dating back to the mid-90s, and some of it may be even older, but didn't have the date on the selvage. I am headed to a quilt show meeting today and will be glad to pass them off to the person who is coordinating the mystery bags. 
Creams and holiday prints
First batch of florals
In the other two weeks, I did piddle away at a few projects and used a little yardage for a back, a purse, and a block.  None of them are ready for show and tell yet, but I hope to get them done soon.  

I did add a yard of fabric back - a nice black and yellow FQ bundle that I won as a guild door prize the other night.  It is like karma...but I am sure glad that it is 28 yards going out and 1 coming in rather than the other way around!  

Fabric added last three weeks: 1 yard
Fabric used/donated last three weeks: 29 yards

Fabric added year to date: 3 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 45 5/8 yards

Net fabric used: 42 1/4 yards

Oh, and P.S.  The 28 yards going out....doesn't even make a noticeable difference in the bins...guess I will keep going through the other colors! 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

March 2015 New Recipes

March was the month of desserts for us!  I made four different desserts over the course of 5 days, and three of them were new and enjoyed very much.  We also tried a few other new recipes.  Here's the rundown: 

The month started off cool, which calls for soup!  We tried Italian Soup from Midwest Living, and it was great.  I will definitely put this in our rotation for winter soups. The only adjustment we made to this recipe is that we excluded the celery because I didn't have any. It was fine without it :) 

About mid-month, I found a pork loin on sale and picked that up to make Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Loin.  This one is a Martha Stewart recipe and I am always leary of them because of the long list of ingredients and instructions, but this one wound up being quite easy. I made the marinade on a Saturday morning and it sat in the fridge through the day, then cooked up late afternoon.  It was delicious! There is also a prune and apple chutney that goes with this recipe, but we just used the liquid from the pan and some horseradish and that was the perfect compliment. 

The third recipe we made this month was from our Taste of Home Easy Cooking book, and it is called Peppy Parmesan Pasta.  It was great - a nice alternative to the pasta with canned sauce that we normally eat mid-week. We did omit the olives since no one in our house is a fan. 

Next up are the desserts.  The first one is a long-overdue birthday cake for my mom called a Snowball Cake (I did have to log on to Family Circle's site to get to this recipe, but found I already have a logon since I am part of APQ's site too, so you might already have a logon too!). I thought it was perfect for her because she loves winter, chocolate, and coconut!  It starts with a cake mix, but then has some add-ins and homemade icing.  In the end, it was delicious! 

The next night, I had my bunco group here, so made the Easy Berry Fruit Tart for dessert.  The only finicky thing about this recipe is finding creme fraiche, which I can get locally at Trader Joe's.  This one was lick-your-lips good and we didn't have a spare piece left over. This may become my go-to recipe each year when the berries are in season! 

A few days after that, I made the American Berry No Bake Cheesecake (I can't remember why now!).  It was also very good, and Jack did the placement of the fruits across the top. The recipe calls for a flag pattern, but he went another direction.  The kids didn't care for the cheesecake that much, so I probably won't make this one as a family dessert that much.  

Last recipe for the month was Banana Bars, a recipe written out by our daycare teacher many years ago. Jack loved bananas as a toddler and he loved these bars when they made them at school, so she sent home the recipe and we'd never made it.  It was a really easy one to make with older bananas, and I actually prefer it to banana bread, which is my usual go-to recipe with old bananas. (If you want the recipe for this one, just leave me a comment and I will mail it to you.)
We devoured most of the pan before I could get a picture! 
This didn't even begin to put a dent in all the dessert recipes we have, but it was a great chance to try a few of them!  Hope you find something you'd like to try this month! 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Year of the Kits -- Q1 Progress

Edited to say that the pictures are showing up correctly when you look at them on the blog, but if you click on the picture to open it, you can see the whole photo. 

I don't think I will finish any more kits before April starts later this week, so I wanted to take a minute to check in and see how I am doing on my Year of the Kits goal.  I set this goal after pulling out all my stitching and quilting kits last winter.  I have tracked progress throughout the year in my tags, so you can click on the Year of the kits tag to see the actual projects.  For the check in, I thought I would show you a visual of progress from my initial pictures. 

First up is the cross-stitch, and I have been doing a lot of it since the start of the year. After I took this picture, I found that the bookmark was finished, and that I had another kit in progress, so you take one out and add one back and I still was at 18 kits at the start of the year. 

Since late December, I have finished the stitching on 5 kits, and I have completely finished one of the five into a hanging ornament. I am currently working on the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence, which is in the lower right corner. It is one of the bigger ones, so might take me a little longer. 
On the quilt kits side, I have also done pretty well. I keep finding more kits when I look in nooks and crannies, so the 25 in the picture below probably should be more like 28 or 30 in total.  I have started off well, and have finished 5 of them - 4 from the picture below, plus on that wasn't in the picture.  Of the five, three are completely done, and 2 are into tops and awaiting quilting - one is actually on the frame right now.  The next kit on the list is also in the lower right corner of this picture, a winter/Christmas top with lots of applique. I am really glad to have a new Scan and Cut machine to help me with this one! 

That's the update from here - I am really pleased to have started the year off well with the kits and looking forward to getting several more finished! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Design Wall at Retreat

Today I am going to show you the projects of mine that went up on the design wall during my recent retreat with my bee. I pulled several projects and then threw in a few more just before I left. I worked on all but one project and I am really happy with all I got done. 

The first night, I pulled out a kit from a Mary Englebreit panel and got the small top put together pretty quickly.  The kit came with backing and batting, so I made the binding before I put it away to come home. I hope to get this one on the frame soon and will find a good spot to hang in this year during the holidays. 
Next up was the muslin foundation kaleidoscope quilt. I had a few problems in placing he fabric correctly so did a lot more un-sewing than sewing on the first night. I stuck to it the next morning and finally go the top finished in the late afternoon.  I have four more smaller blocks for cornerstones, so I am going to make them up and see if I like them or if I want to finish it off as is. All the fabrics in this quilt are fossil ferns and I am really pleased with how they look together. (by the time I took this picture the design walls were full, so you can see my toes on the design floor)
Once I had those two tops done, it was time to make some bags! First up is the Watcha Got? bag from This and That. It is made with vinyl and I love how it turned out. I used Decor Bond for the fusible and it is the perfect weight. I will be using this as a project bag...just don't know if it will be for crochet, stitching, or quilting! 
After that, it was time to knock out another kit - the Zippy Strippy bag from Terry Atkinson. She writes the best directions and I love making up her patterns. I am really pleased with the end result and also glad to have another kit finished! I also have some new fabric lined up to make another soon! 
The last finished project from retreat is this baby blanket - yet another kit! It has Minkee as the center and binding and the yellow fabric and backing are flannel, so it is super cozy. This one will be ready for the new baby that is due in our extended family later this year. 
So, those are all the finished projects! I also started two more and made some good progress - and hope to have more to show on them in the next few weeks.