2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Sunday, August 7, 2016

July 2016 Stash Report

I posted yesterday about my accomplishments for July, which included using a little stash for backing and bindings, so that's my true usage for the month.  However, my numbers look great because I also participated in my Guild's "Quilter's Garage Sale" in the middle of the month. 
A friend (that's her in the picture) and I filled a table to the brim with items for sale and I was able to sell several cuts of oriental fabrics and some packs of fabric that I have realized I won't ever use.  I still have a bin of things I didn't sell, so I plan to take some of them to the sale table at my fall retreat to clear out a few more things. 

Here are the official numbers: 

Fabric added this month: 0 yards
Fabric used (or sold) this month: 19 5/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 3 5/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 49 3/4 yards

Net fabric used: 46 1/8 yards

Hope you had a great time with your stash in July! 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

July 2016 Accomplishments

We started July by wrapping up our Michigan vacation, and boy, was it great to have some time at Houghton Lake with one of my best friends. We enjoyed swimming, kayaking, fishing, some awesome pulled pork from her new smoker, and fireworks on the lake. I was also able to get in some good stitching time, so let's start with that.  

I had two stitching finishes in July - Stars and Stripes, a Country Cottage Needlework design. It turned out larger than I had anticipated, so I will have to decide if I want to frame it.  It is nice to have another patriotic item stitched that I can put out from Memorial Day through Labor Day. 
Next up was an ornament for July. I didn't like the one the group had chosen, so I decided to use one of my two wild cards and stitched this simple ornament. I think I finished it in two stitching sessions, and I hope to get it made into an ornament pretty quickly. It is stitched on some leftover Aida that I've had forever and is called Peace 2015 by Glory Bee (I adjusted the year to represent when I stitched it) from the 2015 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments. I had trouble getting good light for this picture - it is not quite so obnoxious in person. 

In my sewing studio, I realized I needed to recommit myself to my theme "First a Finish" if I was going to end this year with fewer projects in progress but not quite complete. Over the course of a couple hours in one weekend, I finished up several projects and it sure felt great! 

I did the final finishing work on Dream Big by adding the ribbon. It is ready for gifting now.
I added the cording to Plenty and made the hanger. It is ready for the tree now and this one will stay with me, given my love for reindeer. 
 After I got done with the stitching finishes, I turned to the quilting one. I made the binding and hanging sleeve for my old neighbor's quilt that her mom made her. I also stitched down the binding during the month so that it would be ready for her to pick up at the end of the month and take with her to her new  home in Orlando. 
Finished and bound, ready for its new home
Quilt back made with scraps from the front
Last up in my finish-a-thon was my Quilting in Layers from the workshop I took earlier this year with Terry Kramzar.  I did a faced binding on this one too, my second ever! Terry recommend these instructions for facing a quilt and I loved them - it was so much easier than what I tried first, and now I am looking at all my small quilts to see which ones I can face instead of bind!  
Last up in the sewing studio was the UFO for this month's APQ Challenge.  #4 was pulled and that's one of my patterns that I have had a long time, but never started. It called for cutting around 300 squares/rectangles, and that's all I got done by the end of the month. I decided to kit it up and take it to retreat with me this fall. The original pattern was done with Civil War Reproduction fabrics, but I saw a sample in batiks and really liked it, so I bought the pattern...probably 10 years ago!  

The last thing I will leave you with from July is a picture from the Indy Modern Quilt Guild show last weekend.  I am not a member of the IMQG, but always enjoy supporting a local show and this was no different. They rented a pavilion at a local park and hung quilts all around.  It was a small but nice show.  
 Hope you had a great July and are enjoying the start of August!

Monday, August 1, 2016

July 2016 Recipes

We just had a great taco salad for dinner - we should have more salads in the summer! - and so it seemed like a good time to go through the meals we tried this month. 

First up was another really old recipe - I think I cut this one out before Mike and I were even dating...so that's at least 17 years ago! It has been waiting patiently in my recipe book for many years...so many that the size of the Ranch dressing bottle has changed! It is called Inn Maid Chicken Ranch Casserole. It is a noodle, ranch, and broccoli casserole and it was great, even better as leftovers. What is it with casseroles that makes them even better the next day? 
The next two recipes came from the Cooking Light 2001 Recipes book. My neighbor gifted it to me when she headed to Florida earlier this year. I pulled out a couple recipes that would help us use up some packages in the pantry after I cleaned out the pantry mid-month (a job that was way overdue!).  I found several partially used packages of spaghetti/fettucini, so I found a couple recipes to try with them. 

First up was Shrimp & Feta with Angel Hair Pasta - it was very good. I was a little light on the tomatoes, so if we make it again, I will make sure we add more. None of us are big olive fans, but I decided to try them and I think they went well with the mix of ingredients. 
Next up was another pasta & olive dish called Tuna Pasta Puttanesca. It was also good, but there are other tuna/pasta dishes that we've had that I prefer. 
The last new recipe this month was from one of my favorite cookbooks, Fix-It and Enjoy It. It was Beef and Salsa Burritos and it was chock full of spinach, a secret ingredient! Two of us really liked them, and two were more lukewarm. I think I will build these into the rotation when we need a little taco/burrito variety. 
Hope you enjoy the new recipes! 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

June 2016 Stash Report

We were on vacation last week enjoying a great time in Michigan, so my June stash report is a week delayed.  

I didn't add any stash during the month - I usually find at least one quilt shop to duck into during a vacation, but didn't see any this time, so didn't even go into a quilt shop during the month. 

I used a little bit for teacher gifts and a quilt back - you can see pictures here

Fabric added this month: 0 yards
Fabric used this month: 2 7/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 3 5/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 30 1/8 yards

Net fabric used: 26 1/2 yards

My guild is having a quilter's garage sale this week and I have two bins of fabric ready to sell - hopefully I can keep fairly good track of what I sell to capture it in my stash report at the end of July! 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

June 2016 Recipes

June was a fun month to try a couple new recipes. I wound up making a couple things off Facebook posts, got around to a few really old recipes, and tried on from my Girl Scout leader! Here's the scoop: 

Years and years ago, one of my good friends gave me all her Cooking Light magazines when she was done with them. I must have pulled 100 recipes out of them and then they sat...for about 10 years until we started this crazy challenge. Later, I subscribed to the magazine myself and we've found lots of great recipes there, but these are two from the early days, circa 2005..well aged in the recipe folder for a good 10 years! 

Cavatappi with Spinach, Garbanzo Beans, and Feta is a meal that I've wanted to try a long time but I was reluctant because I didn't think anyone in the family would eat it.  They did, but no one really liked it. Despite the spinach, which was the primary offending ingredient (at least to the under 12 crowd), this recipe had way too many garbanzo beans, and no real good flavor. The feta added a little, but not enough in my opinion.  While we were at dinner, I said I'd make it again, but more likely for a pitch in...now that I write this, I realize that I have so many other good recipes in my cupboard that I can throw this one away and never miss it! 

The next one from the Cooking Light archives is Chicken Spiedini and this one was worth the wait! Wow, this combo of breaded chicken with mushrooms and prosciutto was delicious! The kids picked out all the mushrooms so that made more for me, and I gobbled up the leftovers a few days later too! I couldn't find this recipe online, so if you'd like it, just leave me a comment (make sure your email address is attached to your profile or in your comment) and I will happily send it to you. 

Last up in the old recipe category is a recipe I received in a cookbook that my Girl Scout leader gave me when I graduated college...so that is now 20 years old! I really thought we'd made this before, but the whole family swears we hadn't. In short, it was delicious! You cook up the taco meat with cream cheese and then put it into the cooked pasta shells, cover them with cheese and taco sauce and bake for a while. It is a lot of steps, but totally worth it! We all loved this and must add it to our rotation of semi-regular meals! On this one, I am also happy to share the recipe if you'd like it. 

Now we will move on to the brand new recipes. Both of the last two recipes came across my facebook feed recently and looked too good to pass up. The first is Slow Cooker Smothered Chicken with Bacon and Onions. With those ingredients in the title, I couldn't pass it up! It was really good, but will be a tricky one. It requires prep work to cook the onions and bacon before you start the crock pot and then only cooks for 4-6 hours, which is too short a cooking time for a normal work day. We had this one on a weekend and it was perfect. We'll have to keep it in mind when we have a busy weekend afternoon and want an easy dinner at the end of it. The flavor was very good. 

Saving the best for last...my mom shared this recipe on her facebook page and I immediately saved it...what's not to love about Snickerdoodle Donut Muffins. Jenna and I made these while the boys were at Boy Scout camp for the weekend and they are the cutest and most delicious mini-muffins I've ever had! We had a great time cooking together and Jenna learned a lot about reading instructions carefully.  We could have eaten all of them when they were warm from the oven, but we did save a few for the boys :) 
 Hope you're hungry now! Have a great month and go try a new recipe! 

Monday, June 27, 2016

June Accomplishments

I won't be in my sewing room for the rest of the month, so I thought I'd post my June accomplishments a little early.  The month started with a mad dash to get teacher presents finished as the kids finished school on the 7th.  I think I already showed you the mini-quilt top that Jack and I made for his teacher - while he was off enjoying Boy Scout camping with his pack, I decided I would try my hand at facing a quilt. I picked an orange backing and had some orange strips in my scrap container to make up the pieces I needed. I followed the instructions for facing a quilt with a mitered binding from Susan Brubaker Knapp's blog. They were fairly straightforward and well written. I did have a few issues with the corners, which I will chalk up to eyeballing (vs. measuring) and inexperience. In the end, I am pleased with how it came out and Jack's teacher loved it. 
Quilt front after facing
Faced quilt back
The other teacher gift was for my daughter's Star Wars loving teacher - and I used the remainder of the Star Wars fabric I bought to make his Christmas present to make a one-hour basket from the free pattern I picked up on Craftsy a while back. I timed myself as I made this to see if it really took one hour and it clocked in at 45 minutes - perfect! This is a great size basket and I plan to make more of them for all kinds of things. They also make a great teacher gift. 
One hour basket
The other project I worked on throughout the month is my Valentine diamonds. This was my May UFO so I kept going on this one instead of switching to my June UFO. I finished the month with a finished top and back and I am looking forward to quilting this one. 
The last picture I have to share with you is our bee's finished quilt for Diana's Golden Needle. Caryl put the binding on it over the last few weeks and it came back to me last week. I need to get it mailed off now to support Diana in her Gold Award project - her original goal of finishing 16 quilts is now almost to 100 finished quilts in the Scrappy Trips pattern, plus she still has more tops that will be quilted and somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 quilts in different patterns - what a great project this has been to watch - I've really enjoyed seeing her accomplishments and am glad that we have a quilt to donate to the cause. 
My total sewing time in June was around 7 hours - a lean month in terms of hours, but I set a goal for myself to spend at least a little time in my sewing room 2 weekdays and 1 weekend day every week and it seems to be working. I have several other projects in the queue, so I plan to continue with this plan to get me downstairs, because once I am there, I am usually content to stay for a while.  

I hope you're enjoying your summer and getting some good time in to work on the crafts you love. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

May 2016 Cooking

As time has gone on, it has gotten to be more of a challenge to find new recipes to cook, and we're also trying to go back and make some of the things we enjoyed the first time around! It is funny when we have something we had before (I know because I mark all the cookbook recipes we've made and have a separate folder for recipes we've made vs. haven't made) because we often don't remember how we felt about it the first time around!  

We tried a few new great recipes in May: 

From our Fix-it and Enjoy-it Cookbook, we tried Asian beef and noodles. This is made with ground beef and is a nice alternative to tacos or hamburgers. It was also a quick meal for a weeknight. If you are looking for one cookbook to add to your collection that has a wide variety of foods, most of which are fairly easy to cook, I highly recommend this cookbook. We've enjoyed a lot of recipes from it!   

Next up was another of the crock pot meals left by my neighbor - this one is Sweet and Sour Beef. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this because I don't like sweet and sour dishes when we get Chinese food. I was pleasantly surprised by this one and enjoyed it. It was a little heavy on the pineapple, but the overall taste was good.

Our favorite meal in May was El Paso Enchiladas from Mr. Food. We devoured this pan of enchiladas and will definitely make this one again!  It was great to have all the chicken cooked and shredded ahead of time for this meal. 

The final new recipe for May was Pineapple Sheet Cake, which I made when I hosted my bunco group.  It was tasty, but we never finished the whole pan. I am pretty much the only one in our house who likes pineapple. I might make this again, but would more likely go back to some of the other desserts we've made.  One thing I can say for this recipe is that it was super easy to make. It came from my Mary Englebreit Fan Fare cookbook. I will have to try a few more recipes from this cookbook - what we've made to date has been okay, but not great. 
Hope you enjoyed reading about our new recipes - do you have any favorites we should try?