2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Saturday, March 3, 2018

February 2018 Accomplishments and Stash Report

Wow, where did February go? Oh, right, to the Olympics! I spent a lot of time watching and enjoying the Olympics, and didn't spend that much time sewing. Even so, I did get a few things done. 

I pulled out my UFO #9 and decided to start making some more blocks. It is a Thangles Buck-a-Block from 2008! I diligently made the blocks way back when, and then put them away as I had decided not to buy the finishing kit. I knew when I pulled it out that 12 blocks wouldn't be enough to really make anything with, so I started making opposite color blocks. I had a good time, was reminded how many darn steps there are in making blocks with Thangles, and taught both kids how to carefully pull off the paper! In the end (today actually), I got 9 more blocks made before I ran out of fabric, and here they are on my design wall. I don't quite know what to do next, so I think I will take them to  my mini-retreat next week and see if my friends have some ideas. I have plenty of batik fabrics I can use with them, but just need some ideas on how to set them. I'd like to wind up with a nice sized lap quilt. 
At the same time as I was working on the Thangles, I was also getting my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks for February done. I posted about them last weekend and you can see the pictures here

I also did some handwork during the Olympics, and got my hand embroidery done on my Valentine's candle mat. I got it quilted and bound just in the nick of time before the end of the month. This one, being a very small quilt, got straight line quilting on my regular machine. 
Last up in the quilting department is a top I quilted for my mom. It was an easy quilt job after last month's custom quilting. 
In the cross-stitch department, I finished up my Topsy Turvy Bunnies from Val's Stuff. I got this pattern in the sale room at my Local Needlework Shop, Persnickety Stitchers, last year. It's nice to get it stitched up quickly! I used all kinds of substitute thread in this one, from DMC to Weeks Dye Works to Splendor Silks. I like the way it turned out and I will probably finish it into a little cube. 
For the stash report, I took a little hit because I did some SuperBowl sale shopping - both at the Needlework shop and the quilt shop! I went big an bought a new kit with a Minkee back at the quilt shop. I can't wait to make this one and cuddle underneath it! 
Quilt Shop Purchases
Fabric added this month: 7 7/8 yards
Fabric used this month: 5/8 yard

Fabric added year to date: 7 7/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 1 3/4 yards

Net fabric added: 6 1/8 yards (I better get working on a few backs to turn that number around!)

And in the challenge to find 15 minutes a day, I was successful about half the month (before and after the Olympics!) in finding three days/week to sew. For the whole month, I had 10 days where I spent time in my sewing room for a total of 13 1/4 hours of sewing. 

Hope you had a nice February and have some fun plans for March (I do!)....more to come in the weeks ahead!  

Linking up with:
Judy's UFO Challenge
Donna's Stash Report Sunday
Kate's 15-Minutes a Day

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A mostly purple weekend

I was glad to have some good sewing time this weekend in between the Pinewood Derby, a night with friends, and a mountain of laundry! I was able to spend a couple hours each day in my sewing room and moved forward a couple projects. 

First up, my blocks for February for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I made three blocks again this month and messed up the piecing of one of them again this month! The good news is that I had a few extra strip sets, so it didn't set me back too much. As I cut my scraps, I realized that I had a lot of string left over, so I decided to make a string block as a leader/ender. I made string blocks a few years ago, and they are patiently waiting for more blocks, so I may continue this over the coming months. 
Purple Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks
Bonus string block
After finishing the blocks last month, I did get a little cutting for the sashing done. As I went back and looked at the directions again this month, I realized I needed one 2" square and 8 smaller squares and I'd only cut the smaller squares. The good news is that my blue scraps were still handy, so I cut out my purple and the remaining blue cornerstone pieces. I won't be using these until I am ready to put the quilt together (probably next year), but I am glad to cut them when I already have my scraps out! 
 Today, I worked on my UFO for the month. I signed up for a buck-a-block way back in 2008 (when I had a baby!) and made the blocks, but then they got put away because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them. I pulled them out again at the start of this month and decided I would make the opposite blocks (dark where there was light before) and see how far I could get. As of this afternoon, I have 6 blocks duplicated and the fabric prepped to make a few more. I don't have enough fabric to make all of them in duplicate, so I will have to play with the setting to decide how I want to finish this. It's been fun to work on these blocks again, and now I've taught the baby (who is going to turn 11 this week!!!) how to pull the paper off the back. It's nice to have help :) 

Last week I had some super early meetings, so between that and the Olympics being on, I didn't get down to sew at all during the week. This week shouldn't be quite as early, so I am hoping to get back to the sewing room mid-week to make some more progress on this UFO. I won't finish it by the end of this month, but I think I will bring it to my retreat so I can start thinking about how to finish it. 

Hope you had a nice weekend with some time to do just what you wanted! 

Linking up with Angela at So Scrappy for Scraphappy Saturday

Monday, February 12, 2018

Winter 2018 Recipes

Last year, I started spacing out the sharing of recipes because we were in a little bit of a "rut." When I say rut, I mean nothing like when we started this challenge and had about 10 different meals that we rotated, but I wasn't finding many new recipes to try. I guess I got kick-started over the holidays, because I have a lot to share. 

I'll start with a few bombs. It isn't often that a recipe totally bombs in our house, but we had two in a row! 

The first one is from Midwest Living, called Sheet-Pan Sausage and Fall Vegetables. we really enjoy sausage, so I was looking for a different way to cook it. This one looked good, but the flavors just didn't do a thing for us. We'll be putting our sausage on the grill next time. 

The second bomb was Maui Beef on Coconut Rice from our Trader Joe's Cookbook. I had never cooked short ribs before, followed the recipe and they looked great. I cut into the first one and it was almost raw! Ewww! We put them back under the broiler for a bit, but they never got quite done enough for our taste. About the only part of this recipe that we liked was the coconut rice. They might look pretty on the plate, but we won't be making this one again! 

Things looked up from there - here are the remaining recipes we've tried lately, in no particular order. 

Beef & Noodles - for those of you who cross-stitch, you probably know of Vonna, the Twisted Stitcher. She posted her menu for the week on facebook and had this on it. She was generous to share the recipe - we tried it last week and it was great. Even better on the second day when the noodles really absorbed the sauce. Keep an eye on her website to see if she adds the recipe there. 

A fairly easy weeknight meal in this Campbell's Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie. I cut this one out of a magazine years ago (the ad on the back says the offer is good if you respond before Nov 15, 1997!), so this one's been percolating a long time. It was a great and pretty easy chicken pot pie. I didn't find the exact recipe, but there are several that look close from this google search. Ours called for Bisquick for the topping. 
Mmmm, crusty, crunchy Hellman's Parmesan Crusted Chicken from the Quilter's Cookbook gifted to me by my friend Kathy. There's something about that layer of mayo and the crunch of the bread crumbs. We loved this! 
 This one is an old standby for us, but I am not sure I've shared it before. It is a made up recipe, although originally it may have been in the Trader Joe's flyer. It is lemon pepper pasta with tuna in oil and capers. Drizzle some olive oil over the top and add some more pepper and this is a hit in our house. It is also a super easy meal to make! 
 This one didn't photograph well (but you can see the bunny from Jenna's plate peeking out), but it tasted great. It is Mexican Crock Pot chicken. We shredded the chicken after this picture and loaded it into corn tortillas with the beans and salsa on top and it was lick-your-fingers yummy. 
 Another super yummy dish here - Mexican Lasagna from one of my favorite cookbooks - Fix it and Enjoy it. With corn tortillas, salsa, and beans instead of regular lasagna ingredients, it was a hit. I gobbled up all the leftovers before anyone else could get them!
Another Quilter's Cookbook recipe - Oven Fried Fish. This had good texture, but I think we picked the wrong fish. We'll try this again with something a little thicker. 
 Here's another quick and easy one that was shared by a friend - Pork Chops in Mushroom sauce. I'll share the recipe for this one - place chops in bottom of a glass pan, cover with 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 can water, and onion soup mix. Add extra mushrooms to the top if desired. Bake for 45 minutes at 325. This one was a nice pork chop recipe, but was a little salty for me. We did enjoy putting the extra sauce on the rice though. 
This one was advertised as a 15-minute meal by Rachael Ray. My husband, who  made this, said it was more than 30 minutes. I think it was worth every minute for this Skillet Tamale Pie, made with polenta, which was tasty. 
 Jack's plate gets a cameo in this one - good thing I took the picture quickly, because he devoured these Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas from the Quilter's Cookbook. I am a sucker for sour cream enchiladas, and the only disappointment in these is that there weren't any left for lunch the next day! 
Our last dinner meal - and one of the most recent too - South of the Border Pie - a nice vegetarian dish from the Better Homes and Garden's cookbook. We forgot to put the salsa in the pie, but topped it when we ate it and the flavor was great. 
Whew, after all those dinners, it's time for dessert! My mom cooked dinner on Christmas night, so I made dessert. This recipe for Holiday Chocolate Mint Bars came from a magazine that also has a 1997 date on it! It was a very thick bar - a lot like a Texas sheet cake - with a nice layer of mint below the chocolate on top. It was sinfully rich, but delicious! 
Hope you enjoyed this little trip through our kitchen and found something that looks good to try! Oh, and don't worry, I know winter isn't over yet! We still have a few new recipes to try in the next couple weeks. I'll try not to wait to long to share the next set. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

January 2018 Accomplishments and Stash Report

This year starts with some great progress in the sewing room thanks to the goals for the new year and some inspiration from Kate at Life in Pieces, Angela at So Scrappy, and Judy and APQ UFO challenges. My goal is to spend at least 15 minutes in the sewing room at least three days a week, and I did well most of the month (I did have one week where I was just a little too tired, and only had two days) - I had 14 days of some sewing room time, so I think that's a pretty good start. 

I worked on several projects this month, some that I showed in my last post and the rest I'll show here: 
- A new purse
- Three scrap blocks in lighter blues (as part of the RSC Challenge)
- Loaded and finished quilting my January UFO - the Carol Doak paper pieced blocks that I started in 2007-08 and got into a top last year. 
UFO quilted and with facing attached to the back - I'll sew it down during the Olympics.
- Finished quilting a top for my mom

For my stash report, I only used a little fabric - for the back of the Carol Doak quilt, and a little white for the scrap blocks. No new fabric came in for January. 

Fabric added this month: 0 yards
Fabric used this month: 1 1/8 yards

Fabric used year to date: 1 1/8 yards

And in the stitching front, I had a great January, with three finishes: 
- Baby's first Christmas ornament
- Summer Camp (a very small piece from a kit I bought over the holidays)
- Baby It's Cold Outside (the second piece on my Snowbelles project)

Hope you had a great January - the cold weather kept us in a lot of the month, but we did find an afternoon to get to the ice skating rink. It was fun for the kids to ice skate for the first time and I got use of some muscles that haven't been used in a while! 

I am doing a little linking up for this post with...
Kate at Life in Pieces for the 15 minutes a day challenge
Angela at So Scrappy for the RSC challenge
quiltpaintcreate for the Stash Report
Judy at Patchwork Times for the UFO Challenge

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Two week's progress

It really is amazing how much you get done when you spend a little time sewing more often! I finished up a purse project, a couple blocks, and a cross-stitch ornament this week, and I am energized to do some more. 

First up, a new purse! I love making purses and I love how this one turned out. It is the Claire Purse from Lazy Girl Designs. I bought the fat quarters in one of the shops we visit when we go to Shipshewana in the fall with the intent to turn them into a purse. This weekend, I need to turn over from my existing purse to this one. I am excited to use it! 
Second a stitching finish - this one will be made into an ornament. You can see how its meant to be finished on the picture and I'll show you the personalization once it's finished and gifted. I enjoyed this quick stitch to start the year! 
Last up for today are my first two scrap blocks for the rainbow scrap challenge - I made the strips as leader and enders while I was working on the purse, and then put the blocks together last night. I thought the blocks would go together easily, but not so much. You really have to pay attention to the direction of the strip sets when you add the corner triangles. I am hoping to get a better system for upcoming months to make it go a little faster! In looking at the pattern, I also realized that I need to cut some smaller squares for the sashing. Before I start making sashing, I think I will get a few months into the blocks to see how I like the sashing and where I want to place the colors (randomly or next to the blocks of the same color. 
This afternoon, I am settling in with a new cross-stitch project. I hope this will be a quick on and then I can get back to my Snowbelles and get another one done to keep that one moving. I also plan to spend a little time finishing up my third scrap block and find a backing for this month's UFO. Be back soon to show you my progress, or you can keep up in the meantime on Instagram where I am @jenquilter. 

Have a great weekend! 

Linking up with So Scrappy for Scrap Happy Saturday

Sunday, January 7, 2018

2018 Goals

Wow, it's been a cold week here in Central Indiana - it was -8 when I drove to work on Tuesday morning and warmed up to an almost balmy 14 yesterday. The crazy thing is that they say we will be in the 50s by next week! 

So, I have been thinking quite a bit on goals for 2018, and to be honest, I haven't come up with a lot, but given that my best change from 2017 came from a goal/resolution that I didn't even consciously set, I think that's okay! 

So, let's start with the crafting goals: 
1) Continue to work through UFOs - I've again made a list of UFOs to work on, and this year, I used the random number generator to help me create my list! I have 17 quilting UFOs and hope to have 12 or less by year end, which means I also need to make sure that the projects I work on don't become UFOs! I follow both APQ and Judy Laquidara when they choose their number for the month, then look at my list and decide which one I want to work on. For January, I am going to start with #12. 

2) Get back to playing with scraps - I did some scrap blocks a couple years ago and it really didn't even make a dent in my scraps. As all my tubs of scraps are full, as are my tubs of fat quarters, I need to work on getting them down to a more reasonable volume. I am going to make scrap blocks for the quilt in the picture below. It is a pattern that is in my binder of "someday" projects, and I think it will work well with scraps. My plan is to make a few blocks each month (the quilt in the pattern has 30 blocks, so if I average 3 a month, I will have a nice size lap quilt). I am joining Angela the Rainbow Scrap Challenge to keep me motivated to work on this. 
RSC 2018 Pattern and first set of scraps - light blues
3) Do a little more quilting and crochet. There are some sub-goals in this one:
- Try to find at least 15 minutes to quilt at least three days a week (that will equal at least 156 days of quilting in 2018). I'll be following along with Kate at Life in Pieces to see how I do on this goal. 
- Finish 3 or more crochet projects. I'd like to get back to doing a little here and there and working through some of the yarn I've bought and the projects I've marked on Ravelry. 
- Quilt 12 quilts/projects on my HQ. I only quilted 9 in 2018 and my machine went for long stretches with either the same quilt on it or no quilt on it and I'd like to change that this year.  
First quilting done for the year - a panel quilted for my mom! 
I don't feel that I need to set a goal for cross-stitch this year, as I don't seem to have a problem finding time to work on that, and I have about 15 kits ready to go so lots to pull from. 

On the personal front, I want to make some progress on exercise and specifically weight loss. I continue to add a couple pounds a year and I want to put that to a stop. I have a specific goal to lose and keep off at least 5 pounds this year, preferably 8-10. I track my weight in the Lose It app, and I weighed in Jan 1st - it wasn't pretty - so I will be able to track progress throughout the year. 

That's it for the goals - what are you working on in 2018? 

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 Year In Review

Wow, it sure seems like 2017 went quickly! We had a good year in our family - a wedding and a new baby for my cousin, a fantastic summer vacation, and (mostly) healthy parents. We've had a good chance to see family, travel together, and travel apart (this one is mostly for me, as it means I go to quilting retreats or to see out of town friends). 

At the start of the year, I set four goals, hoping that by simplifying, I would make good progress on each one, and I have to say I did fairly well. Here are my goals and my progress on them:  

Craft goals: 
1. On the quilting side, I am working again to finish up some UFOs, especially as my list of unfinished projects has gotten longer, so I will again participate in the APQ UFO Challenge and also Judy Laquidara's UFO Challenge. I only have one list, so I will have two numbers to choose from each month :) I'd like to get more than 6 of the 12 completed. Hey - I got 7 projects finished, so I think this one is a big success! I also moved two tops along to "finished top" stage, so overall, I am pretty pleased with this one. 
2. Stitch What I've Bought - I have so many charts, magazines, and a few kits, and I really want to focus this year on stitching things I've already got! I did pretty well on this too, 14 of my 18 completed stitching projects were things that I had at the start of the year. 

Personal goals: 
1) Paint - This falls into the home improvement category. Several items in our home need paint...the exterior, our family room, our remodeled bathroom, and my son's room, and all of these spaces have needed paint for at least 6 months. Some good success here too - we finally painted my son's room and our family room, and I have a contract for painting the exterior of the house (by the time I committed, the weather turned cold, so it will be painted first thing next year). The big one that remains is our new bathroom (now over a year old). Hopefully my husband will feel inspired to work on it soon (he does most of our interior painting). 
2) Get up and Get Out - This continues my goal from last year to swim more. I want to do more exercise from home - walking and biking primarily. I want to get moving more often, even when the weather isn't great. I would say I just did okay on this one - I did get some more walking in and had a spell of several week when Jack and I biked once a week, but there is still progress to be made here, especially in the summer when the weather is nice. 

Now on to the fun stuff - the collage pictures! 

For stitching, I finished 18 projects (!!) and got four of them to the Fully Finished stage. Two of those were gifted over the holidays. Here they are: 
For quilting, I really thought my final numbers would be down this year, but they really aren't. I finished 30 projects, which includes 12 finished quilts (some started in earlier years) and 5 quilt tops. Probably the one surprising stat from 2017 is that I only made two bags. I gifted 11 of my finishes to others. It was fun surprising a few of them too :)  Edited to add that I quilted 9 quilts this year. 

No collage picture for crochet - I finished two projects this year - one hat (dorky picture below!) and a set of curlicue ponytail holders for my daughter and my cousin's step-daughter. (I didn't get a picture of these, but the pattern is here and they look just like it). 

After all this, probably the best change I made last year isn't one that I built into my goals - but on a whim I started it and it has been really good. I stopped taking my iPad upstairs at night during the week, which means that instead of mindlessly flipping through facebook, instagram, or blogs (which I thoroughly enjoy), I've been reading books before bed. I think that I am sleeping better and I know I am going to bed earlier (well, until I get close to the end of a good book!) with this change. It's a small thing, but has made a lot of difference for me. I even kept it up over my 2 week vacation at the end of the year. It also helps me get out of bed earlier in the mornings rather than leaning over "just to take a look." 

I am still thinking on 2018 goals, so I will be back this weekend with an update for you on them!