2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Late Spring and Summer Recipes

As I sit enjoying the first day of fall (the temperature dropped 30 degrees overnight!!), I thought it was high time I shared some of the new recipes we tried over the late spring and summer. 

First up - another winner from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, scalloped macaroni and ham. We had leftover ham for this one and it was yummy. Panko breadcrumbs on the top made it extra crunchy. We will revisit this one for sure! 

For this one, you get the plate picture first, then the fun picture! It is the Chicken Enchilada Bake from Fix-It and Enjoy-It, and other reason we love this cookbook! I am not sure why we hadn't tried this one yet, because it was awesome! 
 And here's the growing boy about to devour his! 

The next recipe, Meatball Sub Casserole, is also from Fix-It and Enjoy-It and it actually wasn't a hit...probably the first one from this cookbook that we didn't really enjoy. It has a base layer of bread, then you layer on sauce, meatballs, and cheese - cream cheese and mozzarella. It was okay, but no one was clamoring for the leftovers. Too much cream cheese maybe, or the bread layer, not sure what it was, but we've had lots of other meat/sauce dishes we like a lot better.  
 The third recipe from Fix-It and Enjoy-It is Sausage Tortellini Soup. Jenna is not a fan of tortellini and she didn't disappoint. She took about two bites and then headed to the fridge to find some leftovers :)  The rest of us really liked it, so this will have to go into the file for "make when Jenna is at camp or a friend's house!"
 Ok, I didn't realize when i started to pull these recipes together that so many were from Fix-It and Enjoy-It, but this one is too! It is BBQ Marinated Chicken that Mike grilled for us. It was really, really good and the parts that charred on the grill (you can see the dark edges) were so savory. This will go into the summer grill rotation for sure! I enjoyed taking all the leftovers to eat for lunch!
 The next one is a recipe from All Recipes - Mike found it and made it himself because he loves Fettucini Carbonara, and this one didn't disappoint. We all enjoyed it - it will be returning soon! 
 Next up, my teenage baker was at it again! I wound up with a ton of blueberries and layed out 4 recipes for her to choose from. She picked Blueberry Boy Bait, shared with us by our friend Sara. It's also available on the internet and I recommend you make time to make it now! It's the best, and that lemon glaze on the top is just yum! 
 The hits continue with Sesame Shrimp with Ginger Broccoli, a Cooking Light recipes. Short aside - did you hear last week that Cooking Light is getting folded into another magazine next year? I am so sad! We've found so many good recipes in that magazine. Ok, back to our dinner. The shrimp was great, and I could have eaten twice as much as I did! The broccoli would be okay...but I think I'd be just as happy to have regular broccoli with some seasoning. 
 In the "easy weeknight meals" category, we tried Chicken and Black Bean Tostadas from Mr. Food. I'd had tostadas at restaurants, but had never bought them for home. They turned out great and we all enjoyed them.  The things on the top that look like marshmallows in the picture are actually green onions! 
 Getting close to the end now - these last two recipes were from this past week. We tried the Frittata from Better Homes and Gardens and Mike added ham, cheese, and sauteed onions. It was delicious and also another quick, easy dinner for a busy night (we've had lots of those lately). 
 Last up, another recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, One Pot Spaghetti. You brown the meat, add everything to it, and cook it all in the same bowl. I wasn't sure how it would work, but it turned out pretty well. The only thing I didn't like as much is that there really wasn't any sauce, as it all got absorbed into the pasta and other ingredients. I think we'd be just as good to make up some good sauce, then add it to pasta as normal, but this was a good one to try. 
Whew, that was a lot of recipes - more than I thought I had! As you can still, we're still testing and trying and still finding some new gems and some good go-tos. Hope you've seen something you'd like to try! 

Monday, September 3, 2018

August 2018

It was a really interesting August here in central Indiana. The weather was cooler than normal, which was a real benefit. We really enjoyed having windows open in the middle of the month! 

We started the month fully back into the school swing of things and had to figure out how to adjust back to the school nights, homework, and defined bedtimes. Our son also joined the middle school tennis team, so we've been figuring out how to get in practice and homework. He's had two matches now - won one, lost one - and is learning how to play a little better each week. It is fun watching him learn and grow. 
Jack in the front
We also spend a Saturday at our Indiana State Fair, an event we've enjoyed almost every year. We have our usual stops for specific foods, but the kids love standing/sitting in the huge tractor tires each year. One of these days, I'll need to pull out the pictures over the years - I have a feeling these tire tractors are getting smaller all the time! 

On to the crafty activities. The middle of the month found me flat out with kids, work, and extracurricular activities, so I was really happy when August 17th came and it was the day for the Indy Summer Stitchers retreat. My mom and I decided earlier this year to try our hand at hosting a retreat, and we wound up with 30 stitchers who convened upon Whitestown, Indiana for a weekend. We had stitchers from 6 or 7 states and a good time was had by all. Having never done a stitching retreat, I didn't know quite how it would go, but it is just like a quilting retreat - bring too many projects, don't get nearly enough done, stay up too late, and have a great time! We already have the contract set for next year, and as of this week are already full! We decided not to increase the size, but we will take a wait list as we know sometimes things change over the course of a year. 
The 2018 Indy Summer Stitchers

So, with all that stitching time, I did get two projects finished and one fully finished. We did a fall small exchange, and I made the little green one in the middle/right on green fabric that says Fall and has acorns and a pumpkin on it. 
All the amazing fall smalls from our retreat! 

I got this beautiful basket with a sunflower and it also had some needles and tiny scissors inside. I've also hidden some leftover chocolate inside and so far the kids haven't found it! 
My "win" from the Fall Small exchange
I also finished one other project - actually at the retreat - my second chalk of the month piece. I am not going to do all 12 months, but picked out the ones I really liked, and this was one of them. I was able to buy the backing board at a semi-local needlework shop, so I will need to get going so that I can finish this one! 

I also FFO'ed my Liberty piece that I stitched last year. You can see it here with my other show and tell items from the retreat. I worked on another pillow too, but it isn't quite done yet, so you should see a picture of that one in the September wrap up! 
Some of my show and tell, with the newly finished Liberty pillow.

On the quilting front, I found 6 days with time for sewing, for a total of 6 1/4 hours. I spent some of that time on finishing the pillows, quilted another maple leaf table runner for my friend Kathy, and got my red and orange strips for my rainbow scrap challenge blocks done. 
Red strips (from July)
Orange strips (for August)
As the month neared its end, I moved along two other projects - the first is a french braid quilt that was all kitted up but not started by my friend Lois when she left me her stash.  Jenna loved it and claimed it, so she picked out the thread color for the quilting (pink), the quilting style (large swirls), and the binding (also pink).  I finished it up right as she came down to say goodnight, so she grabbed it and was off to bed with it the night I finished it! Hooray for another UFO done! 

I also loaded another quilt on the frame, this one also for my friend Kathy. I quilted part of the first pass, and then the week got busy.  My goal for today is to get some time down in the basement to get this one done or well on its way. 

In the stash report department, I had a good month - fabric out for the Liberty pillow and a hunk of fabric to my mom to make pet beds for the local humane society. 
Fabric added this month: 0 yards
Fabric used this month: 2 1/2 yards

Fabric added year to date: 20 yards
Fabric used year to date: 35 1/2 yards

Net fabric used: 15 1/2 yards 

I just realized that I forgot to include my birthday gifts and fabric - I'll put them into the September report! I celebrated my birthday mid-month and enjoyed an evening with family, with one of my favorite dinners (Chicken Bruschetta Bake) and desserts (key lime pie!). 

Hope your August went well - see you again soon! 

Friday, August 24, 2018

July 2018 Update

It has been a little too long since I wrote a blog post! I had the best of intentions at the start of August, but the month has almost escaped me and it has been a busy, busy one! But alas, first I have to update you on July. 

What a lovely summer we had - it started with a visit from my good friend Beth and her son Evan. Some of you may remember that Beth, my stitching companion and back door neighbor (among many other things!), moved away 2 years ago to pursue new adventures in Orlando. We've visited a few times, but this was their first time back in a long time and we loved having them here over the 4th.  I worked part of the week while they visited with other friends, and then I took off work the latter half of the week and we enjoyed some fun around town.  It was so nice to have one of my besties back in town, even if just for a week! We got in a little stitching time too :) 

Good friends back together again! 
 After that, work and summer camp kept us pretty busy until the end of the month when we headed north to Michigan to spend a weekend with another bestie and her family. We loved our long weekend at Houghton Lake, and the weather was perfect! We had a lot of fun fishing and Mike wound up with 5 catches! Each of the kids had a keeper too. 
Jack's first catch!
To round up the month, the kids started school on July 31 - super early, but we are in a balanced calendar/year-round school schedule and they will have a couple longer breaks during the year.  Most kids in Indiana are back in school by the end of the first week in August! Both kids are doing well in middle school. Jack, a rookie in 6th grade, joined the Tennis team and is learning how to juggle that with homework and Boy Scouts.  Jenna, the veteran 8th grader, will be part of the Art Club, Student Alliance, and continues in Girl Scouts. We are planning a big trip for fall break! 
First day of 6th and 8th!
On the crafty front, July was busy for stitching and slow for sewing.  On the stitching front, I continued to plug away at my Stitch Maynia starts and wound up finishing 5 of them! Now, I mostly have bigger projects to finish for the Stitch Maynia starts, but I am working away on those too. 
Snow Love by Country Cottage Needleworks - my first time stitching on the polka dot fabric.
Spring Smalls bunny by Lizzie Kate
Fourth section of Snowbelles finished while Beth was visiting!

Wooden pendant - freebie from a stitching magazine.
Hip Hop by Lizzie Kate
On the quilting front, it was a bit of a dismal month, with sewing only happening on a few weekends. I did accomplish a few things though.  I pulled one of my UFOs and made a back and then quilted it per Jenna's request. It will become a new bed quilt for her. I made a binding but didn't get it sewn down yet. 
Swirl quilting on the french braid
I did finish my teal rainbow scrap challenge blocks, but didn't even get around to pulling the red scraps for the July blocks (my big plan is to catch up this weekend!). 
Teal blocks for rainbow scrap challenge
Here's the stash report, bolstered by the making of a quilt back: 
Fabric added this month: 0 yards
Fabric used this month: 4 1/4 yards

Fabric added year to date: 20 yards
Fabric used year to date: 33 yards

Net fabric used: 13 yards

And now fot the not-so-good report on sewing time...
Weeks with 3 days sewing this month: 0 
Total days with 15 mins of sewing in July: 6

Onward and upward - more sewing and stitching to tell you about in another week or so! Hope you've had a good summer and enjoyed the update :) 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

June 2018 recap and Mid-year check-in

Old Glory by Sam Sarah
I started June the way I finished May - with lots of stitching. Having stitched a little almost every day in May, I continued into June and had three nice stitching finishes, so let's start with them. I picked up several pieces that were closed to finished so that I would have some quick satisfaction (and not so many UFOs!). 
Follow Your Heart - love this message, especially with a teenager in the house!
Whipped Spider Web - Noel Heart by Victoria Sampler

Pink Rainbow Scrap Challenge Blocks
On the quilting front, I didn't have tons of time quilting this month, but I did move along a couple projects. I finished up my pink rainbow scrap challenge blocks leftover from May and got started on my June blocks (they aren't yet done, but should be by the end of this weekend). 
Teal Strips for Rainbow Scrap Challenge Blocks
I did a little quilting for a friend of mine - she made two of these table runners and I got the first one done - now to decide how to quilt the second one. I love her text fabrics and the bright Kaffe Fassett maple leaves. 

I then decided it was time to get going on a few UFOs that were really close to being done, so that I'd have at least a little progress to report by mid-year! I finished up my Crayons quilt and also my Carol Doak block-of-the-month. I am so glad to have both of these done! The Crayons quilt will go to a new baby that I know, and the Carol Doak quilt will hang in our house. 
Crayons baby quilt - a finished kit!
Carol Doak 2007-08 Block of the Month

Here's the stash report and stitching time: 
Fabric used this month: 1 yard
Fabric added this month: 0 yards

Fabric used year to date: 28 3/4 yards
Fabric added year to date: 20 yards

Net fabric used: 8 3/4 yards

Sewing days in June: 9
Weeks of sewing at least 3 days: 1/4 - 25% success
Sewing/quilting time: 6 hours

So, now that we've recapped June, I thought it would be good to check in on my goals for the year: 
1) Reduce UFOs - get to 12 or less by year end:  With the two I finished this month, and two added from my retreat, I am still at 17 - better make some more effort to get to my goal in the second half of the year. 
2) Participate in the rainbow scrap challenge - Done - although I am a little behind, I am close and still enjoying the blocks each month. 
3) Do more quilting and crochet - I am doing well with the quilting - my goal of spending 15 minutes 3x a week has given me a reason to head downstairs many nights. I have already quilted 7 projects (my goal for the year is 12), and I have done hardly any crochet. With all the stitching, the crochet has taken a back seat, but I am okay with that. 
4) Lose and keep off 5 pounds - I've been up and down quite a bit with this goal, but made a couple changes the last few months that are helping - I've started taking my lunch a few days each week, and I've made it a priority to get some evening exercise in. As of the end of June, I was down 3 1/2 pounds, so I need to make a little more progress and then really work on maintaining the loss.  

I would say that, at the halfway point, I am pretty pleased - I am going to make a little more concerted effort to work on the UFOs over the next few months, and keep myself going on the evening exercise and, if I can be successful on both of those goals, I will be really pleased. 

Happy 4th to all in the US and hope July has started well for all of you. I learned the other day that my blog hasn't been sending me comments for the last 3 posts, so I have attempted to fix it...hopefully it will be resolved with this post, but if you haven't heard back from me, thanks so much for your comments! 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

May 2018 Accomplishments, Stash Report and Stitching Time

Here we are almost into July and I haven't yet recorded my month of May stats. As I shared in my last few posts, most of May was dedicated to StitchMaynia or Prep and Sewing at my spring quilt retreat. I did have a good amount of sewing time in May between the retreat prep and the retreat. I had 41 1/2 hours of sewing time!! That's a high for recent years. 

In addition to the projects I finished at retreat, I also: 
- Made a binding for one of my UFOs and sewed it to one side of the quilt
Rainbow binding for a bright quilt.
- Taught my son how to sew Boy Scout patches onto his uniform
- Quilted a beautiful batik quilt for my friend Kathy (pattern is Crossroads by Blue Underground Studios)
Quilt back - hand guided quilting - meandering paisley
Such a bright and cheery quilt top! 
- Made 8 clutch wallets as thank you gifts for the ladies who volunteered on the Girl Scout Service Team with me this year. (With special thanks to my mom and her super cool embroidery machine that makes almost this whole thing in the hoop!)

The stash report worked out okay in the end! I added some fabric for my Tag Along bag, and my Square Dance quilt, and then I also bought some to add to the stash from various sale rooms. 

The strange green fabric in the bottom right is for a challenge - each member of our bee got a yard and we have a year to make something with it...let me know if you have any ideas!! 

Here's the impact on the stash report (thank goodness I was cutting and sewing lots at retreat to keep it even!): 
Fabric added this month: 10 5/8 yards
Fabric used this month: 11 3/4 yards

Fabric added year to date: 20 yards
Fabric used year to date: 27 3/4 yards

Net fabric used: 7 3/4 yards (phew, still in the black for this year so far!)

For stitching time, I did okay. The weeks before and after retreat only had 2 sewing days, but every other week had at least 3, so I met my goal 3/5 weeks. I sewed 14 days in the month. 

I think that's all for now. Hope you had a good May and worked on a few things you enjoy! 

I am linking up with Donna at QuiltPaintCreate for Sunday Stash and Kate at Life In Pieces for 15-minutes a day

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Stitch Maynia 2018

May certainly shaped up to be an interesting month. In the late weeks of April, I kept reading/seeing information about Stitch Maynia, a project started a few years ago that basically encourages you to start a whole bunch of stitching projects in the month of May. It seems it has ebbed and flowed a bit, and I found three variations for this year - 1) New start every day for 15 days, 2) New start every day for 18 days, and 3) Stitch every day in May. 

I figured I had several kits and several fairly recent purchases that I had or could easily kit up that I could take a gander. So, the evening of the last night of April, I brought a bunch of stash upstairs and dug through it to find that I could pretty closely kit up 18 projects, with 15 of them being completely new. 
Maynia kits all ready to go!
I didn't know when I started which variation of Maynia I was going for, so I just started by stitching something new each day and I did it! I made it through 15 new starts, and I stitched all but 4 days in May. 

I didn't know how I'd feel about it when I started as I rarely have more than 2 projects in progress. I found the first day fun, but didn't know if I'd like the second day because I was enjoying my first project. Then I started my second project and I had just as much fun with that one. Then my third and so on. I found that I actually really enjoyed pulling out and starting a new project each day. 

By the time I got to 15 days, I was very ready to go back and work on some of the prior starts. I was also ready to have a finish! 
My lone finish for the month - Waffle Stitch Kit by Victoria Sampler
For the rest of the month, I went back to the projects I'd started in the first half and usually just grabbed one out of my bag without looking and worked on that for the night. Sometimes it was just 15 or 20 minutes of stitching and sometimes it was over an hour. Some projects really have some visible progress, others not so much. 

In the end, I really did have a good time, and I am so glad I pulled out a few projects I have had for a long time and got going on them. 
Maynia progress - end of the month
I don't think I will let the projects languish in my bag. I have continued to work on them in June and am actually having fun with the kids - I let them pick a random number between 1 and 18 and that's what I work on for the day/night. As of this typing, I have three of the maynia starts finished, and I am still enjoying pulling something different to work on each day. 
I don't know if I will do it again next year - but it sure was a fun challenge for this year!  And the best part is that I made time for stitching (almost) every day. It was a great way to end most days with a little quiet time, a quick show or youtube video, and a needle and thread.

I guess the next thing to do is adapt this to quilting projects so that I work on some of those too!