2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Monday, July 28, 2014

Quilt #10 - Hill Country Pinwheels

My 10th quilt of the year is one that you've seen me work on since my retreat in March.  It started with a charm pack and some yardage to try out the disappearing nine patch made famous through the Missouri Star Quilt Co. videos.  We did the blocks as a challenge at our retreat and I got all my blocks made then.  Over the course of the next few months, I added a border, decided to make some more pinwheels, and then got the top finished at a work day.  While I was working on the quilt, I decided that it would be a birthday present for a friend of mine who was in my girl scout troop in Texas.  

I decided to try one of my new pantos on this quilt, as I thought it would do well with more dense quilting.  The panto is one of the most dense I have ever tried and I really struggled with it.  I even left the quilt alone on the frame for a couple weeks after starting it because I was not enjoying the process.  In the end, I am okay with how it turned out, but I am really starting to think about whether I want to focus on pantos going forward.  I don't enjoy them nearly as much as I do freehand quilting, so I think over the next few months, I am going to give it some deep thought and may wind up divesting myself of most of my pantos so that I can really try to develop my freehand skills.  The Craftsy classes I have purchased would support this too. 

For this quilt, I used a very pretty Rainbows variegated thread on the top and a bottom line in the bobbin.  The back of the quilt was a large piece of some flowers seen in the Texas hill country as well, but it wasn't from the same line. I used most of the remaining layer cake squares and a little yardage to finish off the back. 

I was really thrilled to be able to give Melissa her quilt at her home in North Carolina, where we stayed on our way to our Outer Banks vacation.  I was even more thrilled to have her go pull the quilts I'd made for her kids when they were born so that I could get a picture of all three of them with their quilts.  I was so glad to see that they have all been well used and well loved.  It was really cute to see her youngest discover that I was the one who made her quilt for her :) 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Stash Report - Weeks 27-30, 2014

Wow, July has been a really busy month and I haven't taken a lot of time to blog about all my adventures.  We had a family vacation and I had a girl's weekend since I posted last and they were both great in terms of sightseeing, food, and reconnecting with those I love. 

I also had a little going on in the sewing room in between it all. I got the crazy idea to give each of my girlfriends a quilt for their birthday this year to commemorate the milestone year we are all passing (it ends in a "0").  As a result, I was able to get some stash slashed for quilt tops, backs, and bindings.  I also added a little bit as I've picked up the kits for three of the rows of the Row by Row Experience.  I am looking forward to adding a few more and getting them into a top. 
Row by Row kits
Here's the stash report for the last four weeks: 

Fabric added last four weeks: 3/4 yard
Fabric used last four weeks: 6 5/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 26 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 36 3/8 yards

Net fabric used: 10 yards!  It is good to be back in double digits - hope I can stay there for a while! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

June 2014 Cooking Challenge

Due to the aforementioned busy month, we didn't make a whole lot of new recipes in June, but we still managed a couple. We were actually without air conditioning for a couple weeks, so the goal was quick meals that could be cooked on the grill or with just a quick heat up of items on the stove.  By the end of the month, we were back in business, but then clearing out in preparation for vacation, so rather than making lots, we were trying to eat everything in our fridge! 

Whoops, I wrote out this whole post, then went to add the pictures and discovered that I missed a recipe! Early in the month, we made chicken from a recipe right off the Hidden Valley Ranch bottle - Jenna spied it when we were having salad one night and batter her eyes at daddy to request he make it for her.  It was a great recipe, and although I am not completely sure, I think it is this recipe from their site. I seem to think ours also had some cheese in it, but the rest of the recipe seems right. 
The first recipe for the month was Lemon Pepper Chicken - which I had pulled off the bottle of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire for Chicken (formerly known as White Wine Worcestershire).  This has become increasingly harder to find, but is a great sauce and I use it routinely on chicken.  This recipe was perfect - the chicken was still moist and was flavorful.  If it had required a whole lot more work, I don't know that I'd go to the effort, because you can get a very similar taste with just the sauce and some lemon pepper, but since Mike was cooking, the effort was fine by me ;-) I couldn't find the recipe on their site, but if you are interested in it, let me know and I will send you a copy.
Lemon pepper chicken with Naan bread
Next up was Mmm Meatballs, which are actually Chicken Parm Meatballs. They got the funny name because I had turned down the corner of the page when I copied it, so the only thing left in the title was "m meatballs." Let me tell you, they were every bit the Mmmmm. We all loved them and will definitely make them again.  Once again, I am very sad that this magazine is out of print (Everyday Food). 
The third recipe of the month came after a hot weekend of camping. We arrived home and just chilled out (literally). We had no interest in warming up anything or even eating anything warm, so it was a good night to have Lemony Shrimp and White Bean salad.  It was a perfect meal served over lettuce (from my garden, as was the dill!).  This is a recipe that is even better a few days later. I took it for lunch mid-week and enjoyed it more then.  
Next in the lineup was a recipe from one of my cookbooks, and it was Nut Crusted Fish. I used pistachios (thanks to my neighbor for supplying them) and cod.  The dish was easy to make and really tasty, but the fish itself wasn't that great. I think I'd try this one again with a fresh fish. 
The final recipe of the month was a dessert - "Sakes Alive" Chocolate Fudge Bars. These were made using the Martha White cookie packets, which I hadn't used before because I don't find it that hard to whip up a batch of cookies from scratch.  It was all going well in the preparation, but once the batter went into the oven, the chocolate layer started to cave in.  I wound up cooking the mix about 15 extra minutes, and even then, the interior was pretty gooey.  The outer edge was well cooked, so I decided to pull them out.  The verdict on these was that they were really too rich, and not any better than a traditional pan chocolate chip cookie. This is a recipe I won't be keeping to make again. 
Sakes Alive is right! These sure don't look like the picture online!

Hope you enjoyed reading about this month's adventures! 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

June 2014 Accomplishments & Four Goals

I had a very busy June, with a work meeting that I was in charge of to start the month, a weekend of camping, and preparation for vacation. Between them, we also had the end of the school year and start of summer camps, and that can be a little bit of a crazy time. Even with all that going on, I managed to get some good sewing in during the month. 

My four goals for June were: 
1. Quilt Barbara's modern top - done and blogged here
2. Make teacher gift(s) (I know I will make one...not sure about the second) - I did only make one - got it finished on Thursday night for the last day of school on Friday! Blogged here
3. Make back for and quilt pinwheels - done, gifted yesterday, and to be blogged about soon. 
4. Quilt a UFO - didn't even pick one out to work on. 

For July, my four goals are: 
1. Finish honky tonk top
2. Quilt & bind honky tonk 
3. Do some sewing while on vacation
4. Do some finishing work on a cross-stitch (I have lots done, so there will be several to choose from).

I am pretty pleased with what I finished on my goal list considering everything that was going on. 

Here's the full list of my accomplishments for the month: 
- Made a tea towel and tote bag for a future birthday gift

- Quilted Barbara's Modern top
- Made back for, loaded, quilted, and attached binding by machine to disappearing pinwheels quilt.
- Made bag for Jack's teacher as an end of the year gift. 
- Cut out my next quilt top with fabric from one of two quilt shopping trips I went on during the month. 

I had a respectable 16 1/2 hours this month - it is amazing how quickly that number moves up when you actually get going on a few projects (deadlines are a good thing!).  

Hope you had a great June too and were able to work on whatever projects were on your list.