2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Quilt #10 2015 - Barbara's Floral Orange Peel

My friend Barbara asked me to quilt this top for her back in the spring...I think she gave it to me in May or June.  It sat and sat mostly because I didn't know how I wanted to quilt it.  I finally decided to load it on the frame over Thanksgiving weekend and finish it up for her! 
She asked for a custom quilting job that would highlight the orange peels and said that I could easily come in and out of them, because she will be adding a button and yoyo to the top of each one! After debating a lot (both before it was loaded and after), I decided to do loops in the open areas around the orange peels and figure 8s in the orange peels. 
Once I got going, this one moved along pretty quickly. I used Warm and White batting and Aurifil thread, which quilted up just beautifully, and with zero thread breaks across the whole quilt! 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Quit #9 2015 - Indy 500 Table Runner

On this cool, cloudy Sunday afternoon, I can't quite get myself motivated to do much more than keep the couch company, so I thought I'd write about Quilt #9 that came on and off my Avante this year.  Usually by this time of year, I'd be on quilt 20 or 22, but it has been a slow quilting year for me (balanced by a really good cross-stitching year, so I am not too upset by it!).  Over Thanksgiving, I had 5 days off in a row and I was determined to make some good quilting progress (I posted here about other progress I made that weekend). 

I wanted to make some quick progress, so I pulled the table runner off my design wall. This started as a row by row shop hop project. I initially planned to put all my rows together into a top, but then one of my bee-mates came and showed us how she'd turned a couple of hers into table runners. I thought that was a great idea for this row, since we celebrate race car driving in Indianapolis in May. I was lucky to have a checkered backing that matches the borders, so it keeps the theme going! 
I decided to do a custom quilting job on this quilt, but it is a little hard to see because I matched the thread to the backing. I did double loops in the outer border that look a little like car wheels, stitch in the ditch around the black border, and a loopy stipple in the grey with circles that look slightly like exhaust coming from the back of each car. 
The thread on this was interesting - I used Aurifil (top and bobbin) for the two borders, and it quilted beautifully, which has been my experience every time I use it on my longarm.  I used Isacord grey in the center of the quilt, and I was really pleased with it as well.  When I first got my machine, I bought about 6 or 8 spools of Isacord during a sale at a local quilt shop, and then someone who was far more experienced with a longarm told me that I couldn't use Isacord with my longarm because it would shred. I was really sad (and kinda mad that I'd just dropped a chunk of change on it!) and I didn't try it for a long time.  When I finally did, I had great luck with it and that has been the case ever since. I am really glad that I didn't throw it out or give it away! It is amazing how differently threads behave on one machine vs. another (and I am glad it behaves well on my machine). 

It was a quick on-and-off project and I look forward to using it next Spring! And, it is another kit completed in my year of the kits! 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

November 2015 Accomplishments

I started off November with a great bee sewing day and then didn't do any sewing for two weeks because we were on vacation in lovely Hawaii. 

We returned on a Sunday and I had Monday off to get things back in order before returning to work. I got a little sewing time in that day, and then kept the momentum going through the rest of the month. I really got a lot done over the Thanksgiving weekend - I sewed at least a little each day from Tuesday to Sunday and have something to show for it! 

Here's what I got done in November: 
- Finished the Sandcastle kit that I started on my fall retreat. 
- Caught up on the Midnight Mystery quilt - clues for Sept, Oct, and Nov
- Finished an Advent Calendar for my cousin. She has a 3-year old, so he is the perfect age for it! 
- Made up a couple pet beds
- Fabric framed a cross stitch baby announcement
- Made a couple more Scrappy Trips blocks
- Loaded, quilted, and bound my Indy 500 table runner - a row by row kit from the first year of the row by row shop hop. 
- Loaded and quilted a top for my friend that I've had way too long! 
- Made September's string blocks (yes, I am that far behind on my string blocks)
On the cross-stitch front, I finished another kit - Dream Big. I've pulled the fabric I want to use to finish this one, so plan to do that and send it off to the recipient soon. 

It was a great month and I am hoping to keep the momentum going in December. I still have teacher gifts to figure out, so better get going! 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Stash Report - November 2015

I have plenty to keep me busy over the next few days that is already counted in my stash report, so it is a good time to record the activities of the past month. 

I started the month by continuing to work on projects I started at retreat, so no stash to report for them.  Then, my husband and I went away for an anniversary trip to Hawaii. I took along some stitching and crochet, so didn't use any stash there, but I did add some. We found one quilt shop on our travels, Quilt Passions in Kona. It had great kits and lovely batiks, so I picked up a couple new kits. 
Once we returned home, I did a little inventory of all my projects in progress and decided it was time to finish up a few things, and I am glad to say that I have remained focused on that goal over the last few weeks, especially over this long holiday weekend. 
Lots of works in progress
My stash usage is thanks to a back and binding for this kit that started as one of the row by row kits from Quilt Quarters, the closest shop to my home. The city of Indianapolis really celebrates "the month of May," which culminates in a great parade and the Indy 500. This row will make a great table runner during May each year. 

I made a few other things here and there and managed to use a little more stash, so I am ending the month just a little bit in the hole, but I am okay with that given the progress I have been making and the net result for the year so far. I don't plan to binge on fabric during December, so I should end the year well. 

Fabric added this month: 5 yards
Fabric used this month: 4 3/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 20 7/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 141 3/8 yards

Net fabric used: 120 1/2 yards

Friday, November 27, 2015

Quilt #8 2015 - Sarah's Comfort Quilt

I was excited to get this quilt on the frame, as it is a gift for one of the women who was in my Girl Scout troop and was one of my best friends growing up. She has lost both of her parents already - her dad passed away earlier this year - and my mom and I thought it would be a good a good idea to send her a fabric hug. My mom did the piecing on this one with batiks left over from a guild quilt a few years ago. She then passed it off to me to make the back and quilt it, then she finished it off with the binding. 
I decided that swirls would look nice on this one - building off the design, but adding some curves to the straight lines. I used a light purple Superior Brytes on the top and Bottom Line in the bobbin. They worked okay together, but I still had a few issues with the Brytes shredding. It seems to be a pretty finicky thread on my machine. 
My mom mailed off the quilt a few weeks ago, so we hope that it will be well loved and well used. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Quilt #7 2015 - Be Warm Inside and Out

The next quilt that went onto my frame after Easy Street had to be something really easy! I picked up this panel that I put into a top at my spring retreat this year and it was on and off the frame in just about an hour.  I thought for a minute or two about trying to custom quilt it, but then came to my senses and decided upon free-hand loops as a good design. 

I am pretty sure that I used Bottom Line thread on the top and bobbin, but it may have been Robison Anton on the top (I didn't take great notes on this one!).I used a scrap of Warm and Natural batting, and it quilted up perfectly. It now has the binding sewn to the top. It is in my bag to go to bee to stitch down the binding to make this another finish in the year of the kits!  I am happy to have this little cutie done :) 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Quilt #6 2015 - Easy Street

Two years ago at my bee retreat in the spring, I finished my Easy Street quilt top. This was a Bonnie Hunter mystery (the first one I've done) and I enjoyed the process of making it and love the finished quilt top. Originally, I planned to quilt it with a panto, but later decided that this quilt could benefit from some custom quilting.

I finally made a quilt back earlier this year and loaded it on the machine in June. There it sat, because I didn't know how I wanted to quilt it.  After a couple weeks of walking by it, I started in the borders, with a paisley (hard to see in the picture because the thread matched so well). 

After that, I moved on to the green squares and quilted them with a dense back and forth. 

Then I got stuck again. In the end, I decided to do some custom quilting in each block, and then fill in the rest with tight loops. 

I wanted to have some continuity from block to block, but didn't take pictures along the way or make good notes, and I wasn't really enjoying the process on this one, so by the time I got to the final blocks, I couldn't remember what I'd done for the first few. 
In the end, I finished it, but it sits on the chair in my sewing room and I am not really happy with it. The only part I really like is the green squares. Several of the blocks are okay, but a few of them are just yuck.  I think I am going to rip out a few of the blocks and then do some stitch in the ditch around the pinks.....more to come on this one because I am not ready to bind it and call it done yet...but I am also not ready to deal with it yet! 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Quilt #5 - 2015 Purdue Pride

I have been way behind in blogging my quilting this year -- actually, not too far behind, because I haven't quilted that many. I downloaded all my pictures from my phone to my computer yesterday, which makes it way easier to attach them when I blog, so I am going to try to catch up this week. 

Way back in May, Jenna asked me to make a quilt for her teacher.  She had a special connection with Mrs. Greci and also had her twice - once for 2nd grade and once for 4th. We agreed on a pattern and fabric from my stash, deciding to use Purdue colors, since Mrs. Greci went to school there. Luckily, I had a sweet treat that fit the bill perfectly. I was so glad to use of one these pretty packets of fat quarters! 
I added one fat quarter and some yardage for sashing to finish at a nice size lap quilt. The pattern is Radio Way by Jaybird Quilts and it was quick and easy to put together. Jenna helped me with pressing, design wall layout, and snipping blocks apart while I was chain piecing.  
When I loaded the quilt, I decided to do tospy-turvy hearts following the horizontal lines on the quilt. This design takes a while to do and it gets a little boring, but I really love the way it looks when it's finished. I had a great thread combo on this quilt - Robison Anton gold with Superior Bottom Line in the bobbin. I used Warm and Natural for the batting. 
The quilt was wrapped up and delivered with a nice thank you note on the final day of school. Rumor has it that Mrs. Greci loved the quilt. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

October 2015 Cooking and Accomplishments

I am going to throw both topics into one post this month because I am already more than halfway into November!  I have a good excuse, my husband and I just got back from a 10-day trip to Hawaii to celebrate our 15th anniversary.  More to come on that later...

In the meantime, we only made one new recipe in October, but it was really good! This one is from the Feb 2007 issue of Midwest Living and is the Wild Rice and Turkey Soup. It came at the perfect time, as it cooled down (before it warmed up again!), and I love soup on a cool day. This was a really tasty soup, and I bet we will make it again with leftovers from Thanksgiving! 

In the sewing studio, I was busy prepping for both our Guild Quilt Show and my annual retreat to Shipshewana.  Here are the projects I finished during the month: 
- Teal Riviera Purse - which I entered in the quilt show and won a 1st place ribbon for!!

- Made a back, loaded, and quilted a comfort quilt for a Girl Scout from my troop (when I was a kid)
Comfort Quilt - pieced by my mom, quilted by me
- Made a fabric book for Jenna's teacher's new baby
- Sandcastle wallhanging top (a kit!)
- Wonky Reindeer top 
- Star tree quilt top
- My first Bendy Bag
- Midnight Mystery part 2 (which I haven't taken a picture of yet - I will get one when I do the next step!)

No cross-stitch was finished in October, but I got really close, so you'll see at least one for November! 

All in all, it was a great month between the retreat and the quilt show and I think it has spurred me to keep moving on a few things. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Stash Report - October 2015

I made the decision a few weeks ago that I will do monthly stash reports going forward - that should give me enough activity to actually report something! 

October was a great month with two big events - my fall retreat and our biennial guild quilt show. Both were great fun and both impacted my stash report :)

Purchases from my retreat - 1 book, 3 patterns, 1 cross-stitch kit,
4 FQs - 3 bought, one at my seat, and 1 iron (from Vermont Country store, came just before retreat!)
In the used category, I had quite a bit due to pre-cutting for retreat, which included cutting out a fabric book, two Bendy bags, a Christmas quilt kit, a small wall hanging, and a reindeer block. You can see almost all the finished projects here. (I didn't get the second Bendy bag done as I didn't have the right zipper with me!)  I also made a quilt back for a comfort quilt my mom and I have been partnering on.  
Purchases from quilt show - cross stitch fabric (2 bags), stitching frame,
ironing pad, astronomy kit -- (and pressing stick, which is currently hiding!)
In the added category, I did pretty well. I picked up a couple fat quarters at retreat and then purchased a panel to make for my husband (hopefully for Christmas) that ties to his favorite hobby, astronomy. 

Working on all the projects at retreat had a great effect on my report, so I continue to add to my usage: 

Fabric added this month: 2 1/4 yards
Fabric used this month: 9 7/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 15 5/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 137 yards

Net fabric used: 121 1/8 yards

I am really pleased with the progress year to date and glad that all the fabric I donated to our guild helped raise funds for our future activities and programs!  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Shipshewana Retreat 2015

My retreat was so much fun! It always is enjoyable to get away with no laundry, no cooking, no "mommmm" requests, and time to really dedicate to a craft.  I took several projects with me with the goal of making some good progress. A few of them were kits, and a few were patterns I've wanted to make a while. 

At this retreat, we all have a full 8 foot table to work on, and you can see the ironing board and cutting table that are along the outside wall. I pulled out all my projects and lined them up on the right side of my table so that I wouldn't forget all I brought! I always bring too many things, because there is always something that I either don't feel like working on or can't finish. 

I made lots of progress over the weekend, and laid out my finishes during our Saturday night show and tell - here's my little corner (you can click on the photo to see everything a little bigger) -- I'll walk you through all my projects. 

I started with the Christmas wall hanging in the front, adding a binding by machine. I'll stitch down the back side at upcoming meetings or while watching TV.  In the middle are three cross stitch projects that I had framed in Cincinnati (at Keepsakes). A friend who lives there picked them up and delivered them to me. I am so pleased with how they all turned out! 

On the right is a small wall decoration of a sandcastle. I still have to add some hand embroidery to this one to finish it, and then quilt and bind it. Moving to the left front corner is a fabric book, which will be a gift for my daughter's teacher's first baby who was born over the weekend. Behind the book is a Bendy bag. It was a really fun little bag to make - as are may of the Lazy Girl Designs

Two more projects that didn't fit on the end of the fireplace are Rudolph (with three dimensional ears and antlers) and my Christmas Tree/Star top. He has googly eyes that I will add once I quilt him. This one is about 15x18" and the face is paper pieced.
 The tree is a kit that I've had for many years, and it finished around 55" square. When I bought it, we had a blue couch...but we got rid of that a few years ago, so I will have to figure out another plan for this quilt...once I get it quilted and bound. Based on my previous retreat experiences, that won't be anytime soon! 
I started one final project before we left retreat - it is a small paper pieced card holder for Christmas cards. It isn't really far enough along for a good picture, so I will hold that until I can maek some more progress. All in all, it was a very good weekend for me. In addition to all the good work, we had an awesome dinner at an Amish farm, visited five quilt shops, and I made some new friends, as our group grew from 12 to 16. I am already looking forward to next year! 

Monday, October 12, 2015

August and September 2015 Cooking Challenge

We've continued to try new recipes, but I haven't taken the time to blog about them, so this is a wrap up of the past two months.  We are still doing well with introducing good variety from week to week, but when life gets busy, it sure is easy to fall back on the tried and true (easy) recipes. I've been trying to add a few more to that bucket, so we're now having things like salmon patties or baked chicken a little more often and spaghetti a little less often. 

Here's what we've tried over the past few months: 

1. Grilled Beef Kebabs from Rachael Ray - we actually made these once before, but it was long before we were doing the recipe challenges. Everyone in the family liked these, so they will be made more often than every 5 years! 

2. Pesto Chicken Burgers from Martha Stewart - I've pulled this recipe out several times over the last year, but we've never gotten around to making it. The basil was in full bloom (actually, it is really blooming now!) so I was able to pull fresh leaves to make the pesto. They were great - I served the adult burgers with the pesto and extra for dipping, and the kids got theirs just with the cheese and a little dipping sauce. They both decided to skip the pesto, but Mike and I liked it. This is a nice summer recipe when you have lots of basil ready to use! (I am sure I had a picture...but can't find it now)

3. Poppy Seed Chicken Strips from Mary Englebreit's Fan Fare Cookbook - I had to add poppy seeds to the spice cabinet to make this one, and it was worth it - the kids and I had this one night when Mike was out, and we all liked it. This is another pretty easy baked chicken dish that can go into the midweek rotation when we're busy. 
4. Chicken Broccoli Lasagna - I found this recipe while searching for another one and it looked like a great way to use the crock pot. It is a 4 hour recipe, so I made it on a day that I was home until lunch.  It turned out great! I shared some with my neighbor since it made so much  
5. Tortellini Shrimp Salad from The Lazarus Cookbook - This was a great salad for a warm day. This would be a great one to take to a picnic lunch - lots of great flavors. 

6. Teriyaki Beef Fried Rice from Pampered Chef Season's Best, Volume 10 - We were working to add a little more red meat into the rotation, so I picked out this recipe for a stir fry. It was okay - it is hard to distinguish one stir fry from another, but this one made the cut. (Missed the picture on this one, but you probably already know what stir-fry looks like!)

7. Zesty Grilled Ham from the Fit-It and Enjoy-It Cookbook (this links to a different source, but it is the same recipe) - We eat a lot of ham steak, and we like it. I thought this would be a good way to take a "normal" meal and liven it up a bit.  We all liked it and it wasn't too spicy for the kids. 
 8.Stacked Chicken Enchiladas from Cooking Light - This was a tough one to make - hands on time is 45 minutes! Mike made this one night while I took the kids to a soccer game. I was starving when I got home and it was delicious. I had more the next day (and the next) and still rate it delicious.  It makes a large pan and the green salsa that I bought had a little kick to it, so it was a little too spicy for the kids.  Mike and I ate a lot of this!  We'd make this again, but it would have to be on a weekend.  This is one you could prep ahead - there are two steps for the cooking and I think you could cook the chicken on one night and then do the rest the next night. 
Whew - that's a lot of recipes - and we're continuing to work through more.  It is amazing how many different things you can cook with about 30 minutes of effort a week (and a good trip to the grocery store!). 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Stash Report - Weeks 35-40, 2015

My lack of stash reports over the past few weeks is mostly due to lack of sewing. I did get motivated to get a purse cut out and finished - I am entering this in our guild quilt show and it is tough not to put it immediately into use! 
I also quilted a top that I made earlier this year, so I had two finishes that used a little fabric...but then I also went shopping! That's always what gets you in trouble, isn't it?  I picked up a couple FQs and some sale fabric. 

I also celebrated my birthday back in August and my bee gave me my b-day fat quarters, which I shared a picture of in my last post.  Now I am on the hunt for a pattern that will use them beautifully - if you have any ideas, please leave me a suggestion!  

Here's the accounting that covers the end of August, all of September, and the start of October: 

Fabric added last 5 weeks: 4 3/4 yards
Fabric used last 5 weeks: 2 7/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 13 5/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 127 1/8 yards

Net fabric used: 113 1/2 yards

I am hoping that I will get up to 125 used by the end of the year - I have some cutting to do for my quilt retreat coming up in 2 weeks and I have some backs to make, so hopefully I can get there! 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Recent Activity

The month of September has been pretty quiet in my sewing room. Between a trip during Labor Day weekend to our favorite lake in Michigan, the closing of registration for the quilt show (I am the registrar), a work trip to Boston, and a camping trip with my Junior Girl Scout troop, I haven't had much time or energy for much crafting of any type! I am moving forward with some crochet and stitching so I will update those soon, but I thought I'd share a few recent pics from my sewing room. 

In August, I made a quick little baby doll blanket for my great-niece. It went in the same package as her brother's baby blanket so that she would have something to play with while little brother was cuddling in his new blanket. I even used the lettering on my machine to put her name on it...I could still use a little work centering. 
 A little later in August, I collected my birthday fat quarters from my bee mates. I asked them for greys this year, and I love what I received. Now I need to find a good pattern for them..surely there is something in my pattern stash that will work! 
Last up is the quilt that my whole bee is contributing to. This is a Scrappy Trip Around the World, a free pattern from Bonnie Hunter. This top will be finished in 8 more blocks and I will quilt it and send it to Diana's Golden Needle. This is a Girl Scout Gold Award project and, as a lifetime Girl Scout, I am happy to support it! 
I have been working on prep for the quilt show for my own quilts over the last week, as I need to have them ready to go next Sunday, and then my fall retreat follows right behind that, so I will be busy pre-cutting to prep for the long weekend! 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

August 2015 Month in Review

I feel pretty good about the progress I made on my sewing, stitching, and crocheting projects in August.  I will do a post soon on my crochet projects and progress. 

I spent what felt like a good deal more time in my sewing room this month and got started on a new project (that always feels good, doesn't it?) and finished up some quilting that I have been procrastinating on for a long time!  Here's the recap of the 16 1/4 hours I spent sewing:
- Made one of my kits (top) - Indy 500 Row by Row
- Made several trip around the world blocks for Diana's Golden Needle (I will take a picture Monday when I have mine and the others from my bee laid out). 
- Cut all the pieces for the Midnight Mystery quilt and finished part 1 of the sewing
Part 1 of the Midnight Mystery
- Made purple string blocks

- Made a baby doll quilt for my great-niece (to go with the blanket that I am sending to her new brother)
- Finished quilting Easy Street (woo hoo - after 7 weeks on the frame!)
Easy Street peek
I just squeaked in my stitching finish for the month and knocked off another stitching kit. I think I will keep this one, but I am not positive. I guessed on where to start it rather than starting in the center and I am a little off center, so need to come up with an alternate way to finish it because it would look off-balance in a frame. 

Hope you had a great August!