2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

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!