2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Year End Stash Report 2016

I don't think I've done a stash report since October, but there wasn't much to report in November, and actually in most of December - I did use a little fabric as we got closer to Christmas as I decided to make a few gifts. 
First up, the usage in November and December: 
- Used a little for borders on my kaleidoscope top
- Made a few blocks for a friendship quilt
- Made a tote back, three Watcha Got bags, and an apron for Christmas gifts (pics to come when I post my accomplishments for December)
- Gifted a fat quarter bundle

And then, the additions...about half of which were gifts and half of which were impulse purchases :) 
- Cardinal kit - a belated birthday gift from my brother - love that this will be something I can put up after all the Christmas decorations come down when the house looks really bare. 
- Christmas quilt kit - a gift from a fellow quilter and co-worker, and a total surprise. I think the colors from this quilt will look great in my house! 
- Aussie fabric from Capitol Quilts in Maryland, courtesy of my mom - a fat quarter from her, and a kit to make a tote that I asked her to pick up for me
- Charm pack and 1/2 yard of Eclectic Elements to make pillows for my couch - picked up at The Back Door when I went with my mom for her birthday shopping
- A couple wool kits also from The Back Door - one of my goals this year will be to work on some of the wool kits I've bought from them! 

Whew, that was a lot added, so my totals for November and December are: 
Fabric added last two months - 11 1/8 yards
Fabric used last two months - 5 3/8 yards

And now the totals for the year - I am overall very happy with the year end stash report, especially given how little time I spent in the quilt studio this year and how much I used scraps or finished up things that I already started (and counted). 

Fabric added in 2016 - 28 yards
Fabric used in 2016 - 86 5/8 yards

Net fabric used - 58 5/8 yards

This was my 7th year to record my stash usage, and I bought more than 2015, but less than 2014, 2012, 2011, and 2010.  I used more than 2013 and 2014, but less than the other years. This ranks #4 of 7 years for net usage.I plan to continue in 2017. 

Stash reporting has been a good way for me to focus on using what I have and shopping stash first, and also has me think twice before I buy fabric. It doesn't mean that I buy none, but I am (usually) more intentional now.  

Whether you track your stash usage or not, I hope you had a great 2016! I'll be back over the next week  or so with my year in review and goals for 2017. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

November 2016 Recipes

November found us revisiting a lot of good recipes we'd made once or twice before and by the middle of the month, I was out of ideas for new things to try, so one Sunday morning, I handed the folder of recipes that we haven't tried yet to my husband and he picked out a few! 

First up was Spice Roasted Salmon, a recipe from Cooking Light, March 2014 (not all that long ago). This recipe included a spice I've heard about but never used before - Garam Masala.  It took me three stores before I found it, but it was worth it. We really liked that it gave a different flavor to the salmon. 
The second recipe he chose wasn't a surprise to me at all - Beef & Beer Stew.  All three of those words are right up his alley, and to his credit, he does most of the cooking, so I was happy to pick up the ingredients for him to put together. In the end, we thought the flavor of this stew was good, but it seemed to be a lot more complicated than the normal stew we make (my mom's recipe) and not any better. The one part we really did like was the mashed potatoes, so I think we'll keep the recipe for that! 
Next up was a recipe my daughter got from my mom - Pumpkin smoothies from the Pioneer Woman. I've told you before that she really enjoys making sweets, and this was no exception. She and my husband really liked these, and Mike even had them for breakfast one morning!  I just couldn't get past having a whole can of pumpkin in a smoothie...
The last recipe for this month was inspired by cooler temps. I wanted soup and we had about 3/4 of a pound of ground beef left over from another night. I found Chopped Beef Potpourri in the Fix-It and Enjoy It Cookbook, one that has given us so many good recipes. This was no exception - it was a nice beefy vegetable soup with ground beef in it. We've since had it again and I liked it just as much the second time around! I think this one will become a cold weather staple for us. 

In addition to all these great meals, we also enjoyed two Thanksgiving dinners, one hosted by us for my husband's family. We had 16 people here and had lots of wonderful food, great pies (pumpkin made by Jenna!) and a raucous game of spoons after it all. It was a great month and we are now gearing up for more of the same as we approach Christmas!  Hope you all had some great new dishes in November! 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

November 2016 Accomplishments

Wow, November was a great month! I found myself spending a little more time in the sewing room and also doing some stitching and starting a new crochet project. I was off work most of the week of Thanksgiving, so I made sure that I made a little time each day for at least two crafting projects - I think I stitched every day, crocheted most days, and quilted 4 of 6 days. 

Let's start in the sewing room - the first thing I worked on was making some QOV (Quilt of Valor) blocks for Dar's Patchwork Garden. I need to get them in the mail to her soon - they were quick and easy to make, and I am glad to know that my scraps will wind up in QOVs. 
Next up was working on my project for November for the APQ UFO Resolution Challenge. I have had spotty performance on this challenge over the course of the year, but I did get my top finished - I had great plans to get it on the frame and quilted, but had to put a couple other quilts in the queue in front of it. 
The rest of the month was focused on quilting - I did two quilts for others. The first one is a comfort quilt for a colleague at work who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Another quilter friend at work pieced the top and cut the back and I did the quilting. I think it turned out pretty cute and the recipient loved it - we gave it to her the morning she was going to see the doctor and find out the results of her tests and the course of action. 
The final quilting project of the month is a top my mom made for her best friend for Christmas. I got it onto the frame and quilted in a couple days so she'd have plenty of time to finish it. When I pulled threads to audition for this one, I really thought I'd just use white, but it was a little too stark and an ivory looked much better. I quilted this one with my holly leaves and poinsettia pantograph. 
Quilting shows better on the back
Next up are my two stitching finishes, both snowmen this month! 

The first is Feeling Frosty by Miles to Go, a kit that I bought last year. My mom and I bought the same kit and she finished hers a few months ago into a cube. It turned out pretty cute, and I am planning to finish mine in the same way. I love this snowman because he isn't Christmas colors, so will be great to stay out all year! 

Next is my ornament from the Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments magazine - November's choice is the cute snowman and his snowflakes by Val's Stuff. I need to pick up some felt so that I can finish this one, but I think he's pretty adorable too! 
I don't have a picture of my crochet project, but I started a new hat. My mom knitted me a hat several years ago and I love it, but it has stretched out. I found out that I could use the search feature on Ravelry to narrow in on the amount of yarn + type of pattern I wanted to crochet, and that's how I found Everyday People. I am making it with some yarn I bought on sale a few years ago before I really knew what I was doing. I have been working on it a little every few nights, and am about halfway done, so I hope to have a picture of it in my December wrap-up. 

I also took some time the week of Thanksgiving to pull out all my stitching kits and patterns and go through them to really prioritize what I want to work on next year. I've enjoyed the ornament stitching this year, but I am ready to get back to some other projects and seasons. I have 12 projects pulled for next year and a list ready to take to the cross-stitch store of all the threads and linens I need to finish them. I am pretty excited about the variety of projects I have pulled to work on, and especially excited that some of them are patterns I've had for many years.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

New Recipes - September and October 2016

When we got to the end of September, I realized we only had a couple new recipes to share, so I decided to hold them for October. 

Hash Brown Potato bake made its way to the weekly meal plan when I discovered three partial bags of hash browns in the freezer!  This recipe was a great way to use them and it was a tasty dish. We devoured about half of it on the first night and the leftovers were even better (as is often the case with a casserole like this!). 

Chicken Mornay is a recipe that was given to me by my former Girl Scout leader, but for some unknown reason, we'd never tried it!  We had a small issue with understanding how to use bouillon when making this one, so it was a little too salty...but we've since tried it again with the right mix of ingredients and it was great!  A perfect comfort food with chicken, a nice cream sauce, noodles, and cheese. 

Sauteed Pork & Cheddar Studded Wild Rice is one of those recipes that I passed by many times and kept thinking we had to try, but never quite pulled it out of the folder. Well, we finally did and it was interesting. It's made with apple juice and dried cranberries, and the combination of both of those was a little too sweet, at least in the rice portion of the meal. i think we'd try it again, but we'd omit one of the two to make it more savory than sweet. 

Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan is an old standby, and we've tried a few versions of it over the years. This one was really easy and quite tasty. Even though the recipe is from Ragu, I bought a little better pasta sauce to make this with. It was a good weeknight recipe and the kids enjoyed it. 

Chicken Jalfrajie was a new recipe with a very interesting name!  This one came from the Brewpub Cookbook and is from (according to the book) the only brewpub in the country serving Indian food. It was tasty and easy to make. 

Now, saving the best for last, hands down the best recipe we've had in a while is White Cheese and Sausage Pasta. It was this wonderful cheesy, tangy, delicious pasta dish, and I could have eaten the whole pan in one sitting. I think I called the leftovers while we were still eating!  I told my husband that we could have this one every week! 
Okay, I forgot one...and this is the cutest one! Jenna is turning into quite the baker, and she had to try her hand and Indiana's signature pie, Sugar Cream Pie. She saw the recipe at the State Fair this year and decided it was something she needed to make. She did everything herself and then we all enjoyed the fruits of her labor :) 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

October 2016 Retreat Report and Accomplishments

October was sure a busy month - it started with retreat, my 20th college reunion, a family vacation to Florida, a camping trip with my Girl Scouts, a trip back to Florida for work, and a full day field trip with my Girl Scouts.  It's amazing I had time in there to breathe! 

The start of the month was the time of the most sewing, given that it was my retreat. I started the month by doing some prepping so I would have my projects ready to sew, and then headed to Shipshewana, Indiana for our annual trek to Amish country with about 90 other quilters.  I bought a few things along the way there, while there, and on the way back, which you can see in my last post. While there, I made great progress on my projects: 

- Bound and labeled the QOV that I quilted last month, and then gifted it to my friend at the college reunion. 
QOV at Show and Tell
QOV with my friend Adam who served in Afghanistan. He teared up when I gave it to him. 
- Made up the snuggle scarf from the kit I purchased a couple years ago while on a day shopping trip with my bee. 
- Pieced a panel into a quilt top (no picture until after Christmas!)
- Started and finished Martin's pennies, a project that is in my UFO Challenge list for this year. 
Martin's Pennies at Show and Tell
- Made two purses - one for me and one for my mom. 
Mom's purse (left) and mine (right)
Interior of my purse with a little pop of orange
Interior of Mom's purse - lots of pockets and areas to store stuff
- Finished a table runner that has been my leader/ender project that I only work on when away from home. 
Leader/Ender Christmas Table Runner
After all that, and given my schedule for the remainder of the month, I didn't touch my sewing room again until the 31st.  I worked on some QOV blocks that will be heading to Dar of Dar's Patchwork Garden. I ended the month with 21 1/2 hours of sewing. 

All in all, I am very happy with all I got done at retreat, and the rest of the month was quite enjoyable too! 

Oh, and before I let you go, I have to make your mouth water a little. We start each retreat by having dinner at an Amish farm the night before and the food is unbelieveable - noodles, mashed potatoes, pies, bread, roast beef...it all adds about 5 pounds, but it is really worth it. I took pictures of that a few years ago and didn't think to take any this year (and they ask us not to take pictures that might include any of them). Then, throughout the next few days, we have a couple places we always make sure we go. One is JoJo's Pretzels - and I have to tell you, I look forward to this all year! They sell about a dozen varieties of pretzel, plain or with toppings. My favorite is the plain, regular pretzel, but this year I also tried a whole wheat pretzel. It was great - still smothered in butter :) 
JoJo's Whole Wheat Pretzel
JoJo's is on the first floor of this great building called the Davis Mercantile, while also happens to have a fantastic quilt shop in it. Up on the top floor of the building is a lunch place that we also love to visit during our retreat. I've had great salads, burgers, and sandwiches there over the years, but the pie there is....just yummy. It is also made by an Amish lady, and she usually turns out to be our waitress too.  This year, I tried the pumpkin cream pie and it was really, really good!  
Pumpkin Cream Pie
Hope you've had your lunch already! I'll be back in a few days with the recipes we've tried in the last few weeks. 

Oh, I was about to post this when I realized I forgot to include my stitching finishes! I didn't spend much time stitching this month, but I did finish two ornaments from my year of Just Cross Stitch Ornaments. Here are the ornaments for October and December (I am a little out of order!). 

Merry Christmas - October ornament

Olde-Time Christmas - December ornament
Okay, now I think I'm done!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Stash Report - October 2016

Wow, over a month since my last post, but I've been busy! Yesterday was the first Saturday in a month that I haven't been out of town or committed to something for the whole day...and it was lovely! My mom and I went to lunch, did a little shopping, and then I came home and took a nap. It was great! 

From a stash perspective, it has been a pretty busy month. It started with preparations for my retreat - I did a little bit of cutting so that I could just sew when I get to retreat, which makes me feel like I get a lot more done there. I cut out a panel/top, and two purses, which had lots of pieces! 

I also took some time to pull together the leftover fabric from the quilter's garage sale earlier this year, and took a full tote of fabric to sell. It was mostly Orientals, as I have decided that, while they are very pretty fabrics, I really hardly ever use them. I did save a few from the stash, but the rest went into the sale bucket, and I did really well. I sold just over 26 yards of fabric! It paid for my purchases and my food while at retreat :) 
Stitching supplies - a new pattern, linen, threads, and ribbons to embellish finishes

I did buy a little fabric - there was a neat kit on sale at Pumpkinvine Quilt Shop and I just couldn't pass it up. I also added a few FQs, and a few stitching supplies as well. 
Quilting additions - a kit, a few FQs, a towel kit, and a few bobbin holders
Here's the final result on the stash for October. 

Fabric added this month: 3 5/8 yards
Fabric used/sold this month: 29 1/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 16 7/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 81 1/4 yards

Net fabric used: 64 3/8 yards

 I will be back soon to show you all that I got done at retreat! 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

September 2016 Accomplishments and Stash Report

September found me making some real progress in my sewing studio as well as finishing up some stitching and crocheting. 

On the quilting side, my "first-a-finish" was meant to be my Wonky reindeer top that I made at retreat last year, but I never quite got around to finishing it, so I moved on to a top from a friend that I've had to quilt way too long. I finally got it loaded on the frame and quilted the bright, busy Kaffe Fassett fabrics in an all over chrysanthemum design from Angela Walter's book. I used a variegated pink/orange/purple thread and it worked very well with the quilt. 
Once I got that off the frame, I loaded one of my older UFOs, which was also picked as the APQ UFO Challenge item for the month, Rough Around the Edges. I had held off on quilting this one a long time because of the raw edges in each block. I did a little reading on the Handiquilter Glide foot (which my mom gave me for my birthday) and got it installed, then went to town.  It worked beautifully with this quilt and I did an all over loops and stars design.  This quilt is going to a good friend who has served two tours in Afghanistan with the Army, so I will get the binding on at my retreat this week and then deliver over the weekend. 
My other sewing finish was the bag I started last month, the Super Tote from Noodlehead. I love how this one finished and I've been using it all month. It is a great tote for my crochet projects. 
The only stash usage I had in the month was a fat quarter for backing my still-in-progress Wonky Reindeer, so here's the stash recap: 

Fabric used this month: 1/4 yard
Fabric added this month: 0 yards

Fabric added year to date: 13 1/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 52 1/8 yards

Net fabric used: 38 7/8 yards

I also finished up a crochet project this month - a cowl from Craftsy called the Petite Basketweave Cowl. I am really pleased with how it came together and look forward to wearing it this fall. It goes well with my favorite purple shirt :) 
My final finish is a stitching one - a small piece I've had for a long, long time called Sleigh Bells Ring. I stitched it on a scrap piece of 18 count Rustico fabric and plan to finish it into a cube or flat fold. I love how this happy little reindeer family turned out. 
I am working now to get ready for my retreat that starts Thursday and looking forward to having a few days to dedicate to some good quilting time. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

New Recipes from August 2016

We were able to fit in a few new recipes last month, and also enjoyed revisiting some that we tried earlier in our cooking challenge. 

We started the month with Chicken and Black Beans from Mr. Food, which I don't find on his website, but is in his Easy Tex-Mex cookbook. We often eat Sausage, Beans, and Rice, and this was very similar in taste but with a different meat. It needs a little more oomph - next time we will try adding a few spices to it. 
Next up was an ambitious girl who decided she wanted homemade Strawberry Shortcake, so she made it! She pulled the recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook and we took it to my parent's to share with them. It was delicious! She is becoming quite the little baker (and I love that!). 
Enchiladas Cancun was the next new recipe, from a Sargento recipe collection that I added to my recipe folder at some time in the distant past! It was quite good, but we tend to like our enchiladas with corn tortillas, so we will try it with them next time. 
Next up was a recipe that I pulled from Cooking Light way back in June 2012 for a Summer Veggie Rice Bowl. August was the perfect time of year to make this! I loved the dish and the leftovers. Everyone else in the family was lukewarm on it, but none of them are fans of zucchini (unless it is in bread with chocolate chips!). The week we made this, the grocery store was out of pine nuts, so we substituted almonds, which worked quite well. I look forward to making it next summer with pine nuts! 
Last up was the last of the crock pot meals from my neighbor. This one is called Beef Stroganoff, but it wasn't like stroganoff that we've had before. It was more like a chili. We all really liked it, so I will buy the ingredients for this one again. 
Hope you enjoyed seeing the new recipes - I just made the menu plan for this week and we have another new one on the menu. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Stash Report and Accomplishments - August 2016

The warm, lazy days of summer are upon us and I have enjoyed a nice month with relaxation, stitching, time with kids and friends, and a wee bit of quilting too. Since it wasn't a very busy month in the crafting department, I thought I'd do  my stash report and accomplishments for the month all together. 

I started my month by finishing one of my earlier APQ UFO Resolution tops - #7. I made the top in June and had pulled binding fabric at the same time. It was sitting on my cutting table, so I decided to go ahead and finish the quilt off. I quilted it with a pantograph that is echoing hearts, perfect for a valentine's quilt. I kept at it and got the binding attached and sewn (all machine sewn) so I had this one done by the middle of the month.  
The rest of the month found me doing more cross-stitch than quilting, as I could more easily stitch and watch the Olympics! Our family was glued to the tube for two weeks watching all the sports we could and enjoying every minute of it. During that time, I finsihed up my August ornament from Just Cross Stitch called "Dear Santa" and started on another pattern that I've had for ages. I should have it finished soon, as  I am into the backstitching now. 
I did find a little time to get going on my APQ UFO Challenge item for August, #6. For me, this is a kit, as I'd bought the fabric and the pattern about a year ago. I added it to my UFO list so that I would make it a priority to get it done this year. At the end of the month, I was about 50% complete, so it will probably be my "first a finish" for September. 

I did have quite a good time adding fabric this month, as our LQS had their annual Ice Cream Social sale and it coincided with my birthday, so that meant I could get sale fabric for a great price, and then purchase anything else in the store with my birthday discount. I did have a good time and finished up 4 bolts...a few of them had less than 2 yards left, so it wasn't too much fabric, but it sure was fun! 
Sale fabric and birthday purchases
In total, I spent 8 1/4 hours in my sewing room and here is the impact on my stash: 
Fabric added this month: 9 5/8 yards
Fabric used this month: 2 1/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 13 1/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 51 7/8 yards

Net fabric used: 38 5/8 yards

Hope you are enjoying a restful and crafty Labor Day weekend!  

Sunday, August 7, 2016

July 2016 Stash Report

I posted yesterday about my accomplishments for July, which included using a little stash for backing and bindings, so that's my true usage for the month.  However, my numbers look great because I also participated in my Guild's "Quilter's Garage Sale" in the middle of the month. 
A friend (that's her in the picture) and I filled a table to the brim with items for sale and I was able to sell several cuts of oriental fabrics and some packs of fabric that I have realized I won't ever use.  I still have a bin of things I didn't sell, so I plan to take some of them to the sale table at my fall retreat to clear out a few more things. 

Here are the official numbers: 

Fabric added this month: 0 yards
Fabric used (or sold) this month: 19 5/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 3 5/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 49 3/4 yards

Net fabric used: 46 1/8 yards

Hope you had a great time with your stash in July! 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

July 2016 Accomplishments

We started July by wrapping up our Michigan vacation, and boy, was it great to have some time at Houghton Lake with one of my best friends. We enjoyed swimming, kayaking, fishing, some awesome pulled pork from her new smoker, and fireworks on the lake. I was also able to get in some good stitching time, so let's start with that.  

I had two stitching finishes in July - Stars and Stripes, a Country Cottage Needlework design. It turned out larger than I had anticipated, so I will have to decide if I want to frame it.  It is nice to have another patriotic item stitched that I can put out from Memorial Day through Labor Day. 
Next up was an ornament for July. I didn't like the one the group had chosen, so I decided to use one of my two wild cards and stitched this simple ornament. I think I finished it in two stitching sessions, and I hope to get it made into an ornament pretty quickly. It is stitched on some leftover Aida that I've had forever and is called Peace 2015 by Glory Bee (I adjusted the year to represent when I stitched it) from the 2015 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments. I had trouble getting good light for this picture - it is not quite so obnoxious in person. 

In my sewing studio, I realized I needed to recommit myself to my theme "First a Finish" if I was going to end this year with fewer projects in progress but not quite complete. Over the course of a couple hours in one weekend, I finished up several projects and it sure felt great! 

I did the final finishing work on Dream Big by adding the ribbon. It is ready for gifting now.
I added the cording to Plenty and made the hanger. It is ready for the tree now and this one will stay with me, given my love for reindeer. 
 After I got done with the stitching finishes, I turned to the quilting one. I made the binding and hanging sleeve for my old neighbor's quilt that her mom made her. I also stitched down the binding during the month so that it would be ready for her to pick up at the end of the month and take with her to her new  home in Orlando. 
Finished and bound, ready for its new home
Quilt back made with scraps from the front
Last up in my finish-a-thon was my Quilting in Layers from the workshop I took earlier this year with Terry Kramzar.  I did a faced binding on this one too, my second ever! Terry recommend these instructions for facing a quilt and I loved them - it was so much easier than what I tried first, and now I am looking at all my small quilts to see which ones I can face instead of bind!  
Last up in the sewing studio was the UFO for this month's APQ Challenge.  #4 was pulled and that's one of my patterns that I have had a long time, but never started. It called for cutting around 300 squares/rectangles, and that's all I got done by the end of the month. I decided to kit it up and take it to retreat with me this fall. The original pattern was done with Civil War Reproduction fabrics, but I saw a sample in batiks and really liked it, so I bought the pattern...probably 10 years ago!  

The last thing I will leave you with from July is a picture from the Indy Modern Quilt Guild show last weekend.  I am not a member of the IMQG, but always enjoy supporting a local show and this was no different. They rented a pavilion at a local park and hung quilts all around.  It was a small but nice show.  
 Hope you had a great July and are enjoying the start of August!