2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Some cold weather sewing

As with many places in the country, it has been a very cold January in Central Indiana.  Last weekend, the meteorologist predicted cold temps, rain turning to ice, then snow. I got the necessary things done by Friday and planned to spend the whole weekend at home! 

I was able to spend a good amount of time in the sewing room both Saturday and Sunday and made some good progress on this baby quilt that I am making for my Aunt to gift. At the end of last weekend, it was in chunks, and as of this afternoon, the center and first border are done. The next border is pieced so it will take a little while, but there are more cold temps ahead!
I was using my 2018 rainbow scrap blocks as leader/enders and wound up with two finished blocks - now I just have three more to make to finish the blocks, then it will be on to assembling the quilt. I haven't decided yet if I will make scrappy blocks again this year...once I finish this quilt from last year, I may get the itch again! 

The last quilting progress is my first quilted top for the year - I quilted up this one for my mom - she will add the face to the snowman. Isn't he cute?  It was an easy quilting job - I did loops in the cream and snowflakes (aka asterisks) in the blue border. 

The last thing I got organized this week was my stitching projects for the #stitch9challenge on Instagram.  I found all but one of my UFOs (no idea where the last one is hiding!) and a few projects that I want to start stitching for the challenge. I added a couple embroidery projects at the end so that I could check off two lists at once - finishing an embroidery project is also on my 12 things challenge. I am certainly double dipping between all the lists and challenges, so hopefully it will work out well! Here are the projects I want to finish in 2019. 
I hope to get a little more in this week so that I have a few things to show you in my month-end post! Hope you're staying warm where you are! 

Linking up with Design Wall Monday and Scrap Happy Saturday

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Fall and Winter Recipe Recap

It's been a while since I shared our new recipes. I keep thinking that we will run out of recipes to try, but we never do! This month is all dinners. 

Starting with an easy dinner, we had Chicken Schnitzel from Cooking Light. It was a great and also easy weeknight dinner. 

Next up was a meal we all weren't quite sure about...it starts with rotisserie chicken and farro, the latter of which we'd never tried before. It was also a fairly quick to prepare and it turned out great! We all enjoyed it and decided it would be a really nice summer meal. It is the 15-Minute Chicken Shawarma Bowls
Next up is Chicken with Capers and Couscous from my Mary Englebreit Fan Fare Cookbook. This book is a compilation of her fan's recipes and we've found it a little hit or miss. This one was a hit though. 

Another Cooking Light recipe is next - Linguine with Ricotta Meatballs. We forgot to add the ricotta into the meatballs so we just added a little on top. This recipe was okay, but we decided we have had other recipes similar to this that we better, so I won't be hanging on to this one. 
In late fall, I decided it was time to find something to make with my late crop of tomatillos. I have grown them for a couple years and didn't always know what to do with them, but I found the most amazing recipe this year - Pork Tenderloin in Tangy Tomatillo Sauce from The Kitchn. It was so good and we all liked it. I think I know how I will use my tomatillos from now on! 
Next up on a sideways placemat (my favorites over the holidays!) - something I've been interested to try for a while - cauliflower rice. I saw the recipe in Cooking Light for Shrimp Fried Cauliflower Rice. I really liked it and it was a lot lighter than a rice meal. Mike and the kids weren't as big fans, but I will probably try to sneak it in again (or I will make it for myself sometime to take for lunches!). 
 How about some Mexican?  The Pioneer Woman calls this recipe Simple, Perfect Enchiladas, but they really weren't simple and they were no better than when we follow the recipe on the back of the enchilada can. Back to the good old standby recipe next time! 
 Next to last is a recipe thanks to our new addition - Imperfect Produce. We signed up for Imperfect a few months ago and we get a box full of produce every other week. I love it and it has really encouraged me to explore some more fruits and veggies. I got some spaghetti squash and decided to make a spaghetti squash "pizza casserole." I winged it based on a recipe my Girl Scout troop made while doing the New Cuisines badge last year. I baked the squash first, then added some garlic salt, pepper, cheese, and pepperoni to the top and baked it again. This was another one that I thought was great and the kids not so much. It won't stop me from getting another spaghetti squash! 
Last up is a recipe from our new cookbook! My friend Beth got me this one for Christmas and it is really fun. The cookbook is called Uncomplicated, and this recipe is the Easier Chicken and Parmesan Risotto. It was really good and we will definitely make this one again. 

All in all, we tried a lot of good recipes and a few not so good, but that's part of this game. Hope you see something here that you want to try! 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

2019 Goals

As with most years, I have been thinking for a few weeks about what I want my goals to be for 2019. I am fairly happy with most aspects of my life these days, so I don't have many self-improvement goals. Let's focus here on the crafting goals. 

I already shared my list of 12 things in 2019 - this is the first goal - I have 12 things and would like to get them all done. It is good that they are a mix of several different things including a few house projects. 

Secondly, I am joining the UFO challenge again. With only 13 on my list, all but one were selected with the random number generator. I may or may not work on the number selected each month, but I will stick with a goal to get at least 6 done, and with new projects keep my total UFO count under 10 by the end of the year. 

The last goal is related to my stitching. You've all watched quite a bit of stitching over the past three years and you know that I really love to stitch. But guess what? I've hardly finished any of it so I can enjoy it! As a result, I have a whole drawer full of finished stitching.  On New Year's Day, I turned over the UFO sheet and listed out all my stitching projects that are not fully finished - I ran out of space on the page at 30, and counted another dozen after that (at least!). I think the final count is just around 50.
Around 50 unfinished projects!
So, my goal is to fully finish two projects for every one that I start. I am not going to make myself stop and finish two immediately before I start a new one, but rather look at the numbers at the end of the year.  Wish me luck - this will probably be the hardest resolution, but likely also the most rewarding! 

I think that's a good set of goals for the year - what do you have on your list? 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

2018 Year in Review

A week into 2019 and as I look back, I am really pleased with 2018. It was a good year for me personally, even if challenging in some places.  I had a very busy year at work, a fun year with family, a fulfilling year with my Girl Scouts, and a balanced year in my crafting. 

Let's start with family (I am going to skip work talk on my blog!) - we enjoyed a nice vacation in Michigan in March when we took our kids to ski the first time. It started out really rough, but by the end of the first day, they had both had a lesson and got pretty comfortable. By the end of day two, they were both loving it. We are all looking forward to skiing again!  In the summer, we returned to Michigan for a short long weekend (3 days) and enjoyed a lovely weekend at Houghton Lake with my friend from college. We always enjoy lots of fellowship, some boating and fishing, great meals, and time just to relax while watching the water. A bonus this year is that her parents were there too and I got to catch up with my "Michigan parents" and they got to meet my kids for the first time. It was really nice. Then in November, I had a long weekend in Baltimore with Beth, my friend and former neighbor - we enjoyed a great weekend of chatting, watching TV, exploring the area, and stitching! 

On the Girl Scout side, I wrapped up my year as Service Unit Manager for our area and started to get more involved with our Council. I am working with a staff member and committee there to build an alum network, something I have a lot of energy for. We are looking forward to a kick-off event soon and I am hoping to connect with more adults who have the shared Girl Scout experience. With my troop, I turned over the reigns to the girls to plan and run our meetings, which has been a good learning experience for them, and has resulted in a lot more engagement from them. They are earning the badges they want to earn and doing the activities they want to do and I am loving guiding them and watching them learn how to lead (this is really what Girl Scouts is all about!).  I was thrilled to take them to Savannah, GA in October so we could explore the home of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts. I hadn't been there and it was a really, really fun trip! 

Now on to the crafting, the reason most of you are here! I had a great year in my quilting, cross-stitch, and crochet adventures. Let's start with a review of my goals for the year: 
1) Reduce UFOs by continuing in monthly UFO challenges. Get to 12 or less by year end. I did pretty well here - of the 12 UFOs on my list, I worked on 6 of them, and finished 4 completely, including two of my oldest projects (the Carol Doak BOM and the Calla Lily from my first machine quilting class). I got really close to hitting my goal of 12 or less as I finished the year with 13 (maybe really 14 or 15, because I think there may be a few hiding that have never made the list!). 
2) Participate in the rainbow scrap challenge to use up some scraps in 2018. What a fun challenge! Thanks to Kate for showing your monthly photos and inspiring me to join. I don't think I actually reduced the scrap piles at all, but I had a great time making my monthly blocks and look forward to getting them into a finished quilt in '19. 
3) Do more quilting and crochet:
- At least 15 minutes of quilting at least 3 days/week Well, here's one I didn't do so well on. I usually had two weeks per month where I quilted/sewed at least 3 days. I continue to go in fits and spurts, but they seemed not to be as spread out this year than they were last year. I am glad I had the challenge to encourage me to make my quilting time a little more routine. 
- Finish 3 or more crochet projects - Nope - didn't even get close to this one. I finished one crochet project in 2018, a hat for my cousin's daughter. It was one of her Christmas gifts and I think she looks pretty adorable in it! 
Little girl with her Aunt and her new hat (and my mom smiling at her in the background). 

- Quilt 12 projects on my HQ Avante - I did great on this one - I quilted 15 quilts this year! Several for others, some small and some larger, some for me and some for gifts. 
4) Lose and keep off at least 5 pounds. Just like the crochet, I didn't do too well on this one. I lost a solid 2 pounds and would say that I've mostly kept it off, but still have work to do. I am glad for the new YMCA near us that will hopefully keep me motivated to move! 

On the cross-stitch front, I jumped in with both feet to participate in Stitch Maynia, where I started a new project each day for 15 days. I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would and found that I do like to have a few projects going so that I can pick and choose what I want to work on based on my mood/energy level/etc. I did great in finishing them too, with 14 of the 15 starts completed by year-end. Overall, I finished 22 stitching projects!! Lots of small ones in that number, and only 1 of them fully finished by year end (whoops). Here's the collage of all my 2018 stitching - do you have a favorite?

On the quilting front, even though I didn't get in as many sewing days as I'd have liked, I had three retreats where I had dedicated sewing time, which helped me finish up 19 projects, including 11 finished quilts, and one wool embroidery. I am only carrying one quilt top that was finished in 2018 into 2019 unfinished. 
In my quilt stash, I ended the year ahead, but by the smallest margin since I started tracking! 
Fabric added this year: 35 1/4 yards (the most since 2014 and I blame three quilt shops that closed and had good sales!)
Fabric used this year: 39 3/8 yards (the lowest in the 9 years I have been tracking, I think due largely to working on UFOs where I had already counted the fabric). 
Net fabric used in 2018: 4 1/8 yards (not much, but moving in the right direction!)

If you're still reading, I want to thank you - and especially to those who have left me comments through the year (special gold stars to Carol and Kate who comment on almost every blog post!). I have a couple of those wallets in the bottom right of my quilting collage and I would like to have a giveaway to share them with a few readers. If you'd like a handy wallet that will also hold your cell phone, leave me a comment and I will select two to receive the remaining wallets (note that I must have your email address to contact you, so if you don't have it in your profile, please leave it in your comment!).  Thanks again for reading, and hope your 2018 was a good one too! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

December 2018 Recap

And just like that, another year in the memory books! December was a great month for me - my last day of work was the 14th, and I've had lots of time to stitch, read, quilt, shop, and hang out with family. My company has use it or lose it vacation and I usually find that I have a few days left at the end of the year - this year, it was much needed time off to recharge for what I am confident will be a busy year in 2019. 

Let's start with the stitching projects this month - I continued to work on the projects started during Stitch Maynia in May. I finished two of them and only have one left that I started during Maynia! (I still have two others in progress, but they were both started before Maynia). 

First is Happy Halloween by Silver Creek Samplers - I love this one and will be looking for a nice black frame for it - I am thinking it might fit in a Mill Hill frame...will have to check that out! 

Second is the Penguin from a Janlynn kit called Holiday Wishes - it has four characters all together and this is my second - I finished the reindeer in 2016. I wasn't a big fan of stitching on the plastic canvas (in 2016 or now!), so it will probably be a while before I start on the snowman or Santa for this one. That's okay, I think this penguin is pretty cute all by himself. 

On the quilting front, I got to work finishing up the last set of three scrap blocks from the Rainbow Scrap Challenge - dark green. I laid them out with all the others and have decided that I probably need to make one more row, so I will work on them over the next few weeks - one of my goals for the year is to get these into a finished quilt in 2019. 

I did some quilting for my mom (forgot to get a picture - it was a Christmas present!), and also did some quilting for me - had to get one more project done before the end of the year. I've had this table runner on my wall since I finished in in May. It was a quick and easy one to quilt, as I did some diagonal straight lines in the white and stars in the middle of each starburst. I like how this one turned out and look forward to using it in the spring! 
Double Wide Dresden Table Runner
The other quilt I finished this month is the Sun & Planets for my astronomer husband. I had to be stealthy working on this since we share the basement, but he had no idea when he opened it on Christmas morning. I backed it with Minkee and used glow in the dark thread in the top for a little fun.  
The last thing I got done is my square dance blocks - I started these at my May retreat, didn't work on them again until September, and in the last couple weeks figured out that I made the sashing for 1/2 of them wrong, ripped them out, sewed them the right way, and then got all the blocks sewn together. I just need to add a border for this top to be done. 
So, the stash report was okay, no additions and a little fabric used for the table runner: 
Fabric added this month: 0 yards
Fabric used this month: 5/8 yard
Net used in December: 5/8 yard (I will save the year-to-date for my 2018 recap post)

I had 11 1/2 hours of quilting over 12 days, and 2/4 weeks where I sewed at least 3 days. All in all a good month!