Getting Stuff Done!

My guild has officially started the UFO challenge.  We had to turn in a list of UFOs that will count toward the challenge.  I listed 21 tops to be quilted/bound, nine of my in-progress projects, four cross stitch projects, and eight shirts to make.

I'm starting off okay--I got the Kaffe quilt quilted (that sounds funny) this week and binding attached to the front.  Now I just have to sew it down.  And then I will have my first finish of the year and my first entry for the guild prize.
I also have almost one top of my two Bubblegum Kisses minis done.  It just needs borders attached. And it's not so mini either.  Hmm.
We had a guild Sewcial Saturday and I worked on my Aviatrix blocks.  These five need to be taken apart and redone (again) because they don't quite line up.  The sad thing is that I already redid them at least once.  But I know it will drive me crazy if I don't fix them.
The other thing we worked on at Sewcial was some quilt kits for kids whose parents are deploying. One of our members knows someone at Fort Bragg and got the kits for us.  They come with everything that's needed to make it, including batting.  Just don't mess up because there's not any spare.  You cut, sew, quilt, and wrap over the back for binding, put it back in the labeled bag and send it on back.  I'm not sure how one goes about requesting kits, but you can check it out here if you're interested.

I got my Kimberly Einmo class quilt blocks rearranged.  Sorry for the lack of quality on this picture. I took it in the dark because my laundry room light makes everything look so horribly yellow. Since it was completely dark in there, the camera (or me) didn't quite focus.

And because I have craft ADD I am also planning to make this cute mini.  It's one of this past year's row-by-row quilt kits.  I saw an image of it on social media and just HAD to have it.  I ordered it from Modern Domestic in June and waited until the fall mailing date to get it.  Totally worth the wait!  It's so cute!
We finished our puzzle last week!  It took us almost a month.  Definitely got our money's worth. My son wants to get the completely blank, round puzzle that Ravensburger sells.
I haven't mentioned a whole lot about the basement project lately.  We have all the drywall primed.  Most of the drywall issues have been repaired, part by the actual people we paid and the rest they didn't/wouldn't fix was done by my husband.  The ceilings have all been painted.  Some of the doors are installed since my father in law needs the actual measurements to finish making the trim.  All the can lights have their LED fixtures installed, but only the living room area has been wired to have working lights right now.  The rest of the light fixtures have been purchased but not yet installed since I don't want them to get broken.  

We also had an experience with using floor leveler.  It needed to be done and it was messy and parts of the process were smelly too.  The bathroom is now level (I think).  If it is, then my husband will start working on tiling the floor in there. We will still have to level at least part of the sewing room as well.  At the moment we are considering using luxury vinyl plank that has some padding on the back for that room.  The living room and guest room will eventually be carpeted.

My big project for the basement this week is that I need to decide on the layout for the cabinets so that my father in law can get started on those.  I had a plan before, but it's been so long that we can't remember what we meant by parts of the drawing.  I'm freaked out because what if it's all done and then it doesn't function well?  It's a big, permanent decision.   Wish me luck!  And offer suggestions if you have something you love or hate about your sewing room.


My guild is starting a UFO challenge this week.  You get an entry for each UFO you finish from now until June.  I made my list of what I'd like to finish (mostly get all the tops quilted--there are currently 21) and decided to start with my Kimberly Einmo class blocks.  I laid them out on the design wall and we made several changes.  I thought we'd settled on one we thought looked good. I took a photo of it this morning and it doesn't look that great in the photo.  :(

So I went looking back through my old photos and found the original layout I was going to do.  I think I prefer this one and will use it.  My tasks today are dishes, laundry, Mom's taxi service, and rearrange the blocks to look like this.  If you want to see my original posts on this quilt and class, just type "Kimberly Einmo" into the search bar and the posts should pop up.
While looking for the original photos, I found the quilt show photos from that year (2015).  I thought I'd share the cow quilts that were on display in 2015 at the IHQS show.  The tags aren't very legible and I'm sorry for that.  I love the themed challenge quilt exhibits each year.  They are so full of creativity!

I hope you enjoyed the quilt show photos!

I've also finished piecing the second set of Bubblegum Kisses blocks.  Finishing both of these mini quilts is also on my UFO challenge list.  I have 21 quilt tops to be quilted, eight in progress quilts that I'm serious about finishing, four cross stitch projects, and fabric to make eight shirts on my challenge list.  I'm not feeling overly optimistic about my chances of finishing these things.  I have the hardest time figuring out how to quilt the quilts.  Plus the basement, where the longarm resides, is such a construction zone I'm having a hard time actually finding time and lighting enough to get anything quilted.
We're almost done with our London puzzle.  One more evening will probably finish it off.
Here are a few recipes we made recently that are really good.  First, these blueberry and banana muffins were excellent.  I used two full bananas.  Next, these brownies are really good and pretty light too.  I used one cup of sugar and sprinkled a few mini chocolate chips over the top.  Finally, these homemade french fries are tasty too.  One thing to note--the recipe says one serving.  We felt that eight servings was a realistic and very generous serving size (200 cal per serving).  I froze and reheated 1/2 the recipe (425 for 25 min).  The reheated ones were okay, but not nearly as good as fresh.  I think I'll make half the recipe next time.

Finally, thanks to reader Pam who contacted me last week.  I love to hear from readers!

Too Much Snow, Too Much Cold

We ended up with a five day break due to bad weather.  First freezing rain, then lots of snow.  And it's bitterly cold outside.  I don't get anything done when everyone is home.  Somehow I managed to get everything off my to-do list done last week; probably because I got most of it done prior to Friday. This week is not looking good.

Here's what I've accomplished in the creativity department.

I finished one mini quilt's worth of blocks for Bubblegum Kisses.
I am working on the second group of blocks.
I needed some more design boards.  These are made using Lori Holt's instructions.  I used all batting scraps.  I bought some inexpensive fabric for the bindings.  I measured, sewed, cut....and still ended up about three inches too short.  😞  I really don't know how this could happen.  The other crazy thing about these is the amount of hot glue I went through.  My last stick is in the glue gun and I'm not convinced it's even enough to tack down the binding on the last board.  I used more than 10 sticks on these eight boards.  That's more than a stick a board.  CRAZY!
I'm making a small amount of progress on the cross stitch.
We made a decent amount of progress on the puzzle this week.
Have a happy, productive week.

A Clean Start to the New Year

My kids are back to school, my husband has been back at work for a week, and I am starting to get more things accomplished.  

My big project right now is deep cleaning the house.  I was really embarrassed when I saw how dirty my windows were last week, and looking around, everything needed help.  We are basically done with the drywall sanding now, so I feel like I can give everything a super-good, thorough cleaning and it won't immediately be covered in drywall dust (even though the registers downstairs are blocked off and the stairwell is taped off with plastic sheeting as well).  

As a side note, the drywaller rep came back last week to patch the mess they made and asked me to walk around the basement with him because he couldn't see why so many things were marked and that he couldn't see anything wrong with any of it.  He had the nerve to tell me that visible seam ridges at the joints are just how drywall is.  By visible seam ridge I mean a protruding line about 1/8" tall and 1/8" wide sticking out of the tape at the joint. Anyway, he had to call his boss (father), get more materials, and get a helper, but most of the things were fixed.  I truly don't feel we got our money's worth on this job based on how much labor we also put into it.  :(

Anyway, back to the cleaning. So I am doing one room per day and really cleaning every nook and cranny.  It's not fun, but it sure looks wonderful when I am finished.  And one room per day feels manageable and still leaves time for other, more fun things.  

In sewing news, I finished piecing the Pixie Noel blocks I was working on for the last month or so.  That leaves five more blocks to piece, then top and border assembly.  I find this one a bit tedious, so I had to move on to a new project in between blocks.

I started working on the Bubblegum Kisses Lori Holt mini that I'd been saving.  I didn't like how the original pattern wasted a lot of background fabric and also had cut off points when assembling the blocks.  So I attempted to use math to figure out how to cut squares into triangles that would solve both issues.  The first attempt was too small--I'll blame my husband since he was the one who told me what size.  You can see that block below. I got the correct size, 3.25",  worked out.  This leaves a little bit of trimming to square up the block afterward and also makes the block a bit larger than the pattern called for.  But it avoids the cut off points, which would have driven me crazy.
I had seen a post on Instagram of someone's finished product, along with a table runner, mini mini, and a rope bowl too that they had made from the original kit.  Cutting carefully, you can make double the amount of blocks plus have some scraps to make a basic mini mini.  Using my background fabric carefully and purchasing an additional 1/2 yard means I have plenty to make two minis from the original pattern.  I used a different binding fabric and then just purchased another fabric for the second binding along with some backing fabrics.  I am waiting on my extra background, binding, and backing fabrics to arrive before I completely finish.  I made it a week into the new year before purchasing fabric!  Ha ha.  But it's to finish a work in progress, so it's all good.

I finished most of this cross stitch.  I still have to attach all the beads, but can't remember how to do it.  This one will be turned into an ornament.  It was supposed to be done for Christmas, but now I'm just ahead for this year's gifts!
Since I haven't gotten anything quilted and have nothing to bind due to drywall and paint, I started another cross stitch for my evening project.  Any guesses as to what it is? 
I gave three quilts as gifts for Christmas.  I think my sister-in-law was most appreciative.  She sent me this photo of the quilt on their guest bed.  It made me feel good.  I was also surprised it fit on a bed since I thought of it as a throw quilt.
My guild is starting a WIP/UFO challenge this week.  It runs until June.  I would love to finish up many of my WIPs.  Reality, probably won't, but at least it's sort of a goal/competition to maybe motivate me.

Oh, and we made a small amount of progress on the puzzle.  :)
Finally, I found a good recipe for healthier mashed potatoes.  I used three of the large, bulk produce baking potatoes for this.  They turned out really well.

Random School Break Stuff

I hope your new year is off to a great start.  Are you making any resolutions for the year?  Or perhaps selecting a word of the year?  I don't select a word of the year or make resolutions per se, but I usually set some goals for myself.  I usually don't end up accomplishing said goals, which makes me feel bad, even when I accomplish other things I didn't plan for.  So this year I am just going to go with the flow.

I rarely accomplish much during school breaks, especially when my husband takes leave at the same time.  We did get the new drywall in the basement primed.  Then we went back and spot-lighted it to mark all the bad spots.  Depressing.  I tried to tell the drywall guy that it was really horrible and he refused to fix it before a layer of paint was on.  Well, now it's even worse because we had a bunch of seams pop up and a bunch of nail pops too.  This on top of the horrible waves and dents they left everywhere.  So now we can't progress until they come back and fix everything.  (Hopefully they actually return--and soon.  😔)

It's been super cold for a good week now--too cold to spend any time outside.  Some of my windows are iced up.  Then it gets a little warmer or the sun shines on it and the ice melts and floods out the trim. Closely inspecting the windows to make sure I've cleaned up all the water tells me that I really need to spend time doing detail cleaning on them.  No pictures of this because I am too embarrassed.

Santa brought the kids several 1000 piece puzzles.  I think we selected the very hardest one to start.  Manufactured by Ravensburger, it is a panoramic picture of London at night. It is about three feet wide!
This sewing project has been spread out on my cutting table for the better part of a week with nothing happening.
I spent some of my Christmas money on some longarm rulers from The Quilted Pineapple.  They arrived yesterday.  Now I just need a better ruler table for the Juki and some time to play with them.  I also need to finish peeling the paper off of them!

Finally, new year, new planner.  This year I (with a lot of help from my husband) made my own pages.  He set up Excel files for each month.  I decided I wanted a week on one page layout this year and made my own simple ones using a table in Word.  Today I need to cut and punch them to go into my Arc half-size.
I am in love with the new space sets from American Girl!  I will definitely have to add some to my collection.

I will leave you with a recipe recommendation this week.  Last night I made this potato soup and it was soooooo good!  And pretty low-calorie for a cream-type soup.