Saturday, January 14, 2017

Cooking and Meal Delivery

One of the things that has been in the back of my mind for a month or so has been getting my dinners and lunches under control and being smarter about taking lunches and just having healthier options. Being single, I feel like it is hard for me to cook for myself and have a good variety of things to eat. Plus, I have never been very adventurous and have been making and eating the same food. Meal after meal. It gets old!

At Christmas, one of my aunts was talking about how she and my uncle signed up for Home Chef, a meal service, and have been using it since October. She pulled out her binder with all of the recipes that they have gotten and I looked through it and almost everything looked good and like things that I know I would eat or at least be willing to try.

So she sent me the link and I signed up! I got my first kit January 4.

And I COOKED! I actually COOKED real food. Good food! In my house. By myself!

(I'm a little proud of myself, can you tell?)

Ricotta and Mozzarella Tart with Arugula salad - I added craisins and left off the sauteed onions. This was the third meal I had made and, well, I was just a little sick of onions. Also, the grape tomatoes are blistered in the recipe, but I just cut them in half.

Pork Mostarda (a sweet mustard sauce, for those not in the know. I wasn't before I picked the recipe) with roasted sweet potato and Brussel sprouts. And news flash - I can eat Brussel sprouts!

And a Steak and Blue Cheese Salad - with homemade croutons and toasted walnuts and caramelized onions on the steak. I left off the blue cheese and added craisins to the salad. I also learned the caramelized onions are not horrible. SHOCKER!! But I don't care for raw or under cooked onions.

I had never made a steak before and that meal was fantastic! And I love pork chops, but I haven't done those at home. Ever.

And they are meals for 2 so I am taking care of some lunches with this, as well. Win-win!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

First Sew Day of 2017

Saturday, I went to my quilting frenemy Barb's house to sew. We haven't sewn together in so long, which is the norm with us. But when we get together, it is for enormous blocks of time and late into the night!

I worked on 3 Snuggies that should've been finished and sent out to have been received by Christmas, but I had so many quilts to quilt that it just didn't happen.

After I got those done and had dinner with Barb's family, I cut out 4 table runners. These also should've been done for Christmas presents. Well, 2 should've been done, but 2 I didn't have the fabric for until the Thursday after Christmas.

And Sunday, I worked on cross stitch and hand stitched the binding down on a customer quilt. One more to bind and they can be shipped back!

LIFO!! Get them done and get them out! Maybe that will be my mantra this year!

Now, I have to get things packed up and shipped out. Baby steps...

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2017 - New Year and Goals

Happy New Year!

My parents were here for the week between Christmas and New Year's Day and I saw them everyday and then jumped into my busy week of month end at the office last week so I haven't had much of a chance to post anything.

I've been thinking about my goals and trying to remember what I used to do on the blog and thinking about whether having goals really helped me to finish anything and/or complete the goals. So I looked back at the prior January posts to see...

In 2014, I tried to participate in a no buy challenge. I don't remember how well that turned out. In 2013, I had a Word of the Year. Do. I remember thinking of that word throughout the year as a kick in the pants to get off my bum so it must have worked to an extent.

I mentioned that I was going to concentrate on LIFO while I get back my quilting mojo. Last in, first out will be a great way for me to work on things I bring into the studio before I have to put them away or find a place for them. There are several kits that I have acquired this year and I've never gotten around to putting them into any bins.

I pretty sure that I will work on a number challenge for my finished tops - All People Quilt is hosting one this year and it sounds like a good idea for the tops that have been marinating in my closet for a long while. I just need to assign the quilts that I have to numbers.

And for my quilting.... last year I quilted over 60 customer quilts. And this is not counting any of the ones that I did for myself or for gifts. In 2015, I only quilted 31 customer quilts. I need to get my info together for my taxes and figure out what improvements I can make this year for the business. Last year, I started keeping better track of batting so I'm hoping that prepping for taxes will be a lot easier this month.

I want to continue working on my cross stitch and I'll be posting pictures of the big project that I am working on. And any smaller ones that I manage to start or hopefully finish!

And for a goal non quilt related... I need to start preparing better meals and taking my lunch to work. I have already started getting a meal delivery service. I hope it works out for me and I will post about it soon.

And with that, Dear Readers, I ask you.... Do you have any goals for the year?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Merry Christmas and looking towards the New Year

Well, it looks like I could really be back for good! This feels lovely!

I hope you all (however many are still out there - lol) had a wonderful Christmas! My parents are in town and I've been trying to get work done in the office and spend time with them. Next week is a month end week and I have to do a fair amount of prep work so that the week will go smoothly.

Also, starting next week is a 91 Day Decluttering Challenge on this blog. I found Mary Organizes last year about this time and after reading through her blog a little and reading about the challenge, I signed up. Boy, did I need the challenge!

I moved into my condo in 2002 and there hasn't been a lot moved out over the years, for the most part. In 2011, I moved my bedroom to the smaller bedroom and set up the quilting studio in the larger master bedroom. There was a fair amount of rearranging and organizing, but that was still a few years ago. I figured that I needed something to get the ball rolling for me.

The 91 Day Decluttering Challenge is set up in such a way that you do a little bit each day focusing on one room or section of the house at a time. Last year, I started with the laundry room and got everything organized and felt so much better about the space that it propelled me into the next week and it was a domino effect.

The only problem I had was that I got stalled in my kitchen. And work got in the way at the beginning of each month, as it still does. I spent 3 weeks in the kitchen and had around 9 boxes of items to get out of the house. I found Pampered Chef bakeware that I didn't know I had! That to me was the biggest clue that I was heading in the right direction.

BUT!! Once I was done with the kitchen, it was so easy to move onto other areas of the house a little bit at a time. And I found it easier to keep the decluttered areas clean. Hooray!!

I didn't get the entire house decluttered in the 91 days. Heck, I still have areas to declutter now. But what I did get done was a huge boost! And throughout the year, when I had a few minutes, I worked on a bathroom closet or the bedroom closet or the vanity or a cabinet in the basement. I still need to work on the basement where decorations are and where the home improvement items are. And the quilting studio. I think I have been putting this one off because of the lack of Quilting Mojo. But now that I am feeling the urge to sew and piece, I am also feeling the urge to finish things up and declutter!

All of that to say that if you are so inclined, this is a great program that you can join to get the motivation or the direction to work on your own space! What are you waiting for? :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Time for a Comeback

The past year has been a very tough year for me and I have spent the last few weeks reflecting on it and the hopes I have for the new year that is just over a week away.

I lost my quilting mojo and I am not even sure that I can pinpoint when it left me. Some time in 2015, I think. Maybe earlier than that since most of my last blog posts were related to quilting for others.

One thing that I have been considering is a way to get back to quilting and working on my own projects. And I am ready! As soon as I catch up with the customer quilting I have...

Another thing that I have contemplated is the blogging. The blog used to be such a huge part of my life with documenting projects and progress and events and with corresponding with readers and fellow bloggers. But once I lost my quilting mojo, I figured the blog would be very boring with repeated "I didn't get anything done... again!" posts. I also need to find a good way of saving my pictures to the blog without them being in The Cloud*. 

One way that I am going to work on my quilting mojo is classes! Last weekend, I signed up for a Block of the Month at my local quilt shop using Deb Tucker Ruler/Tools and it starts in January. There will be companion quilt classes and I have signed up for the January class, as well. I am very excited to go through my fabrics and find ones to use for the BOM and to start picking for the January class as well. I haven't taken a class from a shop in years, but after meeting the teacher and seeing the first block, I can't wait to get started!

I already have plans for working on some UFOs and new projects (Christmas presents and yes, I am late! ugh!). I plan on getting everything in order in my sewing studio over the next week and making up some lists. Something concrete that I can reference while I work through everything.

And as usual, these mutts are just laying around and soaking up the sun while I do all the heavy lifting!

*Because I don't want all of my files saved to a web-o-sphere or whatever it is and I don't want to start paying a monthly fee to store my pics and then have the fee increased exponentially. I am coming to the conclusion that this will happen regardless, but I am still holding out hope that an easy and free way of sharing pics will happen.