February Monthly Report

Friday, March 5, 2021

It's time for the February monthly report. See past reports here.

February was really tough. Saying goodbye to George was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. He had been slowing down over the last year or so, but things went downhill pretty fast. Right before Christmas we shifted our focus to palliative care, and just tried to enjoy the time we had left together. I couldn't bring myself to say it at the time, but that's why I disappeared for a while. We had the help and support of Laps of Love, who helped us navigate the process. He passed here at home, in my arms. It was devastating, but the most peaceful thing we could do for him. Thank you for all the love you've shown us, it means a lot. I wanted to share this artwork that my friend Melissa Averinos did of him. What an angel.

I didn't do a whole lot of anything in February, but I did force myself to do some crafting. The main thing I worked on this month was a few weaving projects. I don't know why, but weaving has really hit the spot during this time. I think because it is so repetitive and mindless for me. I started and finished a long scarf with a skein of sock yarn and some lace-weight yarn. I also started a worsted weight scarf too, which I am still working on. I weave on a 10" Cricket Loom by Schacht.

Towards the end of the month I set myself a goal of getting two quilts in the mail for quilting by the end of February. I had the tops done but needed to make backings for both. It may not sound like much, but it was kind of daunting. I spent most of my time the last few months taking care of George, so it felt like a lot. I'm glad I pushed through and did it though. I know it will feel good when I can get those finished, hopefully it will help propel me forward.

My only sewing finishes this month was another set of scrunchies. I love the ones I made over the summer but I'm always misplacing them. Figured a few more were in order. Plus it was my scrap project for the month, so win-win. I used this tutorial from Made Everyday.

To keep myself accountable for my stash goals, I track my yardage for fabric and yarn each month. Read more about how I track here. Here is how I did in February:

February Fabric
Used up: .25 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: -.25 yards
Year to date: -7.875 yards

February Yarn
Used up: 642 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: -642 yards
Year to date: -1035 yards

No fabric purchases this month, so despite my very small amount of fabric I used up, I'm still in the negative. Will this be the first year I never have a positive "year to date"? We'll see! The scarf I finished used a good amount of yarn, so my yarn yardages are already off to a great start this year.

I did a lot of baking in February, including a coconut cake for Michael's birthday. It was the same basic cake I made for his half birthday this Summer, but this time I frosted it with cool whip and we liked it much better. The buttercream I made for it last time was too sweet and too rich. The cake recipe is from Smitten Kitchen Every Day*.

*Note: Any links marked with an asterisk in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something, I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

I also made everything bagels. Our favorite bagel shop in Madison, Bagels Forever, had a variety called "New Everything" that had all the everything bits on the inside of the bagel instead of the outside. They were Michael's favorite, so I've been wanting to try recreating them. My first go turned out pretty good! I use this basic bagel recipe from King Arthur Baking, and I used about 43 grams of everything bagel seasoning from Trader Joes in the dough. I topped them with sesame seeds because I find they bake more evenly with the seeds on vs. nothing on the outside. Plus, we love sesame seeds.

It was a snowy month. Hurry up Spring!

Sweet George Bunny

Thursday, February 4, 2021

I’m deeply saddened to share that we said goodbye to our dear George bunny this morning. He was the light of our house, and a huge part of our family. We’re completely heartbroken, and also grateful he isn’t in pain anymore after struggling the last few months. We’ll love him forever, our sweet boo boo. Thanks for loving him along with us over the years.

January Monthly Report

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Happy February! It's time for the January monthly report. See past reports here.

My sewing this month wasn't anything super exciting, but I did finish some projects that I know will get a lot of use. First up I made more placemats. As I mentioned last month, we've been eating dinner at our dining room table most days since the pandemic started. I have a great stash of vintage tablecloths, but only had one style of placemats. Over the last two months I've made a few sets of placemats from my stash of home dec fabrics. It feels good to use up these types of fabrics, and I'll get to enjoy them on our table instead of tucked away in the fabric cabinet. They're super simple, just two pieces of fabric right sides together and sew around the sides. Turn, press and topstitch. They get the job done, and have been a great stash buster. I cut my rectangles 15"x17" and used 1/2" seam allowances for 14"x16" finished placemats.

My other big project this month was sewing up a set of four new pillowcases. I cut and washed the fabrics for these sometime in 2019 (I think, could have been 2018.). I've pulled them out and ironed them a few times and then put them away without cutting them. Finally in January I cut the pieces and stitched them up. I used some of my voile prints from Geometric Bliss, so they're super soft and silky feeling. I'm glad to have these to add into our rotation of cases. I use the burrito method for making mine, outlined here. Using the serger when doing the French seams really speeds these up.

I made a new cover for one of our long heating pads. This one is a little older and it runs pretty hot, so it needed a more substantial cover. I used some fat quarters of Nani Iro brushed cotton (flannel). I added a layer of fusible fleece to give it some extra padding. I'm happy to report it's back in use already and much improved by the new cover. It closes with a single snap.

My last sewing finish for the month was a pincushion from my scraps. I just barely squeezed this project in before the month ended, so I kept it simple. I decided to use all Minny Muu scraps, which are perfect for small projects since the scale of the prints is so tiny. I followed my own Scrappy Nine-Patch Pincushion Tutorial to make it. I did a pretty dense crosshatch quilting on the top, I like the resulting texture.

To keep myself accountable for my stash goals, I track my yardage for fabric and yarn each month. Read more about how I track here. Here is how I did in January:

January Fabric
Used up: 7.625 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: -7.625 yards
Year to date: -7.625 yards

January Yarn
Used up: 393 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: -393 yards
Year to date: -393 yards

I feel good about my stash results for this month. I wasn't tempted to buy any fabric or yarn, and I finished a decent amount! I'll take it.

I knit more this month than I did in the entirety of 2020! Michael has been working hard on writing and submitting a grant, so I've been spending time keeping him company while he works on the computer. It was the perfect excuse to get back into the swing of knitting. I knit two hats, plus a cowl. You can see the details for all three on my Ravelry page. I'm loving the small projects, and the finishes are keeping me motivated to continue on. Hoping it sticks, I haven't knit regularly in quite a while and it is relaxing. Hats are definitely my favorite!

My baking adventure in January was making chocolate chip bagels! When we lived in Madison, I loved the chocolate chip bagels from Bagels Forever. Getting one toasted with butter was one of my favorite treats after running errands. I've been pining for one ever since we moved away, so I finally took the plunge and tried making them. I was afraid the chocolate would disturb the rise, but it didn't at all. If anything, the dough rose more! I used my go-to bagel recipe (Water Bagels by King Arthur Baking) and I added mini chocolate chips to the dough during the knead. They turned out awesome! Next time I plan to add the chips directly to the flour.

Sleepy George Bunny.

Have a Great Month!

2021 Crafty Goals

Sunday, January 31, 2021

I'm back to share my 2021 Crafty Goals. I'm not making nearly as many this year, in order to focus my efforts. As I mentioned in my 2020 Yearly Review, I wanted my goals for this year to be less project specific and more broad. I followed that with one exception. I really want to finally sew a jacket! I bought the Kelly Anorak Pattern (by Closet Core Patterns), fabric and hardware in 2016 and I've put it on my goals list pretty much every year since then. I feel like I really need to either make it this year or let the pattern and hardware go. One or the other!

The overall mindset for approaching my creative endeavors this year is to listen to my gut and make what feels best. Sometimes I let my goals keep me from working on what I really want to. Sometimes that's good, but I think with everything else going on in the world right now, I need my crafty time to be really satisfying and not stressful. That probably means more quick, one or two afternoon type projects. A little more instant gratification to keep myself motivated to tackle the next project.

I've decided not to make any general crafting goals this year. There are things I want to craft, but I want that to be totally free from restrictions, deadlines or objectives. My crafting will simply be opportunities for play.

Sewing & Quilting Goals:
- Use up more yardage than I bring in. I'll track my yardage each month to help me stay on target.
- Complete one long-term quilt project (kaleidoscope, double wedding ring, HST book quilt tops, etc.).
- Sew four new-to-me patterns, ideally one per quarter.
- Complete one small scrap project per month.
- Finally sew the Kelly Anorak Jacket (ideally in time for Fall).
- Practice techniques that are unfamiliar or new to me.

Knitting Goals:
- Use up more yardage than I bring in. I'll track my yardage each month to help me stay on target.
- Knit a matching hat and mitten set.
- Start a new weaving project.
- Finish or frog one long term knitting project (Briochealicious, Daybreak, Sundial, or Hitchhiker shawls or machine knit socks).