Blue Apron

If you follow me on Instagram (@llatham0306 – I actually update Instagram on a regular basis. You can blame it for the demise of this blog.), you may have seen me posting delicious pictures of food. Which I made! After Christmas, Andrew and I decided to try Blue Apron. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about our experience and I recently wrote a President’s Letter in our building newsletter about it. Without further ado…

The most frequently asked question I remember my mom asking my dad, sister, and I was, “What do you want for supper?” If we did not respond or responded indifferently, we always received a big sigh. I did not understand the burden we put on my mom until I had to start planning meals with another person. My mom was also responsible for grocery shopping; a dread which I also did not comprehend until adulthood, especially living downtown and feeling like we should trek either North or South each week to a grocery chain even though we had a perfectly great one, albeit a bit more expensive, a block away. Unlike my family, who could not just order takeout or go to a restaurant due to living in a town the size of a few KC street blocks, we started taking advantage of the awesome restaurant choices around us. After a while, though, we were in the same rut and the question changed to, “Where do you want to go eat?” Downtown living, we found, does not entirely solve the dinner problem.

If you walk out of our building on a Saturday morning, you would notice the Blue Apron boxes that are piled on top of the security desk. One of those is for us and as cliché as it might sound, it has totally changed our lives. We both enjoy to cook and it is an activity that we enjoy doing together, but had stopped entirely because of the hassle of prepping to do the actual cooking. Removing the two things we hate about preparing to cook, planning a menu and shopping for that menu, is exactly what services like Blue Apron do.

So far, we have been very satisfied with Blue Apron (they are not paying me to say this), but I have heard great things about similar meal kit services including Hello Fresh, Plated, and Home Chef. There have also been specialty services pop up for specific types of cooking such as Peach Dish for a Southern flavor, The Organic Dish, Purple Carrot for vegans, and Green Blender for superfood smoothies.

Every Saturday, we get fresh, quality, farm-sourced, proportioned ingredients in entirely recyclable packaging for three balanced and unique meals for just under $60. We have had over 75 meals and some of our absolute favorites have been Chicken & Garlic Chive Meatballs with Quick Apple & Brussels Sprout Kimchi; Apple & Blue Cheese Panzanella Salad with Smashed Purple Potatoes’; Cod & Potato Brandade with Watermelon Radish Salad & Garlic Toasts (picture below); Sweet Potato & Collard Green Hash with Sunny Side-Up Eggs, Molasses Butter & Biscuits; Acorn Squash, Brussel Sprouts & Farro Salad with Crispy Pepitas & Cranberry Agrodolce (picture below); Kimchi & Barley Miso Ramen with Soft-Boiled Eggs & Asian Pear (pictures below); and Hoisin & Shiitake Burgers with Miso Mayonnaise & Roasted Sweet potato Wedges (picture below). In all, there have only been a few meals where I would probably pass if I had the option to make it again, but there has not been a single meal that I did not eat.

Not only have we enjoyed cooking together again and eating the delicious meals, but we are cooking with ingredients we probably would have never used, some which we have never heard of before. Farro, for example, has been a key ingredient in a few of the meals. It is extremely easy to prepare and is a great alternative to rice. Also, I discovered that I do not like the taste of kale or Swiss chard, but collard greens are fine. Andrew and I made an effort to try the vegetarian option to see if that lifestyle could work for us and we have loved discovering the different ingredients that can be used in vegetarian meals. We were not picky eaters before, but our experiences have definitely been expanded over the last few months.

If you struggle with the same thing my mom and Andrew and I have, then I would recommend giving one of these meal kit services a try. There are usually options for delivery days and number of servings per meal, multiple meals to choose from weekly, and vegetarian options. You can usually skip a week if needed, too. Many offer a discounted or free trial; I have freebies to give away and would be happy to share.

 

Cod & Potato Brandade

Cod & Potato Brandade

 

Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash, Brussel Sprouts & Farro Salad

 

Miso Ramen

Kimchi & Barley Miso Ramen

 

Burgers

Hoisin & Shiitake Burgers

I’ve participated in Me Made May for a few years now and I’m pretty happy with how it’s been going. I finally packed away a bunch of handmade clothing that I never wear. I hope to get them out again someday and re-purpose some of the fabric. Until then, I’m pretty pleased with my current handmade wardrobe. I wanted to challenge myself to not repeat something during May and I got close, but not quite. I could have done it, but there are things that I just love wearing that I wanted to wear again. I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all!

Here is my breakdown:

May 1st

May 1st – Crafty Weekender Screen Printed Target V-Neck Tee and Crocheted Slouchy Beanie

 

Me Made May - May 2nd

May 2nd – P4P Carefree Cardigan in a Joann’s Tribal Knit and Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey from Modern Makers

 

Me Made May - May 3rd

May 3rd – P4P Women’s Raglan in Stretch Lace from Kaplan’s and French Terry from Joann’s

 

Me Made May - May 4th

May 4th – Julia Cardigan in a Jersey Knit from Fabric.com

 

Me Made May - May 5th

May 5th – P4P SOS Pants in a Ponte Knit from Fabric.com

 

Me Made May - May 6th

May 6th – Modified Wiksten Tank in Cotton + Steel Double Gauze from Modern Makers

 

Me Made May - May 7th

May 7th – P4P Everyday Elegance in Anna Maria Horner Rayon Challis from Modern Makers

 

Me Made May - May 8th

May 8th – P4P Boyfriend V-Neck in a Jersey Knit from LDG Showroom and Crocheted Slouchy Beanie

 

Me Made May - May 9th

May 9th – M4M Megan Dress in Ponte from Girl Charlee

 

Me Made May - May 10th

May 10th – M4M Mama Mya in Jersey Slub Knit from Girl Charlee

 

Me Made May - May 11th

May 11th – P4P Carefree Cardigan in Riley Blake Knit from Missouri Star Quilt Company

 

Me Made May - May 12th

May 12th – Love Notions’ Sybil Skirt in a Floral Ponte from LDG Showroom

 

Me Made May - May 13th

May 13th – P4P Grandpa Cardigan in Joann’s Sweater Knit

 

Me Made May - May 14th

May 14th – P4P Women’s Raglan Add On Pack in Floral French Terry and Burgundy French Terry from Raspberry Creek Fabrics and P4P Layer Me Up Tank in Jersey Knit from Girl Charlee

 

Me Made May - May 15th

May 15th – P4P Peg Legs in Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey from Modern Makers

 

Me Made May - May 16th

May 16th – P4P Free Spirit Tank in a Knit from Joann’s

 

Me Made May - May 17th

May 17th – P4P Pumpkin Spice Dolman in Sweater Knit from Joann’s

 

Me Made May - May 18th

May 18th – P4P Layer Me Up Tank in a Slub Jersey Knit from Girl Charlee

 

Me Made May - May 19th

May 19th – Morris Blazer in Ponte from Girl Charlee and Pleather from Wildflower Weston

 

Me Made May - May 20th

May 20th – P4P Grandpa Cardigan in Sweater Knit from Fabric.com

 

Me Made May - May 21st

May 21st – Wiksten Tova in Anna Maria Horner Rayon Challis from Stitch Lab and Free Spirit Voile from Bon Bon Atelier

 

Me Made May - May 22nd

May 22nd – Linden Sweatshirt in Katrina Rochelle Knit and Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey from Modern Makers and Crocheted Slouchy Beanie

 

Me Made May - May 23rd

May 23rd – P4P Sweet Tee Dress in Knit from Hobby Lobby

 

Me Made May - May 24th

May 24th – P4P Pumpkin Spice Doman in Sweater Knit from Girl Charlee

 

Me Made May - May 25th

May 25th – Self Drafted Skirt in Rayon Challis from Fabric.com

 

Me Made May - May 26th

May 26th – P4P Women’s Raglan Add On Pack in Floral French Terry and Burgundy French Terry from Rasberry Creek Fabrics and P4P Layer Me Up Tank in Jersey Knit from Girl Charlee

 

Me Made May - May 27th

May 27th – M4M Mama Mya in a Tissue Knit from Modern Makers

 

Me Made May - May 28th

May 28th – Part 1 – P4P Summer Kimono in Crepe from Fabric.com and P4P Peg Legs in Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey from Modern Makers

 

Me Made May - May 28th

May 28th – Part 2 – Modified Colette Macaron Bodice and Self Drafted Circle Skirt from Joann’s Lace, Lining, and Tulle

 

Me Made May - May 29th

May 29th – M4M Mama Maya in Jersey Slub Knit from Girl Charlee and P4P Carefree Cardigan in Riley Blake Knit from Missouri Star Quilt Company for Plane Travel and P4P Sweet Tee Dress in Knit from Hobby Lobby for Grilling

 

Me Made May - May 30th

May 30th – Sewing Swap Sybil Skirt in Cotton Jersey Knit from Swap Partner Courtney Hartley for Errands and P4P Peg Legs in Riley Blake Knit from Missouri Star Quilt Company for Lounging

 

Me Made May - May 10th

May 31st – M4M Mama Mya in Jersey Slub Knit from Girl Charlee

 

As you can see the M4M Mama Mya was my favorite since I wore the white one three separate times and the gray one once. I would have worn the gray one more, but I didn’t make it until May was almost over. I’ll try to keep posting on Instagram of the days I wear something I’ve made and then do a monthly recap here. It won’t be every day like May, but I do pretty well most weeks.

Meet Emoji

You probably already know, but we got another Sphynx. His name is Emoji and he is a little terror, but a cute one.

 

Emoji

 

#Hashtag is so calm and so good. Emoji is the exact opposite. He plays hard and then he passes out real hard. There is no middle ground. He is also a trouble maker and loves finding new ways to get into trouble. For example, right after we first got him, he started to play in the toilet water. Well, Sphynx have oil and Emoji’s is a light brown/red. We were finding light brown/red paw prints all over our toilet seats. So we started putting the lids down. Recently, he has begun playing with the lids and trying to get into the toilet. He hasn’t been successful…yet, but it does make a terrible noise. You would think the solution would be to shut the door to the bathroom or toilet, but that’s futile. Emoji HATES closed doors and since we have handles, not knobs, he has learned to jump and hang on the handles enough to open the doors, which is also pretty noisy.

But he sleeps on my face and purrs all of the time and is super loving, so he makes up for all of the naughtiness.

 

Emoji

 

Emoji

 

Emoji

 

Emoji

 

We think #Hashtag likes having him around, but #Hashtag is such an emo kitty, that we aren’t sure. They play together, eat together, and sleep together, so it seems like they are OK with each other. It certainly makes things interesting for us.

 

Emoji and Hashtag

 

Emoji

 

Hashtag and Emoji

Carry On Bag

 

In fall of 2015, Mom said she needed a bag to carry her serger in and she was going to make one. I thought that sounded like a good idea, so I said I would make one with her and we planned to do it at the next retreat we were going to be at together in January.

We chose the Carry On Travel Bag from By Annie. I had never made a By Annie bag, but Mom knew people who had and said it was doable. I figured that if I could make The Weekender, then I could do this. We ordered the finishing kits and Soft and Stable from By Annie’s site. To be on the safe side, I measures our sergers and made sure they would fit in the bag. They wouldn’t. Oops! But all we had to do was increase the width by three inches. I went to work on the quilt math and figured out which pieces would need to be cut different and how much more yardage we would need. Once I had that figured out, we needed to buy fabric.

Mom bought her fabric from her local shop. I had fallen in love with the new Blueberry Park by Karen Lewis line. It was supposed to be available before January, so I ordered it. Then I waited for it to ship. I waited some more. I emailed the seller. I waited. I emailed again. Then it was December and I hadn’t had any communication, so I decided to deal with that later and buy other fabric. My friend and I were going to make a trip to Missouri Star before Christmas and I decided I would find fabric there. I ended up buying some Allison Glass fabric and I was super excited about it.

After reading all of the instructions, we were a little intimidated by the quilting that would need to be done with the Soft and Stable. We had never quilted Soft and Stable and it was just a lot of quilting. So we decided to have it long armed, which was the best decision ever. Mom had no problem getting it quilted quickly so I could pick it up while home for Christmas and cut it before the retreat in January. I got it cut the weekend before the retreat. Both of us were a little intimidated by the cutting because of the number of pieces and the fact that we had changed the dimensions of a lot. I double and triple checked everything.

Mom wasn’t able to attend the retreat because we had a sick family member. I wasn’t going to work on the bag without her, so I brought other projects and the bag had to sit until our next retreat at my place in April.

Everything worked out for the retreat in April. Mom was able to attend and we focused our entire weekend on that bag. It worked out really well. We ended up cutting everything correctly!!! Well, Mom had a few pieces that were too wide, but they could be cut down and would have been correct if our webbing had been wider. We also re-cut some stuff because we wanted to use a different fabric for the accent or binding than what the pattern called for. We both had plenty left over to allow that.

The instructions were pretty good. I would say they were better than The Weekender. A few things were frustrating and there were things we didn’t like and would do differently next time (As if there will be a next time. Ha!), but it all totally worked out. We both ended up with gorgeous bags. Mom followed the pattern and used binding to finish the edges. I’ve done a bag like that before and hated it, so I decided to line mine. It worked out great, too. Mom didn’t cover her straps because the webbing she ordered matched her fabric well, but I covered mine like the pattern calls for.

Our main suggestions of things to do differently would be around the lining and seam allowance. I would be nice if when you looked inside the bag, the fabric was consistent. The pattern is written so that it’s not and kind of looks like a jumbled mess. It’s still pretty, but not ideal. The seam allowance throughout the pattern is 1/4″. That’s not appropriate for a bag. It should be at least a half inch. I get that the 1/4″ works well with binding, but it would be better to sew the half inch and cut it down once the binding is attached. We ended up doing that and our bag was a bit smaller, but it would have been a pain to try to keep an accurate 1/4″ seam allowance with all of the bulk.

My suggestion is for the zippers. I HATED her zipper finishing method. My mom thought it was kind of cool because it creates a little ridge that is kind of like faux piping, but it’s really hard to make it work on the inside so the seam allowance is completely hidden. I want my bag to look 100% finished and that method did not do that. I did it for a couple of zippers and said screw it for the main zipper and I’m glad I did. It was just weird.

When you are making a serious bag, during the actual bag making, you’re like, “What did I do to myself? Is this worth it?” But once you have a finished product, you’re like, “This is the best thing ever. Totally worth it!” We both felt that way about this bag since it took ALL weekend. It was the only project we both finished, but worth it. And it was great to get to do it together.

Oh…my Blueberry Park fabric arrived in March, so I still could have used it for the bag, but I would have had to get it quilted and cut the pieces out. And then I would have had two sets and I don’t think I could bring myself to make another one any time in the near future.

HEY!!!!!!

So I’ve been terribly bad lately and haven’t posted in FOREVER. I needed a break, though. I’ve kept this blog updated for years mostly for myself to keep track of things I’ve done. Besides life getting in the way (kitties, family stuff, teaching, work, etc.), I started 2016 with the goal to keep even better track of things I do from a sewing perspective. One of those is tracking completed projects, so this blog became less important to me since I was tracking it there. However, I stupidly forgot that there are other people who care about seeing what I do and they have not so gently nudged me to get back at it. So here I am! (I’m very happy and appreciative that they gave me that nudge.)

Let’s talk spreadsheets!!!!! I love spreadsheets. I love organization. It’s a perfect union. You know what else is great? Google Drive. I can store my spreadsheets (and many other things) there and access them whenever I want to from my laptop or phone. I love technology.

Some of you may know that last year (I think), I started a spreadsheet of all of my patterns and books, both digital and print, and a list of fabric that I own. I know there are Apps out there that help you do this, but I’m really fond of spreadsheets. I’ve kept that going and I have approximately 230 yards of of fabric in my stash that I haven’t yet used. The crazy part is that I have a pretty small stash if you start looking around at everyone else’s stash. Think about how many yards of fabric you have in comparison to mine. Scary, right? Basically, I need to buy more to keep up. Haha! I don’t have an exact number because that includes random cuts that may have a yard and 11 inches and I calculated it using a yard and a quarter. Or a layer cake – that’s a little more than three yards, but I just calculated three. The total number of cuts/pieces/items is 241. The list has come in handy many times when I was in a fabric shop and trying to determine if I needed to buy something or not. Elizabeth will be happy to hear that the biggest portion of my stash is from Modern Makers. 🙂

 

Fabric List

 

I also have a link to an image of the fabric and notes.

For patterns and books, I have 315 of them and 179 of them are digital. All of the digital patterns or books are stored on my Google Drive so I can access them for fabric requirements if needed.

 

Patterns and Books

 

I used to have a column with a link to the website, but I got tired of adding it and ended up never using it, so it’s currently hidden.

Starting this year, I’ve added a Sewing Spend, Sewing Income, Sewing Finishes, and WIPs spreadsheet. I’m not going to tell you what I’ve made and what I’ve spent, but I am ahead right now! I have made 102 things since the start of this year. I didn’t start all in 2016, but I finished them in 2016. There have been 110 days in the year so I’m not quite at a project a day. And I have 54 WIPs, so I have plenty to keep me busy.

 

Finishes

 

WIPs

 

I hope that gives you a little insight into how my weird brain works. For me, these lists have been very helpful, but I could see how they could be overwhelming for some. I find them calming.

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