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Half-Baked Ideas (& Brownies)

Last year I pledged to tackle my UFO pile in a “true confessions” post.  All told, I’ve succeeded in finishing the most pressing ones, and I feel great about that, but I’m still facing a towering pile of plastic project boxes. Frankly, some of those suckers depress me and I don’t want to do them. Which leads me to pondering the nature of UFOs—what’s a half-baked idea and what’s a dead end? Let’s be plain here:  what can I cross off my list?

Towering possibilities or quilting purgatory?

It turns out that my question isn’t all that lame. My blogging sisters had a good bit to say when I asked them. As quilting teachers they see students who are determined to finish everything they start even though they’d be happier and more successful as quilt makers if they’d cull their guilt-inducing  collections of half-made projects. Quilting is, after all, the great recycling craft—if it doesn’t work in one project, it’ll work in another.

The reality is that not every inspiration will be fruitful. Sometimes an idea is merely a stop along the way to a better one. In effect, an unfinished block or quilt can function like a rough draft that just needs to be rewritten in order to shine. Take this example from my pile of UFO’s—I’d call this one a half-baked idea that might yield a quilt someday.

A pretty tumbler from Orla Kiely for Target--inspiration for a personal project. Click photo to visit her website.

Here’s my Target plastic tumbler. Isn’t it cute? It was the inspiration for the diagram I sketched. My challenge was to make floating floral blocks using a Snowball block. I was hot on the project for a couple of days and then, somewhere between whim and reality I boxed up the project. Hmm—I’m not ready yet to pop the lid and sew, but I still like the colors and that’s a good sign.

How about dead ends? You know the UFOs that give you the creeps—I certainly do. There’s one in my pile; it’s a dimensional rose-and-daisy wreath set on a pink and white damask background. Separately, the components are wonderful; together they’re a snooze. My gain is that I figured how to make dimensional beaded daisies with tulle, plus I repurposed the roses I’d made for other projects. Hey, I think it’s time I emptied that box—yeah! How many more can I eliminate?

A reasonable start on a prototype dimensional daisy.

You know there are other good (even delicious) aspects of half-baked things. Brownies are especially delicious in an underdone state. So, while you mull over your UFOs, consider indulging in my spin on caramel-scented bittersweet chocolate brownies. My gift to you fellow UFO busters and blog readers! (Keep scrolling for an extra-special offer from The Quilt Show!)

Click the photo to open the recipe PDF or click the Recipes tab above.

In honor of International Quilt Day (March 17), The Quilt Show, the web TV show hosted by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, will “open” all of its shows from the first nine series—that is, from show 100 through show 913—for the entire weekend of March 16 –18. This means that—for three special days—everyone will have the chance to view these 117 shows, featuring some of the quilting world’s leading artists, for FREE.  Two of my sister bloggers—Laura (Episode 710: Conquering the Y-seam Tumble) and Darra (Episode 805: Feedsacks, Fun, and Old Friends: Quilts of the 1930s) have appeared as featured artists on TQS. If you didn’t have the opportunity to see their shows first time around, now you’ll have the chance to see them—and so many other terrific shows—at no cost in this unprecedented three-day offer.

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