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.


8 thoughts on “Half-Baked Ideas (& Brownies)

  1. If I no longer want to do a project I take the fabrics out and put them away. Any partly done project parts are just all stashed into one plastic bag. Sometimes I go through them and cut them up and make new fabric. Or sometimes I just acknowledge that they were a great practice piece and I don’t need to go any further with them. There are too many new fun things to do to get bogged down with old stuff you just don’t like anymore.


    1. I like your approach Debbie–there are too many fun things to do to get bogged down with dead ends. I think I’ve got some boxes to empty . . .



  2. It’s not just me???!!! I am SO glad to learn others do the same thing!! I try to justify it by saying “but I’m organized and the plastic containers…..” Uh huh. As for The Quilt Show…I’ve been a member since it’s inception and have learned so much. I am a better quilter because of this show. If you’re not a member, check it out, then join!! (p.s. I’m not connected to TQS in any way)
    Connie in California


  3. I left a couple of things off my UFO list, so maybe that is a sign?????? Maybe time for dumping them into the recycle pile. What would we do without plastic boxes? Thanks for the motivation and the brownie recipe!


    1. Do make the brownies–they are DELICIOUS! I do like your note about recycling–perhaps we should promote UFO busting (clearing out the cobwebs) as an environmental effort?


  4. Thank you for making it all right to have stacks of plastic project boxes just waiting for the right time. I feel so much better! I LOVE this blog!


    1. Glad you like us–we love compliments! Yes, it’s more than okay to organize stuff in plastic boxes. I do wish all my boxes matched, but one can only be so compulsive!


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