Saturday, March 30, 2013

March Bee Blocks

Hello everyone, and happy Easter a day early! :) I'm sure I won't have time to post tomorrow, so I just wanted to quickly share the March Color Bee Shocked blocks that I put together the other night.

Our theme for this month was to make a star out of white-on-white fabrics with a blue star background. The fabrics were provided by our host this month and I really loved the blue background fabric!

I put together 2 blocks, both more traditional looking blocks. There were several people who had already made some wonky or paper pieced blocks. The point was to get a bunch of different looking stars so I went with something that I knew how to do. :) Hopefully our host likes them. She's putting together a quilt that will assemble the stars into a constellation for her husband which I think is an awesome idea!

I should keep this idea in mind for my father. He's a HUGE space nerd. He grew up during the space with Russia and has a closet full of astronaut pictures that are all signed and booklets from all of their missions. When he was a kid he used to sit under a card table with star maps and pretend that he was in a spaceship going to visit different planets and stars and things like that. Just one of the many things I love about my dad. :) So, maybe I'll keep this in mind for an Orion wall hanging or something like that. It would be a neat Christmas present for him for next year...

Anyway - hope you all have a wonderful Easter! Spring is almost here in full swing. The birds are back and the snow is melting. I think we're supposed to get a couple flurries between today and tomorrow, but then hopefully we'll start warming up! :) Happy crafting everyone!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Over the Rainbow Finished!

Hello everyone! I've got my first finished quilt of 2013! I should have had this finished way before the end of March, but such is life! It feels like I've done so much more sewing that I have, so I'll have to shape up here in the second quarter of the year. :)

 Here it is on our queen-size bed at home. It's not meant to be for our bed. The pattern I was going off of was for a twin-size bed. But, to keep us from using my Mario quilt every day, we're using this one since it's not as cold outside now. Someday it will happily live on the right size of bed...

As some of you might know, I started this quilt back when I was in 8th grade. I learned how to quilt at summer camp in grade school and then started planning this quilt with my mom. Good intentions on finishing it up right away were put on hold with school work, summer plans, then high school and then into college. I think the pieces of this quilt have moved with me at least 5 times during all of those years. To be honest, I'm surprised I didn't lose it!

So, this is my longest WiP ever, and I hope I don't have any other quilts that even come close to taking this long to complete! I had to buy the black fabric for the black squares and the outer border. I have no idea if I ever had the black fabric along with the others or not, but it all worked out. It's a little bit of a different shade, and the new fabric seems to attract cat hair more than the older type, but that's OK. It's a quilt just for us, which is unusual since I usually give my quilts away!

Here are some pictures of the quilting I did again. I used a rainbow variegated thread which I L.O.V.E. the look of on the black. I wish my stitches were more consistent, but I have plenty of room to grow! :)

My favorite part is the loopy quilting around the border of the quilt. It really stands out. Plus, the thick batting I used gives the quilt a really nice puffy texture that is lovely to touch. I have a lot of the colored fabrics left  over, so I'll need to figure out something to do with those. I used some for the scrappy binding. It worked out perfectly that I needed one strip from each color.

My mother and I are participating in the Hands2Help charity quilt challenge with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I think I'm going to use the left over bright colors along with some fabric from my mom's stash to make a bright and colorful kids quilt. There's a really cute fish pattern that I want to try out that I think would look awesome in all of the different colors. I think I'd use white as a background and then do a bubble/pebble quilting on the whole thing. Now that I've typed that, I really like the sound of it! :) There's still time to sign up if you click the link above! Both charities are such good causes to support!

In other news, my husband and I dyed Easter eggs today! I haven't done that in a few years, so it was fun to do it just the two of us. Right now they are happily in the refrigerator, but we'll see if I actually eat them or just use them for a decoration. Egg salad sandwiches do sound pretty good right now though - and with all the bright colors that seep through it's always fun to make.

 We're also planning on having a little Easter present off of our diet and got a Lindt chocolate bunny and a bottle of Petite Sirah wine (one of our favorites).

Lastly, I've also put together my March Package Pals craft package for another swap I'm in this month. I didn't make anything homemade (disappointing, I know!). The person that I am paired up with is new to quilting, so I thought it would be nice to pass along some of the simple patterns I've accumulated and also the grouping of block-of-the-month patterns I won the other month from a local quilt shop. To be honest I probably would never get around to making them anyway since I have so many other quilt projects going on! They have all of the pieces pre-cut in nice batik fabrics. I also included some candles and candle holders, some quilt marking pencils and some quilt labels. I hope she likes it!

The next thing I need to do and have shipped off by the end of the month is my Color Bee Shocked blocks. We have a theme of stars this month, so at least I know what I'm going to do for those. Another post when those are done will be coming up soon! Have a great rest of your week everyone and happy crafting!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Weightless Wednesday #5

Hello everyone! I can't believe another week has gone by and that it's almost April! March has just flown by. This week it was my goal to get down to 155 pounds to have lost a total of 20. Unfortunately, I didn't quite make it, but I did get to 156. 1 more pound to go, so hopefully that will be my Easter gift to myself!

I did manage to squeeze myself into those size 6 jeans that I bought the other week. There's a little bit of pudge that still sticks out on the top of the waistband, but all of my tops cover that up. :) I rent apartments for a living and one of my tenants came in to the office to talk yesterday. She actually complimented me on the jeans that I was wearing and then said, "But I could never wear those, you're so slim." I had 2 thoughts that kind of popped in to my mind at the same time. The first, and the one I went with, was THANKS! I thought it was pretty cool that someone had actually called me slim. But, the second thought I had was hey, this took a lot of work to get here, I wasn't born this way! There's no way for that person to know how far I've come, so I went with it as a nice compliment.

It makes me wonder though how many people I've seen in the past who are thin and slim and I just looked at them and thought they're just naturally that way. I bet there were plenty of them who had to work hard to keep that body slim and fit and my jealousy was unwarranted since it wasn't just given to them. It makes me look at fit people in a new light.

Going along with this whole body image thing... While watching the Today Show this morning they said that mannequins are starting to be more plus-sized. I just heard that the average mannequin is a size 4-6 while the average US woman is a size 14.

I think it's great that stores are going to put the clothes they sell on mannequins that look more like the average person. I remember going shopping and being very frustrated that the clothes on the mannequin looked no where near as good on me, even with trying on my bigger size. I think this will help to make the body image of women better. I've fallen prey to it many times where I'm jealous and envious of the people (or even the mannequins) that can wear a size 2 dress. I don't think they should go as far as to make mannequins that are obese, but mannequins that are average and healthy looking would be great. What do you guys think? Do you get mannequin envy?

Heaviest weight: 180
Starting weight: 175
Last week's weight: 157
This week's weight: 156
Weight loss this week: 1 pound
Total weight loss: 19 pounds

Monday, March 25, 2013

March Madness!

Hello everyone! It seems like I've been doing some scrambling around recently to get all of my March commitments done. It's been my own version of March Madness around here. Besides working during the week and then working out for about 2 hours every night I have managed to squeeze in some sewing. Here's what I've been working on:

I'm in a spring mug rug swap, so I finally have those put together. I need to add a label on to the back yet and then I can get them off in the mail! :) I hope my partner likes them. I used the tulip tutorial from Bee in My Bonnet.

I still need to put together a crafty package for the March Package Pals through C.R.A.F.T., but I know what I'm going to send out at least. And, I still need to put together the Color Bee Shocked block for March as well. I've got 2 star blocks planned, but we'll see if I get both of them done. It's going to be a mad dash to the end of the month this week for sure!

But, my largest finish that is coming up for March 31st is my over the rainbow quilt. I've got it all quilted up and all of the tails tucked in. Now I just need to make the binding and stitch that on!!! Here's some pics of the quilt.

So, have you been scrambling around this March? I'm hoping spring is just around the corner. I have high hopes for April since I'm still seeing snow flurries here this week. :(

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Weightless Wednesday #4

Wow, I can't believe I've been having this series for a month already! It seems like I just started working out a couple days ago. :)

This week we stayed pretty much on track with our goals. For sustainable weightloss I can lose about 1-2 pounds per week and that's right what I did.

The best thing I did this week though, was go out and buy some new pants. I am now down 2 sizes! I used to wear a size 12, and that probably was pushing it. I had to stretch the waistband part as soon as pants came out of the dryer to help them widen out a bit. I dont have to do that anymore! I bought 2 pairs of size 8 pants this week and no muffin top in sight! I'm ecstatic! I'm actually debating taking one back to trade it in for a size 6, but I don't want to get my hopes up that I'll be down that far in the very near future. That could take a couple months yet.

The last thing to share is that this week we really added in some weightlifting. We met with a personal trainer for a free orientation at our gym and it was probably the best thing we've done for our workout. She showed us a 30 minute circuit that we can do every other day to help tone and build muscle. And boy did I hurt the next day after that! So, I hope that helps us get fit on a new level. :)

Heaviest weight: 180
Starting weight: 175
Last week's weight: 159
This week's weight: 157
Weight loss this week: 2 pounds
Total weight loss: 18 pounds

Next week's goal is to hit the 20 pounds lost mark! That is going to be a lot of work for sure!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Giveaway winners!

Hello everyone! I know I'm a day late in posting this, but I've been super busy just like the rest of you, I'm sure! :) Here are the winners of my giveaways:

#24: StasaLynn who said: Beautiful projects! And beautiful fat quarters. I am a new follower now - because I want to see your designs become quilts! Thanks for the opportunity! 

And then she also replied to her own comment (so she wasn't counted twice) and said: hahahaha... I got so excited I forgot to tell you my favorite quilt pattern... right now it is log cabin.

Well, I am also a fan of the log cabin pattern. I haven't tried it yet, but I love how you can make it look completely different just by changing the color patterns.

And, the winner of my second group of fat quarters was #89: Happy Cottage Quilter who said: I like stars and baskets. Thanks for the great giveaway!

I am definitely biased for stars. The first pattern I ever sewed was an Ohio Star block for a pot holder at summer camp while I was in grade school. I have no idea what happened to it, but I've been hooked on quilting ever since! I'm in my first online quilting bee (Color Bee Shocked) and I think I'm going to ask for star blocks for my month. Now, to decide if I want them to all be different or if I want a specific pattern!

Anyway - both of my winners have been emailed, so StasaLynn and Happy Cottage Quilter, please send me your mailing information. :)

And, in other news, I had just a few minutes for sewing today between church and working out. So, I made some spring flowers. I have 3 more pairs to make, and I hope they turn out a little better than the first two. I have a yellow, a red, and then a dark and light purple flower coming up. :) Hope you've all been able to spend this weekend sewing up your projects or having a great time! Happy crafting everyone!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Weightless Wednesday #3

Hello everyone! I hope you're all doing well and enjoying March. It's hard to believe we are already in the middle of the month! I wish it would hurry up and stop snowing here so we can get into spring. I'm so ready for warmer weather!

Thanks for coming back for another of my Weightless Wednesday posts. My husband and I have been going strong with our work out and fitness goals and I have a tool to share with you that has helped us a lot. It's called My Fitness Pal. It's a website (and you can download an app for your smart phone!) that helps you keep track of your weight loss goals. You can track the exercise you do, the calories you consume, and your weight or measurements.

We've been using this tool for about a week now and it has been really helpful. You can search for different foods from restaurants, grocery stores, name brands - or you can scan the bar code on the groceries you buy. You can even enter in your own foods if you don't find it on the list (or add in the calories from an obscure local restaurant!). It will then plug in the calorie info and you can choose the serving size that you actually ate. Here's a screen shot of my tracking from today:

I know the picture is a little small, but it does a really good job of detailing out everything I've had to eat. I earned extra calories from working out today. Normally my goal is 1200 calories for the weight I want to lose if I don't work out at all. Since I put in just under 500 calories on the elliptical today I was able to eat a little over 1600 instead. You'll notice that I had 1/2 of a small, veggie pizza for dinner. Not the healthiest of choices, but I only went over my calorie goal by about 80 calories for the day. That's not so bad, and the pizza allows me to stay sane during the work out routine. :)

So, you can sign up for a free account at I love it and I'll probably still track what I eat even when I've met my weight loss goal. Speaking of... how am I doing? Here's how far along I am now:

Heaviest weight: 180
Starting weight: 175
Last week's weight: 163
Today's weight: 159
Weight loss this week: 4 pounds
Total weight loss: 16 pounds

I'm so excited that I keep going down and that I'm into the 150s!! I think I'm going to hit a plateau soon though, and the weight is not going to keep coming off as quickly anymore. Ideally I'd like to get down to 135 at the end of my journey. So, I still have 24 pounds to go. Right now, I'm pretty sure I'm lighter than I was when my husband and I got married a little under 4 years ago. I'm feeling great and I hope I'll have the willpower to continue! The best part is that now people are starting to notice that I've lost weight! :) Happy Wednesday everyone!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Beat the Winter Blues! Blog Hop and Giveaway!

Hello everyone! If you're new here, welcome to my blog! If you're returning, welcome back! This is my first time in participating in one of the Quilting Gallery's blog hops and I'm excited to check out the line up.

I'm going to highlight some of the projects I've completed over the last couple years and link you back to those posts. Otherwise, feel free to browse around my blog. I hope you're all inspired to create!

My blog is called The Recipe Bunny because I initially wanted a place to write down the recipes I was trying out (and my husband's nickname for me was/is Bunny). As you will see, I quickly turned from recipes to crafts, but I still do a savory or sweet post every now and then. My favorite recipe so far is my Roasted Garlic and Sausage Pasta. I tried to recreate my husband's favorite meal at our favorite Italian restaurant here in Madison - Lombardino's. It turned out really nicely, but still can't beat the original.

One of my favorite craft projects is the hallowed-out book safe. My husband actually asked for this to be completed. Actually, he helps me come up with ideas for lots of projects and is usually the one I ask for a seal of approval. Anyway, we needed a place to store a flask his parents brought home from Ukraine. So - the book safe was created. We bought the book from the thrift store. It was a thick biography about Colin Powell. Probably not a book we'd usually have on the shelf, but thick enough to hold the flask!

My favorite knitting project so far has been the kindle case I made for my sister. It looked like a little monster and was the first knitting-in-the-round I had ever done. I still need to make one of these for me sometime now that I have a smaller kindle too. I originally had a large kindle and made a quilted case for it. Alas! That kindle broke and so I gave the case to my friend who was visiting for a weekend to fit her nook. She was happy to have it even if it was used. :) Otherwise, I'm pretty new to knitting, so I make a lot of scarves. I have one I'm still finishing up for a friend, even though I hope she doesn't have to use it any more this year (I'm ready for spring!!!). I also did my first cabling on a scarf for my mother-in-law for Christmas. She was the person who originally taught me how to knit and purl and I'll be forever grateful!

Now, on to the quilts! I made my first quilt at summer camp when I was in grade school and I'm pretty sure I've been hooked ever since. I made one with my mom for a wedding present in high school, and I did make 2 in college during finals week my Junior year. Yes, I was a little crazy but it really helped me wind down in between all that studying! Now it's much more of a regular hobby.

My most popular and probably crowning quilting achievement is my Super Mario Brothers quilt. This quilt was 9 months in the making. My husband and I sat down one night and drew up the pattern for most of the blocks. Some I had found a pattern for out of perler beads or cross stitch - like Mario and Luigi. But others like the Piranha Plant, Thwomp and Angry Sun we designed ourselves. A lot of the characters in the quilt were pretty tricky to fit in a 16x16 grid. I had to scale down Cheep Cheep the fish and the Koopa Troopa turtle quite a bit. Then, lo and behold right after I get my quilt finished I see there's a Mario Quilt-A-Long! If I had just waited a few more months someone would have done all of that designing work for me!!! I did share my quilt with the QALs flickr group and I've loved seeing my patterns put into different color combinations. I'm happy other people have enjoyed my patterns/characters as much as I did! It was a lot of fun to figure out the blocks with my husband. It was also probably the project he's been most interested in. He was involved with the pattern, fabric choice, quilting, and now we sleep with it just about every night. It's cold here, and we have basically every blanket we own on our bed. :)

But, the Mario Quilt is special and I don't want it to get too much use, so I'm making more quilts. Please stop by my Quilt Projects tab at the top of the blog to see some things I've come up with. Most things I've given away, but this year I have several quilts planned just for us (and I'm sure I'll throw in a few for other people too - it always happens!). I've had a Double Irish Chain planned out for a couple years. I've got a Fall Leaf Quilt with about 1/3 of the blocks done. I've also got my longest WiP ever all pinned and ready for quilting. Hopefully that will get finished this month, and I started that when I was in 8th grade!! (I'm 26 now...too long to keep it in a box!)

Besides that, I love to design and dream about quilts. Sometimes I even post my sketches. Maybe one day I'll make one into a real quilt! :) Here's my favorite, so maybe this one will be next... Sun, Moon and Stars

Well, if you've made it through this long post you deserve a treat! I've got just the thing for this Quilting Gallery hop - some fat quarters!

So, I'll definitely have at least one drawing, but let's try to make it 2! I'm really close to 200 followers on my blog. If I get to that level, I'll give away 3 fat quarters to 2 different people. If I don't then I'll just have a giveaway to one person.

So, what can you win?


 Or these:

How do you enter? Please leave just one comment. You don't need to be a follower, but if you like what you see here, please sign up! And, let's make the comments fun. Give me an answer to this question: What is your favorite quilt pattern?

If you are a no-reply blogger, please include your email in your response. If I can't contact you, I can't send you your winnings! I'll pick a winner on Saturday, March 16th.

Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways
And, last but not least, please go check out the other blogs on the hop! I know I'm going to be very busy going from one to another and I hope you have fun with it too!! Just click on this button to be directed back to the main page for the hop. The list of participating bloggers should be up by late afternoon on Friday, March 8th, so if it's not up when you stop by, come back later! Happy hopping everyone!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Weightless Wednesday #2

Hi everyone! It's the second week of my Weightless Wednesday posts and so far we're still going strong. :) We are making steady progress toward our goal of being healthy and fit.

This week we had some challenges - mainly the weekend. We didn't work out on Friday or Saturday simply because we just didn't feel like it. That's not exactly the way you're supposed to go about losing weight! In fact, not only did we not work out, but we went out for bloody mary's and a cheese burger (Please don't judge us too harshly)!

All of that aside, we did have some good things happen to us this week as well. We've reorganized our refrigerator so that we know where everything is. I even labeled the shelves and drawers inside. But, my favorite part is the message board we have outside the refrigerator.

We have a lot of left overs that end up going to the trash because we don't know they are in there or just pain don't want to eat them. That's changed now that we can see what is in the refrigerator without having to dig through the tupperware containers.

We also bought a juicer back in November last year. So, we frequently make vegetable juices to drink in place of a meal or snack. That means we buy a lot of vegetables and fruits and if we don't use them then they go bad. This board helps us remember what is in the refrigerator. When it is gone, we erase it from the board. When we go grocery shopping, we move any remaining "new veggies" down to the "old veggies" section and try to use those vegetables up first. So far it's been working, but this is really our first week on this system.

For things not on this list, we use the top shelf of the refrigerator. Basically any dairy, breakfast or beverage items go on that shelf. Condiments and our water pitcher go on the door.

Along with the organization we've been trying to eat healthier too. Before we started working out we probably ate take out or went to a restaurant at least 4 out of the 7 days of the week. The rest we usually ate microwavable or easy heat-up meals out of a box. Since then I've been trying to eat gluten free as much as possible and that just isn't possible with the eating habits we had previously. So, here's what we made for dinner Tuesday night:

We made a sauteed asparagus and grilled chicken breast. The asparagus we sauteed with olive oil, red onion, garlic, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. The chicken my husband grilled plain. We took the asparagus out of the saute pan and then added the chicken breast to that pan with a little more olive oil, some more onions and lots of extra seasonings. He added to seasonings so I'm not sure what he all put on top, but there was some chili powder, seasoned salt, garlic pepper and then he also added a small amount of ginger marinade.

This meal was soooooo good! I zoomed in on the food so that it wouldn't look too ridiculous on my larger plate. ;) We usually buy frozen chicken breast, but most of those are huge. At least 12 ounces each. So, we split one and then each ate about 8-9 stalks of asparagus. We used probably 1/4 red onion. This meal is so forgiving, but I think they key to the asparagus is the lemon juice and the balsamic vinegar. I could have eaten a whole bushel of asparagus this way!!

So, with the good and the bad, how did we do this week?

Heaviest weight: 180
Starting weight: 175
Last week's weight: 163
Today's weight: 162
Weight lost this week: 1 pound
Total lost: 13 pounds

Not too bad, but we can do better. I'm looking forward to the next week and hopefully we can stay more on track this time! :) Happy Wednesday everyone!

Snowy Day Sewing

Hi Everyone! We had some more snow today, and it's still coming down. I originally went in to work at 9am, but we closed up the office at 1:00pm to get home safely. That means I had a little more time today to do some sewing.

My husband and I went to JoAnn's the other day and found a new fabric for the orange background color in my leaf quilt. I finally got around to cutting it up for the 9 blocks I need to make with that color and put one together.

With this block, I now have 13 of the leaf quilt blocks done. That means I'm a little over 1/3 done. I have 4 each of the other color backgrounds completed (red, brown and cream). And, I think this orange fabric goes along with the others much better than my first choice in fabric.

That's just a little pic of what they look like together. The quilt I've planned will be a 6x6 block grid. I'm still debating if I'll use a dark brown sashing in between each block. I think I'll need to to make it big enough for our bed.

Besides the leaf quilt, I also started sewing along with the Quilty-Barn-Along. I wouldn't consider myself a very country person, but I really liked the idea of this one. Here's my first block:

The next block pattern comes out next week Wednesday. I'm pretty excited to see what it will look like. This project is going to help me get through some of my scraps for the blocks on the side of the barn. :)

I know I also haven't fessed up on my February goal... I had really wanted to get my Over the Rainbow quilt all quilted up, but I haven't gotten to it yet. I'm hoping to cross that one off the list in March. In addition to that, I'm involved in a couple swaps this month, so I'll be busy. I've got a spring mug-rug swap, the Color Bee Shocked bee block for March and a package pal swap to put together. So, stay tuned for some more craftiness from me this month.

Blog Hop Party with Give-AwaysAlso, come back on Friday for the Quilting Gallery Beat the Blues Blog Hop. I'll have a little giveaway for you and hopefully have some more sewing and crafts to show you at that time.

Hope to see you all again soon! :) Happy crafting!
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