The Little Things

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My little sis does a "Little Things" post every week.
I admire her for looking for all the good amongst life's crazy and mundane.

This week, I have a few little things to share too...

- Laughing so hard I cried (with my mom).
- The first "real" Spring day.  Ahhh...warmth!
- My little blondie running to me with arms wide open as she gets off the bus.
- Trying out a new Spring soup recipe from a new cookbook from a friend
and splurging on some fun ingredients!
- 2010 Ledger complete (for tax purposes).
- A little boy who gets ready for soccer practice 2 hours early.
- A nice visit with Gigi and a little bonus gift of some of her reproduction scraps.
- Another sewing night tonight with non-quilty friends.
and last, but not least,
- This new fabric line that I get to play with:

If you want to be a part of "Little Things" you can link up here.

I'm kind of a loner.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I don't have a lot of close friends that quilt. 
So when one of my bestest (non-quilty) friends told me she wanted to make a quilt (and asked ME if I would help her) I jumped all over the chance.  She looked around the Internet and sent me pictures of some quilt blocks she liked.  We quickly decided on a string quilt because who could resist such a cute quilt as this?

We roped in two more "non-quilty" friends to join the fun and last night we had our first work-night.  I told them not to buy fabric quite yet and that I would supply some for their first few blocks (at least).

(This may not look like much, but I probably have enough fabric in this basket to make 2 or 3 quilts!)

These blocks were so simple and so fun to make. 
No matching up seams. 
No making sure you get the right color in the right place. 
This was such a great project for a newbie quilter. 
And a great way to use up scraps! 

We followed Ashley's tutorial to make our first few blocks:

We made a big mess (I didn't mind) and had lots of fun.
No one else would pose for the camera :) but this is Keri who headed up this fun project.  Thanks, Keri!

Of course, it would not be a true girls night, without treats, so I made
Nutter Butter Frozen Peanut Butter Pie:

24 Nutter Butter cookies
5 Tbsp. butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
8 oz. container of cool whip topping, thawed, divided

Crush cookies.  Mix cookie crumbs and butter.  Press onto bottom and sides of 9-inch pie plate.  Mix cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar and vanilla on medium speed until well blended.  Gently stir in 1-1/2 cups of whipped topping.  Spoon into crust.  Freeze 4 hours or overnight until firm.  Let stand 1/2 hour before serving.  Garnish with remaining whipped topping and additional cookies if desired.  Special garnish ~ just before serving, drizzle chocolate syrup on plates.

**I'm such a sucker for chocolate and peanut butter!  See here.**

Anyways, I know I said this project was a great stash buster, but I had to buy just a few additions today while I was at workJust a few more colors that I did not have a lot of to make sure it will be bright and colorful.  Adding just a few new additions to "old scraps" makes the whole project feel fun and exciting!

One perk of working at a fabric store ~ cutting myself 3 inch strips of each one of these fabrics so I would have a nice variety of colors and prints in my quilt.  About $15 for all of this (before my discount).

I have a friend that loves me...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

She must.
Because I received this little beauty on my doorstep today.

It's not my birthday.
It's not National Friendship Day
[I don't think.  Hmmm.  I better go google that...]
And, it's not Christmas.

Is it because she knows it would look really cute in my kitchen? 

Or, because we are kindred spirits forever because we were kicked out of church college together? :) 
(I still maintain the fact that I was/am a really good girl ~ I promise :)

Or, because she heard that I cooked my first roast ever a few weeks ago and she thinks I've earned it? 
[Yes, I've been married for almost 14 years.
My husband has to fend for himself in the red meat department.]

Well, whatever the reason,
thank you, Lizzie. 
You spoil me rotten.

Temptation and a confession.

Monday, March 21, 2011

To tempt:
1. to cause desire or craving to arise in somebody
2.  to be inviting or attractive to somebody

So, I'm tempted.  So what?!?
[I'm being good.  I promise!  But, it's really hard.]
What's a girl to do when she's without a hubby and a sewing machine
and the wee ones are tucked in bed?
Shop online, of course!

So cute right???  I've been eyeing these darling ironing board covers for quite some time now.  Even more so when I saw this darling Scissor Sleeve to go with:

This also caught my eye (it could be useful at Market).

I've been wanting this for a while.  Or at least something from her shop.

And, these are just plain cute:

Sooo, it's time for a confession
[about my sewing machine.]
13 years and she's never been serviced (gasp!)
A guy came out today to do an "in home service call".
It's suppose to only take an hour.
2-1/2 hours later he asked if I would mind if he took my machine to his shop.
[I guess that's what I get for not getting it serviced on an annual basis.]
He said she is a good machine. 
I told him I want to get a new one. 
He said, "They don't make machines like they use to."
[Is he putting her in that "ancient" category?]
Anyways, I hope she comes back to me better than before...
It's like my baby has gone on her first overnighter. 
Literally.  I'm scared.  I miss her. 
I hope she doesn't get into any trouble while she's away... 
Those overnighters lead to nothin' but trouble, I tell ya! 
I know from experience...:)

Is anyone else as bad as I am about getting their machine serviced? 
I'm quite embarrassed that it's been 13 years
(and a bit proud that she's held up so good for so long.)

Anyways ~ wish me luck. 
I hope she chooses the right. 


Thursday, March 17, 2011

I had 3 hearts left over from a little
Valentine's Day project I did last month...

So I decided to make a pillow.
{Love is good anytime of year, right?}

For the pillow itself, I used Bunny Hill's Lily and Will Quilted Texture in Ivory.  I wanted it to have a little bit of a vintage look to go with these nice civil war era pinks that I picked up at American Quilting in Orem, UT. 

I found the perfect color of pink rick rack at Material Girls in South Jordan, UT.  Not too bright ~ kind of vintagy.  (Sorry I don't have the color name or brand of that.) 

A quick and simple project.

Buggy Barn Star Quilt

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Another sample for the store:

The pattern is called Ross' Star Quilt from the book,
Star Crossing by Buggy Barn. 
It was a very fun and quick quilt to make. 
I can't wait for the 4th of July now. 
I might just brave the crowds this year to go "see the big fireworks"
just so I can bring my quilt along :)

For the binding, I chose this navy and white gingham on the bias.
For the backing, red & tan dots
(More specifically: 13563 12 in Faded Red from La Petite Ecole 
by French General for Moda).

Fat Quarter Bundles are available at Just Sew.
Includes 20 Fat Quarters.
Price: $55.00 (I think?)
Also, for those of you local addicts,
I'm teaching a class at Just Sew on this pattern
DATE: April 7th, 6-9 p.m.
♥ to have you join us!
Call 801-492-7929 if interested :)

I've been a bad, bad girl...

Friday, March 11, 2011

That song was running through my head as I drove home from work today.  I don't usually splurge this much.  Maybe $20 dollars here, $30 there. 
But today ~ I was a bad, bad girl.

I walked into work and immediately decided I was going to feed my hungry little stash.  This was the main course:

I can thank Riley Blake for ruining my "diet." 

To help me not feel so much buyers remorse, let's just say that I HAD to do it for blogging purposes!?!  There's a lesson here in all of this.  (Hmmm, that doesn't make me feel that any better.  Probably 'cause that's a lie.  But, let me share with you anyways why I bought what I bought.)

First up ~ these happy, cheery polka dots. 
They're just happy.  And they're cheery. 
So you really can't go wrong with having these in your stash.
(I know many of you can relate to this way of thinking.)

= 1 yard cut.
(The thinking on this is that 1 yard will be enough for
a small border or binding on most size quilts 
OR the back of a baby blanket.)

Second ~ could there be any cuter stripes? 

I really don't think so.  And stripes are good. 
3/4 yard will bind any quilt that I'll probably end up doing (even on the bias).  So that's what I got.

Here are some cute coordinates:

But, knowing me, these fabrics will be dispersed into any number of different projects.  Using them all together in the same quilt is a little too predictable (I like to mix it up).   But, they will be great to have in my stash.  I don't have a lot of pinks or teals and the dots and swirls are basic enough that they won't get outdated quickly.  The red paisley on the left is a little bit of a leap for me (but I decided I needed something with a little "punch").

= 1/4 yd. cuts of all of those since they'll probably be incorporated little by little into scrap quilts.  Don't need much.

[Fabrics shown above are from the fabric line Sweet Nothings by Zoe Pearn Designs for Riley Blake.]

The following fabrics are from
called Sugar & Spice:

Polka dots and tone on tone flowers are good basics.  Don't know exactly what I'm using them for so 1/4 yd. cuts are good.  Again, I need more pinks in my stash and I am collecting fabrics for a red and aqua quilt.  I use red a lot.  I can never have enough reds.

More 3/4 yd. cuts of stripes for possible future bindings:

And, last but not least ~ my biggest splurge. 
The most expensive, but the one I'm most excited about. 
4 1/2 yds of this big, red and white polka dot.  Such a great basic.  This would be a great outer border or backing.  4 1/2 yds. should be enough to back a full size bed quilt.

Mmm.  Yumm. 
That will probably have to be the back for this red and aqua quilt that has yet to be started (oh, it's gonna be hard to use it up though!)  Backs should be happy though, don't 'cha think?  This dot definitely screams happy.

So.  I try to justify this expense.

Maybe it's because my husband's been gone for a week...

Or maybe it's because I'm missing out on a fun and relaxing weekend in St. George with my quilting group.  I mean come on.  Let's be honest.  You know I would've had to spend a nice chunk of change at all of those quilt shops along the way gas and food.  I'm really better off for just buying what I bought.

Or, maybe, just maybe I'm a fabric-a-holic and I need some help.  Yeah.  I think that's what it is.
We can't all be perfect all of the time...  Can we???


Just a little FYI ~ For those of you keeping tabs on the cotton price increase, here in Utah, fabric is running on average about $10 per yard.  The fabric I bought today was $9.60 per yard. 

We've got a winner!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Betty Lou said...

"This is a real winner Amber. It is different and I love it. The quilting is wonderful, very appropriate for the quilt. Cute kids."

Betty Lou, you have one Mod Meadow, 1 Central Park charm pack and 1 yard of pistachio plaid. I can't wait to send it your way so let me know your address and I'll get it right out!

You can email me at

For those of you who are sad you didn't win, you can purchase a copy of Mod Meadow in my etsy shop.

Thanks for playing, guys!  I really appreciate all of your sweet comments.

Have a wonderful day.

Mary did it. can I!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I think it's time that I can share a little "secret" project that I've been working on.  I'm really excited about it! 

So, remember how I told you that the
2011 International Quilt Market is in Salt Lake City this year?  
[que: freak out] 
Well, that's just a hop, skip and a jump away from my house.

And remember how I told you that I am going to have a booth there?
[O.K.  I'm starting to feel some anxiety up in my throat now.] 

[No, really.  As I figure out how to word this post I'm starting to loose feeling in the upper half portion of my body.  I'm thinking I may not be cut out for this...]

* Focus Amber *

O.K..  So anyways.  There's going to be a really fun "booth hop"
that a bunch of us Utah based designers are hosting.  It's called,
All Dolled Up in Salt Lake City!
Each of us has been asked to design a block based off of a doll template we were given.  All of the blocks will be put into a quilt or two and one or two lucky
"market go-ers" will get a chance to win them!

Wanna see my block?

Here she is: 

Yeah.  That's right.  All hand-appliqued.
[That's why she was a week late.]

Anyways.  It's kind of based off of me [long brown hair and blue eyes],

with some references to my grandmother [Gigi]. 

I had to put a 4-patch on there because that's how my grandmother learned to sew.  When she was a little girl her mother gave her a basket of scraps and taught her how to hand-sew 4-patches.  She "went to town" and made enough blocks to make a small blanket for one of her younger siblings.  She grew up in the 30's, thus, the pinafore.

Two of my great loves are represented ~
Family and sewing.

And, I love the socks.  I use to wear socks like this when I was a little girl.
But I didn't grow up in the 30's.  I grew up in the 80's.

I have to tell you, that I had some help designing this.  I am not an artist, nor a graphic designer.  I am a quilt maker.  I design quilt blocks.  With squares, and triangles, and such.  I am really good at drawing stick people.  But not so much real people.  So.  I had a neighbor friend of mine (who is a great artist) put my ideas on paper.  I told her what I wanted (I even drew out a sketch.  You should see it.  It's hideous!) and she brought me back a presentable (paper) version of what I described.  I felt kind of bad that I needed some help, but trust me when I say you would not want to see my attempt at drawing this up all on my own.   

So the appliqued version is going into the prize quilts and I also get to make one more block to hang in my booth.  I'm going to embroider it since I am a little burned out with applique for now.  As you can see, she's all traced on and ready to go!

I think there will be patterns available of all of the blocks at a later date.  I'll let you know when they're ready.

I'm sure you'll be seeing lots of these blocks around in the next few days/weeks.  I can't wait to see them all.  I know Mary and Lila have both posted about theirs already.  You should check them out!

O.K.  I know.  I do long posts.  I'll go. 
But don't forget to enter my giveaway for my new pattern [Mod Meadow] and a kit.  Click HERE if you haven't entered yet.  Giveaway ends tomorrow night.

Mod Meadow Pattern + Giveaway!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'd like you to meet Mod Meadow.
[My latest pattern out of Kate Spain's Central Park.]

Yay!  She's finally done and I'd love to hear what you think?!?

She measures in at 61" square and if you liked Mod Medallions 
[my third pattern], then I think you might like Mod Meadow too. 

It's kind of a stretch, but if you look real close, the Mod Medallion block is kind of in there.  If you look at the 9-patch blocks and follow the white out into the leaves, you'll see it.  I almost called this quilt "Remix" or "Take Two" but decided that it really was completely different than Mod Medallions.  I decided to go with Mod Meadow instead. 

I don't I the only one that sees that?

This quilt is scrappy, but only uses 1 charm pack, lots of white and some green.
I used It's A Hoot plaid (in pistachio) by Momo for Moda for the leaves.

This quilt combines simple piecing with easy machine applique for the leaves
(so there's no need to get overwhelmed :)  Although, I think if someone out there chooses to hand applique all of the 168 leaves, then you'll have a real show-stopper on your hands. 

Kaylene Parry in Lehi quilted this for me.  She did a fantastic job.

I always like to do a giveaway [when I can] to celebrate the release of a new pattern.  Sooo... I have 1 Central Park charm pack, 1 yard of that lovely pistachio plaid from Momo [love that green!] and my new Mod Meadow pattern to give away.

Leave me a comment below.
Make sure you're a follower.
Make sure you include your email address.
Contest will end Wednesday at midnight.

I think that's it!

Oh, one last thing~

I gotta couple of cuties here I wanted to show ya:

And one interesting bridge shot [from my photo shoot today].

That really is the actual color of the photo.  No photoshopping!

K.  Have a good day. 
~ Amber

Before and After

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

We love our home, but when we bought it about 7 years ago, it was in need of some major updating. 

Since we've moved in, we've:
re-modeled the kitchen,
refinished the wood floors, 
landscaped the backyard,
installed new front doors
and painted our little hearts out.  

One thing we had put off until a few weeks ago, was getting new carpet.  The old carpet was in bad shape.  After calling every company in the phone book and getting the best price (with the company we wanted to use), we FINALLY got our new carpet a couple of weeks ago.

Here's what it looked like before:

Sick right?

Well here's what it looks like now:

Notice any other change in that picture?

Do you remember how I've been complaining about how busy I've been lately? 

Well, during all of this carpet talk, I somehow got
roped into/"volunteered" (it's debatable at this point)
to paint our 3 sets of banisters.  We knew that if we wanted to get our home updated into this century that we had to do the painting before the carpet was installed.  At first we talked to someone about doing it for us.  But after finding out that the painter would just spray paint it white and then antique it with a dark brown glaze, I knew that it was something I could handle.  With a lot of elbow grease and some help from my dad, we painted and glazed all of our banisters before the new carpet went in.  We saved about $1000 by doing it ourselves (which will hopefully go towards granite in our bathrooms or that new couch we've been needing.)  Of course we're paying our painter/friend for his time too though. 

Anyways, it was a hard week of blood, sweat and tears
(o.k. I might be exaggerating a bit),
but in the end it was worth it.