Mixing things up

Monday, August 29, 2011

Most of my quilts have polka dot fabrics in them.  

Whether I use a dot for the entire background fabric or just a little here and there, I almost always incorporate polka dots in my quilts.  It adds a bit of whimsy.  They're happy!  They're classic.  I LOVE them.  But there have been times when I have went to my stash and just didn't have the variety I needed.  It's like all I had was polka dots!  In my opinion, polka dots are always a safe choice when buying fabric, but I've realized that I needed to branch out a bit.

So, while I was on my quilting retreat two weekends ago, I splurged and bought about 3 yards of fabric.  I couldn't resist these prints.  I have no idea when I will use them!?! But they are colors that I like.  They are sweet and fun and whimsical.

Just quarter yard cuts, since I don't really have a purpose for them.  Enough to make my little heart happy though.

I also felt inclined to buy some more orange and teals for my crayon quilt.  Again, only quarter yard cuts.  As you can see on the left, I already had 5 POLKA DOTS in my fabric collection!!!  I think the ones I bought are adding a nice variety of color, prints and scale to the collection though.

And finally, I bought a few fabrics to finish off a little Fig Tree Halloween wall hanging I'm working on.  

OK, so I couldn't get away without buying a few polka dots!  So sue me! :) They're kind of a staple though.  I don't think I will ever go without them all together, but I have realized it's nice to have a variety. :)

So what's in your stash???

A work in progress

Thursday, August 25, 2011

One of the projects I worked on at my quilting retreat last weekend was this:

It may be the first dark background quilt that I've done and I love it!  It really makes my brights pop!  This simple Goose Tracks block is one I have not done before.  I love the secondary designs that you can see when you stand back and look at the quilt in it's entirety. 

The block is a common one, but I used instructions from the book Around the Block with Judy Hopkins (the same book where all of my recent sampler blocks came from).  My finished block size will be 10".

I'm not sure how big this will be when I'm finished.  I think I'll keep going until I run out of my background fabric.  I bought 3 yards and only have about 2/3 of a yard left, plus 7 more blocks ready to be sewn together.  It might end up being a large throw size quilt.

First Day of School

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What am I going to do with myself?
These little kiddos headed off to school today and I've got more time on my hands than I know what to do with.  Actually, I know I will stay quite busy but I am going to miss them!  It's going to be very quiet around here from the hours of 9:00 am - 3:30 pm Monday thru Friday.

I tried and tried but this was the best picture I could get of Thing 1.
Can you tell that he's not thrilled about having his picture taken?  I was trying not to become the "embarrassing mom" so I didin't push it :)  Now that I think of it though, I didn't even get a hug before he left.  We'll have to make up for that later!


And this little one is really excited to be going into the 1st grade!  She's my sensitive girl so I hope she does o.k. making new friends.  Oh, they're both growing up so fast.  I'm kind of bummed...

So I tried to be crafty last night and make a little gift for their teachers for the first day of school.  I found the original idea while I was playing around on Pinterest the other day.  I was inspired and "pinned" the picture and link away on my pin boards just in case.

The girls from Bee In Our Bonnet (a really cute craft blog) originally shared the idea on their blog last August.  Their survival kits were so cute!!   I just had to copy!  (Theirs are much cuter as I started shopping for the supplies for mine at about 9 o'clock last night and was making labels until 3 o'clock this morning.  There's nothing like last minute...)

This little survival kit is full of goodies a teacher might need on the first day of school. Just a little somethin' to let her know we're thankful for her!

Don't you just love Pinterest though? It's so fun and sooo addicting!
I love that all of my favorites are in one place, organized into categories
(like "my dream home", "quilt love", "sweet treats", etc.)
with little pictures and the links to each one. 
If you want to check out my pinboards, click here.

So, are you addicted yet? 

The Perfect End to Summer

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I can't say that I won't miss the long, lazy days of summer, sleeping in, not having to rush my kids out the door so they won't miss the bus in the morning,
watching them become fantastic swimmers after numerous sessions of swim lessons, playing with cousins and neighborhood friends, b-b-q's, late nights, spontaneous frozen yogurt runs with the fam and all the other wonderful things that summer entails. 

But I will say that I am sooo over trying to keep my house clean after two little tornadoes make their way through every day and I am also over repeating myself 10 times to get my kids to "hear" me.

So.  This is the PERFECT way to end summer.
A quilting retreat to St. George with my friends.
3 glorious days of sewing, sewing and more sewing.

I've got my supplies all ready to go.
I'll be bringing four projects to work on: 

A scrappy Goose Tracks quilt.

A {not as} scrappy star quilt using a fun new gadget I just received (more on that later).

My 2 color "crayon" project that I've been dying to start.

And, a little Halloween wall hanging that I started the other day.  Can you see how I'm all over the place here?  I kind of lost my focus a while ago and hope to find it again one of these days. :)

My scissors and rotary cutter are "labeled" with orange ties so they won't get lost in the excitement of things.

I've got everything a quilting girl like me could anticipate needing on a weekend like this ~ pins, glue, an extension cord, my favorite seam ripper {hope I don't need that too much} and all of my favorite colors of thread.

I've got the other essentials too, like my cutting mat, ruler, iron and travel ironing mat.   I hope that's everything!!!

Just one last thing to do ~ spend some quality time with the kiddos and hubby before I leave.  [Thank goodness for a sweet husband who is so fully capable of having his wife be gone for a few days.  He's such a good man!  They'll probably party hard while mom's gone.  Let the good times roll!]


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You may be able to guess what these little wedges are for. 
Just think on a smaller scale.

Cherry Pickin' Baskets

Monday, August 15, 2011

I found a {new to me} blog a while back and fell in love with a basket quilt that Jolene from Blue Elephant Stitches had made.  Well, she actually made two.  This and this.  I was so inspired by the scrappy and whimsical nature of the two quilts, that I immediately started making my own basket quilt that night.  I have been wanting a "basket quilt" for quite some time and for some reason, hers just spoke to me.

I call my quilt, Cherry Pickin' Baskets because once I got going on the quilt I just knew I wanted to put this fabric on the back.  It's from the fabric line Cherry Fizz by Barb Jones for Henry Glass Co.

I was so sad though because I bought a couple yards of this backing before the quilt was finished and ended up being a little short of fabric.  When I went back to buy some more of it I found out that someone had bought the rest of the bolt that morning.  So I had to piece it.  I ended up using this herringbone fabric from my stash to supplement.

The basket pattern comes from Gwen Marstons Liberated Quiltmaking #2.

My quilt ended up being a little different than Jolene's.  I added a stop border and some of my baskets are more centered on the block.  Making the baskets was really fun, easy and super addicting though!  I had a lot of fun making it.

I did follow Jolene's idea to add a piano key border.

I have a thing for scrappy quilts and this one definitely fit the bill!

Natilie Thompson did the quilting.  I asked her to do a basic stipple so the focus would be on the baskets.  
Her contact info is: 801-787-2496 (South Jordan, UT).

Have a good day!

Scrapbag & Gigi's Thimble Patterns Winner

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thanks to all of you for entering the giveaway.  I loved hearing about the fun things you've been doing this summer!  It sounds like you've all been spending lots of time with family, traveling and enjoying the lazy days of summer.

Today I went on a somewhat treacherous hike with my two kiddos, my brother and his family (my hubby was bringing home the bacon while we were all out having fun).  I'm glad we all made it back safely.  We had a few falls and I was thinking some not very nice words in my head as we were sliding down some very steep hills that turned sharply before some very high cliffs that had a very fast and cold river at the bottom.  Don't ask me why we didn't turn back.  Thankfully we all made it back safely though.  Then we came back to my house for Belgian waffles, buttermilk syrup (here's my recipe) and some R and R!

Now, onto business ~
The winner of my scrapbag giveaway is commenter #28!

AngieSue, who  said...
"Your polka dots have given me a great idea on how to finish a project! Thanks for the inspiration. The best thing I have done this summer ... ate ice cream with my kids all over Europe. "

Sounds wonderful AngieSue! 
Please email me your snail mail address along with the names of two of my patterns that you would like me to include.  Check here for details about all of my patterns.

Thanks everyone for playing!  Have a wonderful weekend.

~ Amber

Aniva's Arrows

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I haven't had a chance to introduce my newest pattern,
Every Which Way.

Right after the Spring 2011 International Quilt Market, I took my Every Which Way quilt down from my booth walls and it went right into the arms of the ladies of a local quilt store!  It's been on display there ever since and I haven't been able to feature it here on my blog yet.  I'll be getting it back next week, but I couldn't wait to share with you another version of it.

My friend Aniva, made this version for her son.  She added a stop border and an outer border to make it double the size of the original pattern.

Aniva used Riley Blake's Alphabet Soup Boy (main) as her inspiration fabric.  It's perfect because it has little arrows on it!

She used an assortment of fabrics for her arrows (incorporating all of the colors from the border fabric) to give it a real scrappy feel and then she backed it with a light green minky to make it extra soft and cuddly.  She finished the whole thing off with an all over arrow quiting design.  Pretty fun if you ask me! 

And I love what Aniva did next ~ she used her arrow scraps to make this little number:

Thanks Aniva for sharing this project with me (and letting me snap some pictures of it too)!   You've inspired me to make a big one for my 8-year old whose been crushin' on it ever since Market. 

You can find the Every Which Way pattern HERE.

Also, there is one more day to enter my scrapbag & Gigi's Thimble pattern giveaway.  Click HERE to enter.

A Finish and a Scrap Bag Giveaway

Monday, August 8, 2011

Well, it's been the summer of swimming lessons, scout camp, a pioneer trek (and a bunch of other stuff that I can't exactly put my finger on right now).  

I'm sorry there hasn't been much blogging around here lately.  With some camera issues and 2 kiddos to entertain all day, I'm lucky to have gotten a few posts under my belt.  Thanks for bearing with me though.  I hope you're all still out there?!?  It seems a little quiet on my google reader these days so maybe I'm not the only one taking it easy for the summer...

There are a couple things I want to share with you today. 

First, my button.  You may have noticed it over there on my sidebar.  You are welcome to grab it and share it, if you'd like.  I was pretty proud of myself for making it :)  Can I just say, "Yay me!" !?!  I must admit though, I did not figure out the coding on my own (I'm not that smart).  I did have some help.  This link gave really easy-to-follow instructions that anyone can follow (even me):

I might be the last one on earth to "have a button" and you all are probably thinking, "it's not that big of a deal".  But I did it and it felt good to learn something new. 


On a different note, I thought I would share my newest finish.  Well, it's just a quilt top right now, but that counts doesn't it?  You've seen a little snippet of it before (when it was in its newborn stage).  But look how she's grown! 

She started out as this:

and it ended up as this:

I'll show better pictures when it's finished, but she really is so different than my original plan.  A few new blocks were introduced, setting triangles were added, and I'm thinking a scalloped border is in order.  I hadn't thought to put the blocks on point until they were just about done and I'm really glad I decided to do it.  

All of the blocks came from the book, Around the Block with Judy Hopkins.  They were really fun blocks to make with simple, clear cut instructions.

This was a project that my quilt group decided to do.  We just picked out 12 blocks and each made our own quilt using our own color schemes and settings.  Mine will hopefully be done soon (as I am a little behind in starting and finishing this project).  I'm trying to keep up with these ladies...

My 2 favorite blocks?
This one (in the middle) called, Old Favorite.

and one right next to it called, Arrow Crown.

All the blocks finished at 10" and the size of the quilt is now measuring about 63" square.

Well, enough about that. 
I mentioned a giveaway, didn't I?

I was thinking that it's been a while since I did a giveaway on here so I decided that I am going to give away my scraps from this project and I'll throw in a couple of patterns (your choice which two) to one lucky winner.  I love these fabrics (most of them are Daydream by Stitch Studios for Riley Blake Designs).

I really thought some dresden plates out of these scraps would be so sweet, but since this is my second and a half quilt made out of these fabrics I thought it was time to move on.  Didn't want to over do a good thing, ya know? 

So we'll make this real easy for ya.
Just leave me a comment below telling me the best thing you did this summer.
Leave some contact info. and make sure you're a follower.

You'll get an extra entry if you blog about it on your blog
(just leave a separate comment saying "blogged it).

This giveaway will close Thursday night at midnight. 
I'll announce the winner this weekend.  Good luck!

~ Amber

I've caught the bug.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Besides swimming lessons for the kiddos, a walk/run with my 8 year old, sewing a binding on a newly finished quilt [pictures coming soon]
and cleaning my kitchen for way too long, I pretty much wasted the day away "pinning".  I'm a bit technologically challenged, so I'm always a little slow jumping on the bandwagon of things like Pinterest, Twitter, Flicker, etc.  [I was pretty proud of myself though for figuring out how to get the "Pin It" button on my favorites toolbar yesterday.  It's been hard to stop pinning since then].  For those of you out there that have not yet caught the bug, let me tell ya that you're missing a whole lotta eye candy.

Here are just a few photos I've "pinned" today.

First, I found me a new project I want to do.
[Please don't hate.  I know this pattern is everywhere these days,
but I like it on everything and in every color!]

yeah.  that's a rug.
 [tutorial found here].

I've been inspired to spruce up my craft room.  Well, really I've been wanting to for a long time.  Isn't this cubby system fun?

There's been some serious color inspiration too. 
Is anyone else feeling orange and turquoise lately? 
I may or may not have a new pattern in the works using just these colors...

And, I suddenly need to make this quilt.
I've been ignoring that fact for far too long.

[All photos credit = Pinterest]

To follow me on Pinterest, just click on the link on my sidebar.  I'm having a lot of fun.  I think you will too :)