Around the World Blog Tour

Monday, December 22, 2014

Good morning friends!  Today I've been asked by Ms. Amy Smart from the blog, Diary of a Quilter to participate in the Around the World Blog Tour.  I just love Amy and I think it's fun getting to know some of the people behind the blogs I love, so I said "yes!"

Top left: Andy   Top right: Amy
Middle: Me!

Amy lives just down the street from me in a neighboring town.  I remember the day we first ran into each other at our local Wal-Mart.  She approached me (I think) and asked if I was Amber and didn't I have a blog?  I really think she was the first person I ever met that also had a blog and also liked quilting!  We've gotten to know each other over the years and she is such an inspiration to me!  Here we are (with our other roommate, Andy Knowlton of the blog, A Bright Corner) at the International Quilt Market a few months ago.

If you don't know Amy she is pretty much the sweetest, most thoughtful person you'll ever meet!  And if this is any indication, she gave Andy and I a little package of goodies for being her roommates at Quilt Market.  Who doesn't love Hi-Chews and Washi Tape?  #bestroommateeveraward

Oh, and did I mention she is super talented and recently published her first book?  These are just a few of the quilts from Fabulously Fast Quilts.  They're all gorgeous but I'm especially in love with the pink and black one below (second from the left).

Amy asked if I'd tell you a little bit about myself.  So here I go!

Hello.  I'm Amber.  I was born in Anaheim, California.  When I was 8 years old I moved to Vancouver, Washington where I was raised.  I moved to Utah in 1997 and married my husband in 1998.  My mother is a really good seamstress but I never really had a desire to sew until after I got married.  My husband was traveling a lot and I needed a hobby to fill my time.  I was living near my grandmother who was an avid quilter so one day I spontaneously asked her if she would teach me how to quilt.  I drew up a sketch of what I wanted and it ended up taking me 3 years to finish - LOL!  But after that, I was hooked!

So I started quilting in 1999, started blogging in 2008 and published my first quilt pattern in 2009.  My little pattern business (Gigi's Thimble) is named after my grandmother.  2014 was a big year for me because I published my first book called, Vintage Vibe: Traditional Quilts, Fresh Fabrics.

I think that title captures my style perfectly.  Influenced by grandmother who taught me how to quilt but loving the modern fabrics of today.  I just can't help but combine the two!  

My favorite part of the quilt-making process is fabric selection and I LOVE scrappy quilts!  This classic orange peel mini quilt is one of my favorite completed projects from 2014.  And see, it's a design that's been around forever, but the low volume + bright fabric combo is so popular on blogs and Instagram right now.

I've been so busy finishing things now that the book is over but I did manage to start a few new projects recently.  

Mercury Paper Piecing Block 

A "Plus Quilt" for my husband.   

And I need to give more attention to my Pineapple Block Quilt that I started earlier this year.  I'm planning some fun applique for the borders.

My design process usually starts with a spark of inspiration.  Then I usually just dive in and start playing around with fabrics and making blocks.  Graph paper is my friend and I do use a quilting computer software program called EQ7 a little bit too.  But nothing beats seeing the actual blocks to tell you how a quilt needs to come together.  

One of my new patterns from 2014 called Cross Stitch

I design because I enjoy the process of trying to come up with something unique - an alternative layout or putting colors in a different place to completely change the look of the quilt.  I've come to really love the math side of designing, as well as, trying to write patterns that are clear and concise.

A few random facts about me:
1. I have two kids (a boy and a girl) and a dog named Molly.
2. I looooove soccer.  It's my other favorite hobby.  I'm a total soccer mom and even enjoyed a short stint of playing indoor soccer, myself, a couple of years ago (which would have given anyone that knows me well - the biggest laugh).
3. I'm all about treats.  Dessert everyday is a must.
4. I'm a runner (gotta work off those dessert calories :)  I've done a couple of half marathons and am thinking of attempting a full marathon in 2015.
5. The ocean freaks me out - especially whales.

So friends, that's enough about me!  I think I'll stop talking your ear off now but I do want to tag my friend Amanda Herring from the blog, The Quilted Fish to continue the Around the World Blog Tour.

I met Amanda when we were both asked to teach at a local quilt retreat.  We met for lunch and I knew I had a lot I could learn from her.  She encouraged me to go to the International Quilt Market a few years ago when it was in Salt Lake City.  She's been a great mentor to me and if I can ever have even a tenth of her creativity and skills I will be a happy woman.  

Amanda began designing quilting patterns in 2008 under the name The Quilted Fish.  In 2010 she started designing fabric for Riley Blake Designs, and to date has ten fabric lines with them.  Amanda loves to create new things, but is even more passionate about helping others see their creative potential.  Her goal is to make the world a better place, one creative person at a time.  Stop by The Quilted Fish next week to learn more about Amanda.

~ Amber

Brittany's Quilt

Friday, December 19, 2014

I recently gave this quilt to my dear friend and sister-in-law, Brittany, for her birthday (and for being such a cheerleader throughout my book/author endeavors).  She's a quilter too so I thought this would be the perfect way to thank her.

I used a couple of 5" charm packs that I had in my stash to make the blocks.
It's the first quilt I've made using just solids.  It was fun to step out of my box and Brittany seems to like things that are simple, modern (and a little bit fun and funky) so as I was working on it Brittany's name kept running through my head.  

Cathy Barney quilted it for me.  She let me pick out the edge-to-edge quilting pattern from  Karlee's designs are really modern and original.  I fell in love with lots of them but finally decided on this design called, Marbled Cake.  I thought Brittany would like it too :)

It was also the first time I've done a white binding!  Some people might say that's a no-no.  But I wanted to keep things modern and fresh.  And I think it helps to keep the focus on the blocks themselves.  That's the thing I love about quilting - the freedom to explore with color and layout.  The possibilities are endless and there aren't a lot of rules.

So I hope Brittany likes it!?!  I saw it displayed in her family room the other day with some of her other cute quilts so at least it "made the cut" :)

And this view.  I just had to share.  It's pretty much in my back yard.  Isn't it beautiful?  Now it's sprinkled with snow (but just as gorgeous).

On a different note, I hope you've been able to check out the Vintage Vibe Blog Tour stops this week.  My two friends (and roomies at Quilt Market) are posting!  Andy from the blog, A Bright Corner posted HERE about her favorite quilt in the book, Dashing.  And Amy from the blog, Diary of a Quilter will be posting later today about one of my favorite quilts in the book (and I heard she's making some blocks or a mini for it so I can't wait to see what she comes up with!)

Thanks for stopping by my little piece of Blogland today.
I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!
~ Amber

Pretty Petals Pillow Class, Trunk Show & Book Signing

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I just wanted to take a few minutes to let all of you local Utah people know about two of my upcoming events.  

First, this Saturday from 10-11 a.m. I'll be doing a trunk show and book signing at Just Sew in Highland, Utah.  I'll be talking about all the projects in Vintage Vibe and my journey in becoming an author.  There will also be refreshments and sales throughout the store!  It should be a fun time.  I do hope you'll come!

Also, I'm excited to announce that I'll be teaching a two-part class on my Pretty Petals Pillow (featured on the cover of Vintage Vibe).  If you've ever wanted to learn how to make a Dresden Plate and a quilted, envelope-style pillow ~ this is a great time to try!  Here are the class details:

Dates: Tuesday, January 6, 10 a.m. to Noon and
Tuesday, January 27, 10 a.m. to Noon
Place: Just Sew in Highland, UT
Cost: $30 + supplies

Click HERE to register.  Space is limited!

Also, be sure to stop by Pam's blog for her stop on the Vintage Vibe Blog Tour today where she's featuring one of her favorite projects from the book!  I've been following her blog and Instagram account for quite a while now and it was such a treat to meet her at Quilt Market in October.  She is seriously the sweetest, most down to earth (and not to mention super talented!) person I know! 

Happy quilting ya'll!
~ Amber

Growing Up (Baby Quilt) - Finished!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

 Last weekend, I needed some serious sewing time as a reward for hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my house.  Dinner involved 27 people plus several more for dessert.  It was fun but seriously exhausting!  Hopefully I've done my duty though and can just relax now for the next decade!  Haha! I have a feeling that won't be the case :)  So I'm doing a poll, what size group do YOU usually have?  Is 27+ a big or small group?

Anyways, since it was a holiday weekend, my first priority was fun family time.  But I really wanted to get this quilt top basted, machine quilted and bound.  So, I did what I often do and I made a plan.  My plan was to quilt one row of blocks each day.  It still took about an hour or two to do just that, but I felt that my husband and kids were happy to watch football and play games on their own for at least that much time.

I love, love, love straight line quilting so that's what I decided to do on this baby version of my pattern, Growing Up from my book, Vintage Vibe.  The edges on these petals were turned under using the freezer paper method and then machine appliqued on using invisible thread.  My book gives thorough instructions for my whole method and the tools I use.

Some people have been asking (on Instagram) how I quilt around the petals and do I have to start and stop when I get to them?  The answer is no.  Usually I go back and forth between two petals, travelling along the edges of each petal as I move to the next line.  I use the edge of my walking foot as a guide for spacing.

On Monday, I bound it and then threw it in the wash with a few Shout Color Catchers (which I've talked about HERE and HERE).  

Washed, dried, wrinkly and ever so soft = the perfect kind of quilt!

If you want to see more projects from Vintage Vibe, you can follow some of my favorite quilty friends on the Vintage Vibe Blog Tour!  
Click HERE for the schedule.  

My good friend Jodi Nelson of the blog, Pleasant Home posted Tuesday about Big Baby and my new friend, Melissa from the blog, Happy Quilting is posting today about Twirl!   Be sure to check them out.  They've made some really cute blocks and quilts to go along with the projects!

Happy quilting!
~ Amber