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

6 Fabric Selection Tips

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Today I'm guest posting over at Martingale's blog and sharing a little video about fabric selection.  (And if you decide to head over and check it out, I MUST warn you that I am the most awkward person EVER when I get in front of a lens.  I think I try not to be too hyper and then I come across on the other end of the spectrum.  Oh, so embarrassing!  I know I could never be an actress!)

So, fabric selection, do you love it or hate it?  

I love it!  But from my many years of working in a fabric store, I've learned that many quilters are overwhelmed with that part of the quilt-making process.  If you fall into that category, use the following tips to give you more confidence at the start of your next project.

Tip #1:  Gather inspiration!

Find one article of clothing, a piece of artwork or a piece of fabric that speaks to you!  Use that as your starting off point.  As I tried to re-create my Growing Up quilt (from my new book, Vintage Vibe) in a different color-way, I used this vinyl wall decal that I purchased from Target as my inspiration piece.

Tip #2: Pull colors, style or graphics 
from your inspiration piece.   

Because I already had a quilt pattern to use, I didn't need to pull graphics for the design part of this project.  But I did want to use the wall decal as my color inspiration.  I decided to focus primarily on the black, white, pinks, and gold in the decal.  I felt that by sticking with those colors I was staying more true to my inspiration piece.  After some debating I chose to use grey for the stems on this quilt (as opposed to green) because I wanted to keep it classy and modern.  Using green would have completely changed the look of this quilt by the way.  Try to imagine it!  

Tip #3: Audition and eliminate fabrics.

Go through the possible fabric candidates and decide whether you love them or hate them.  Make sure they have the right "feel" (are you going for modern, traditional, etc.) and make sure you like the color.  Many people worry about whether or not a particular fabric is a "perfect" match.  My rule of thumb is that if you don't notice in the first few seconds of looking at it, then it's fine!  I think it adds depth and personality to have some variation!

Tip #4: Create balance.

It's okay to use different shades of one color as long as they are used repetitively throughout the quilt.  Having that color pop up here and there will create balance.

Tip #5: Give your eyes a place to rest.

I LOVE scrappy quilts!  I love using as many different fabrics that I can in a quilt!  The more the merrier, in my opinion.  But I never want my block pattern to get lost.  So, it's important to have one unifying piece of fabric in your quilt (whether it's your background fabric or using at least one solid).  It gives a quilt "order", freshness and really lets your blocks sing!  And, I love having contrast.  Contrast is always good.  

Tip #6: Love it?  Then use it!

Everyone of us has a different personality and I believe our quilts should reflect that.  Be unique, be you and don't be afraid to think outside the box!  If you love a particular fabric or color then use it!  It'll bring you happiness every time you see it and you can't beat that!  Also, do some research!  I love to go to my Pinterest boards to see what images I'm drawn to and then I study them to see exactly what it is about them that I love!  You'll learn a lot along the way too but trust your instincts!

If you follow these simple tips you're sure to put together something wonderful and I hope you now feel more confident to put together beautiful quilts inspired by things you love!

The Growing Up quilt pattern is available in my new book, Vintage Vibe.
Head on over to Martingale's blog today where you can enter to win your very own e-copy!

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Another Vintage Vibe Quilt

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Shhh... don't tell anyone.

But I am completely (completely!) obsessed 
with my friend, Aniva's yellow and white Vintage Vibe quilt.

Aniva used the same long-arm quilter that I used for my aqua and white Vintage Vibe quilt so she was able to use the same fabulous design!  It was a design that I spied on Pinterest one day on an antique, hand-quilted, two-color quilt (which you can see HERE).  I asked my quilter (Kaylene Parry in Lehi, Utah) if she could do that same design with her long-arm machine. She had a friend tweak it just a little (so as not to infringe on any copyright laws) and then the friend digitized the pattern so Kaylene could quilt it as an edge-to-edge pattern.  I'm absolutely in loooove with it!

And the yellow?  With the colorful, floral back?  
Obsessed.  Obsessed, I tell ya.

Hope that inspires you today :)

This pattern is available in my new book, 
Vintage Vibe: Traditional Quilts, Fresh Fabrics
available HERE.

P.S., There's another stop on the Vintage Vibe Blog Tour today.
Be sure to stop by Corey Yoder's blog (Little Miss Shabby) to check it out!  She's sharing another project from Vintage Vibe.

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Simply Strings Winner + Vintage Vibe Stuff

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thanks to all of you for entering the giveaway for the book, Simply Strings by Rana Heredia.  It was fun reading how all of you cut, organize and store your fabric scraps.  It sounds like I've got a long ways to go in the organization department now!  I'm not sure if my cute little jars are going to cut it anymore!

I want to say congratulations to the winner of Simply Strings.  Maryjo, I sent you an email!  Please send me your mailing address.  You've got a fabulous book coming your way!  Congratulations and thanks again to everyone for playing along!  And if you're crying, heartbroken or angry that you didn't win this giveaway, just remember, everything's going to be okay!  
You can click HERE to purchase your very own copy :)

So are you guys following along on the Vintage Vibe blog tour?  I can hardly stand waiting for the Tuesday and Thursday postings!  So much fun!  

Did you see Jessie Finchman's cute Rainy Day block from last Thursday?  I didn't post that day to remind you but it is SO CUTE!  You'll have to check it out (plus, I saw that she's doing a giveaway - woot! woot!!)  I always love Jessie's fabric choices.  She's inspired me for a long time and I feel so lucky to have her on the tour :)

And another group of ladies that I'm super happy to have on the tour ~  The Fat Quarter Shop!  They're posting today about their favorite project in the book and doing a little giveaway!  Be sure to stop by! 

I'm hoping to get some sewing time in today.
But first, I've got to get the post office.  Vintage Vibe books are finally being sent out (after a little loading dock delay) plus I've restocked my Etsy Shop with more Pineapple Block paper piecing patterns so I've been a busy girl the last few days.  Sew for me okay!?!?

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Simply Strings Book Review + Giveaway!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

At the International Quilt Market a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Rana Heredia.  She is the author of Simply Strings, a fabulous new book geared towards using up scraps.

I was quite taken with her book because, well, the scraps seem to be never ending around here.  So using them up is a concept I can get behind!

I like to keep my scraps in jars, as many of you know.  I divide them up by color into 6 different jars.  The colors I use the most are in these large jars.  I also have 3 smaller jars just like them with yellows and oranges, blacks and greys, and browns.

I like many of the projects in Simply Strings.  There are a few that I could see myself making, such as this one (below) called, Organic.  I've been itching to do a bit of improve piecing (since I've never really done it before).  I think this pattern is perfect for that, yet there is still some order to the overall pattern.

Twinkle Toes is another one of the projects that I've got my eye on.  I'm thinking I may have to make this with bright scraps for the stars and low volume scraps (pieced in the same manner) for the background.  Wouldn't that be cute?!?

These look really fun.  I think the patterns in Simply Strings are a great way to empty out some of my jars - and make room for more scraps!  'Cause you know there will be more - LOL!

Rana was so kind to GIVE me not one, but two copies of Simply Strings and I would looove to give one away to one of you, my quilty friends!

So let's do a giveaway okay?  Leave a comment below telling me how you organize your scraps and I'll pick a winner later this week.

You can stop by Rana's website, Sewn Into The Fabric, to see more photos from her book or to purchase your own copy of Simply Strings.

Also, be sure to stop by April Rosenthal's blog today for the next stop on my VINTAGE VIBE Blog Tour. A little birdie told me she's doing a giveaway too!  

Happy quilting!
~ Amber


Thursday, November 6, 2014

 Well, it's about that time folks.
My new book, VINTAGE VIBE is shipping to stores any day now!  
So, let's have some fun, shall we? 
It's time for a VINTAGE VIBE Blog Tour!!!

I've got some really amazing quilty friends sharing different projects from the book every Tuesday and Thursday in November and December (except holidays).  I hope you'll join in the fun!

I'm going to kick things off with the very first project, Skipper.

[Image credit: Martingale, Brent Kane]

Skipper puts a little twist on the very traditional Flying Geese block.  This quilt comes together quickly and it's perfect for beginners!
The fabric line I used in the book is called Out To Sea by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics.  The whole thing just kind of screams "boy" to me.

But what if we changed things up a bit?

I've been dying to see what this pattern would look like made up in some girly fabrics from my stash.  And well, I think it works.  Don't you?

I started making these the other day and I didn't want to stop!  My little pile of Skipper Blocks kept growing and growing!  Now, I'm just trying to decide if I need to make a whole other quilt...or just a table runner?  Hmmm.  Decisions, decisions...

So, as you can see, there's lots of fun to be had with VINTAGE VIBE.  
This is just the beginning!

I do hope you'll tour around with me and the rest of my quilty friends 
on the VINTAGE VIBE Blog Tour.  And hey, who knows?  There might even be a few fun surprises along the way :)

Here's the schedule:

11/11/14 - April @
11/18/14 - The Fat Quarter Shop @
DATE CHANGE! 11/24/14 - Sherri @
12/11/14 - Heather @
12/16/14 - Andy @
12/23/14 - Melissa @

P.S.  For those interested, 
you can get your autographed copy of VINTAGE VIBE HERE :)

Happy quilting!