Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Quilty Fun Turns One!

And to celebrate,
Lori Holt created the most darling birthday block!

When I saw it, I knew I just HAD to make one too!

It was so much fun to make and came together so quickly.
I seriously spent more time picking out fabrics 
than I did on the cutting and piecing.

I'm still debating how I want to finish this little cutie 
but for now I just want to say... 

Happy Birthday Quilty Fun!  It's been a fabulous year!
I ♥ my Apple-licious quilt and my Quilty Fun Sampler! 
(which is almost bound - pictures coming soon :)

If you haven't had the chance to get your own copy of Quilty Fun, 
it's not too late!  It's available HERE from the Fat Quarter Shop. 

Happy quilting everyone!
~ Amber

Click HERE for the instructions 
to Lori Holt's birthday block.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

My Book, Vintage Vibe: Traditional Quilts, Fresh Fabrics

 You guys, things have been very exciting around here lately.

When one copy of my new book, 
Vintage Vibe: Traditional Quilts, Fresh Fabrics 
landed on my doorstep last Friday evening, there was a nervous, excited feeling that I hadn't known before.  I opened the package and eyed it - from a distance - for about an hour.  Every few minutes I would stop back by the book and squeal, pet it, flip it over (there may have even been a little bit of jumping up and down and clapping).  But I couldn't open it.  I was frozen with anticipation.  My husband was on his way home from a business trip.  My children were at friends' houses.  I had to share the excitement with someone so I called my mom.  She finally convinced me to open it and then listened as I described every detail to her. 

This book has been a two year project (me: working on the quilts and instructions for one year and my publisher: editing, editing, photographing and more editing for the second year).  I'm thrilled with how it turned out and am so thankful to the amazing crew at Martingale Publishing.  They have been so fabulous to work with!!!

This book is full of 14 bold projects, tid-bits about the inspiration behind the projects, beautiful photography, quilt making basics, tips on fabric selection and lots, lots more.

One of my favorite quilts in the book (okay, let's be honest, I LOVE them all!)  But one of the most unique quilts in the book AND the namesake behind the book itself, is this 2-color quilt called Vintage Vibe.  

It was inspired by this cover of a home decor catalog I received in the mail.  It's one example of what you'll find in this book ~ the quilts, the stories behind them and hopefully a new appreciation for the little things in your lives that can inspire your own projects!  

The quilting on Vintage Vibe is amazing!  Kaylene Parry in Lehi, Utah quilted it for me (in fact she quilted several of the projects in the book.  I use her a lot and she always does a fantastic job!)

I was also blessed to have Natalia Bonner from Piece 'N Quilt quilt four of the projects in the book, including the cover quilt and pillow, this black and white quilt (above) and the Rainy Day Table Runner (below).  She is amazing and it was so fun to meet and collaborate with her!

You guys, all of the quilting in this book is amazing!!!  You're sure to be inspired!  And the great thing is, I share lots of specific tips in the book about long-arm quilting ideas and how to get great results from your quilter!

The projects in Vintage Vibe range in skill level.  There's a little something in there for everyone.  Including 3 different types of applique, different methods for making Half Square Triangles and how to make both classic and new blocks alike!

I wish I could share with you all the projects, and the inspiration and stories behind the projects but you'll just have to get one to see.  I (think?!?) it will definitely be a fun and inspiring read, along with lots of eye candy and fun projects to make.

If you want to pre-order an autographed copy today, click HERE.
Vintage Vibe: Traditional Quilts, Fresh Fabrics
Coming November 4th.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Playful Petals Blog Tour

Today I'm thrilled to be another stop on 
Corey Yoder's Playful Petals Blog Tour!

I was super excited when Corey asked me to participate.  I've been swooning over her beautiful creations on Instagram for some time now and her new book, Playful Petals, really caught my attention as I am OBSESSED with the petal shape right now!  After checking out my e-copy (courtesy of C&T Publishing) I was highly impressed!  The book is beautiful inside and out.  Just filled to the brim with lots of eye candy and Corey's use of color is really inspiring! 

Her book includes tons of fabulous tips on fusible applique.  She walks you through every step of the way and includes lots of great photos and options to help you become a confident appliquer.  She also includes a great section on quilt making basics, fabric selection and using pre-cuts.  I also love the fact that each of the 9 beautiful quilt projects featured in Playful Petals has a coordinating mini project!  

There were several projects in the book that I wanted to make but in the end, I couldn't resist the Rainbow Petals Pillow.  You can see Corey's version (above) which she made up in some super cute vintagy florals.  I was really taken to the sweet prints and colors she used but I decided to use up some left over Joel Dewberry charm squares I had laying around (plus a few more scraps from my stash) to make this version:

It adds a fun pop of color to my family room and I guess it's fun to see it in a more modern, darker color way.

It was really fun to make and I hope to find time to try some of the other projects in Playful Petals.

Thanks to all of you for stopping by today.  I do hope you'll check out the other stops on this blog tour to see more beautiful projects from Playful Petals.

September 15: Amy @   http://www.stitcherydickorydock.com/
September 16: Melissa @ http://www.happyquiltingmelissa.com/
September 17: Jessica @ http://quiltyhabit.blogspot.com/
September 18: Faith @ http://www.freshlemonsquilts.com/
September 19: Amy @ http://www.diaryofaquilter.com/
~Break for Weekend~
September 22: Sherri @ http://www.aquiltinglife.com/
September 25: Amanda @ http://crazymomquilts.blogspot.com/
September 26: Lee @ http://www.freshlypieced.com/
September 27: Corey @ http://www.littlemissshabby.com Final Round-up & Giveaway

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Monday, September 8, 2014

Scrappy Trip Around The World [Finish]

If you would have asked me mid-process about this quilt, 
I would have told you it was my "ugly quilt".

Somehow, when I first started this Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt (just over a year ago), I got the "brilliant" idea that I was going to use reds, golds, teals, blacks, whites and gray.  And then after I got going I wondered how I ever got on that kick?!?  Kind of a weird color combo, right?  Regret was starting to seep in but I kept plugging away at my 36 blocks.  And in the end, I like it.  It's kind of funky. And happy.

I quilted it myself using this tutorial from the blog Oh, Fransson!  
There was no marking involved so it's not perfect.  But overall I think it works. 

This quilt was definitely a lesson on letting go.  The method used for piecing the blocks may not be the best for ensuring complete accuracy but it's fun and worth trying out.  The tutorial can be found HERE on the blog, Quiltville.

I decided to keep the funk going and added a black and white 1/2" wide striped binding and I love it!

So lesson learned.  If your gut tells you to do something - go with it.  
You may be pleasantly surprised in the end.

~ Happy quilting

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Fat Quarter Shop's Coffee Koozie Tutorial

I'm not a coffee or tea drinker but I do love me some yummy hot chocolate with a big dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon!  Another hot beverage I can't resist ~ Vanilla Steamers from Starbucks with an extra shot of vanilla! With the autumn months fast approaching, I know I'll be treating myself to these kinds of drinks more often so I was excited to try out The Fat Quarter Shop's new Coffee Koozie tutorial!

I whipped up one Koozie in about 30 minutes and couldn't help but think what a cute (and thoughtful) gift this could be for a neighbor or teacher!  Wouldn't it be great to just show up on a friend's door step (or at the bus stop!) with a warm cup of cocoa and a handmade Koozie!?!

It's inexpensive, handmade and fabulous for using up scraps!  I used leftovers from my new Marbles quilt pattern (fabric line = Rustique by Emily Herrick for Michael Miller).

Be sure to stop by The Fat Quarter Shop to get the free pattern and check out their YouTube video to see just how quickly this little Koozie comes together!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Applique - The Freezer Paper Method

There are many different methods of applique and they're all good for different reasons.  Today, I'm happy to share with you a quick tutorial on my favorite method of applique ~ The Freezer Paper Method!  This is the method I use 95% of the time and I like it for several different reasons.

Two of the main reasons I prefer this method over other methods 
is because:

1. The template is removed once the applique shape is prepared.
This is nice because there is no paper or other material left inside that needs to somehow be removed or is just left there 
to cause stiffness and bulk.

2. The shape is perfectly prepared before glue basting it in place.
This is nice because (A) you don't have to fiddle with and hope that you're needle turning skills will do the job and keep your shape looking as it should and (B) you can then position the shapes exactly where you want them and don't have to worry about your pieces shifting.

One downside to The Freezer Paper Method, is that it does require some prep work (but I don't really mind - my OCD tendencies like that part!)  Once you get your shapes prepared you are then able to take them with you in the car or or to a soccer game (or wherever!) and you're free to stitch away along the perfectly crisp edges you've already prepared.

So are you ready to try it out?

To get started you will need:

- Freezer Paper (which you can get at most grocery stores.  It is located by the wax paper and foil.)
- Spray Starch (I prefer the Faultless brand that you can get at most grocery stores.  I prefer the Regular Starch with the red lid but my store was out of it last time I checked.)
- a paint brush
- a small bowl or the starch lid
- a pencil
- scissors for paper and fabric
- basting glue (I prefer Appli-Glue by Jillily Studios)
- a pattern
- fabric for the applique shape and the background
- thread that matches the applique piece (I usually use 100% cotton, the Guitermann brand.  Some people prefer silk thread (it's nice too because it practically melts into your fabric but I've heard it's not as durable.)
- an applique needle (I use Milliners Size 11 Large Eye Needles by Richard Hemming & Son).

Step 1: Trace your pattern onto the paper side of freezer paper.

Step 2: Iron the freezer paper on top of two more pieces of freezer paper (paper sides up) to create one sturdy piece of template material.

3. Carefully cut out the shape.

4. Press the shape onto the wrong side of your fabric with paper side up.

5. Cut around the shape leaving a 1/4" - 3/8" seam allowance.

6. Spray a little bit of starch into a small bowl or the starch lid.

7. Use a small paint brush to paint some liquid starch onto the seam allowance.  Just paint a couple inches at a time.

8. Carefully press the seam allowance onto the paper side of the template - wrapping the fabric around the edge of the template (without bumping the template too much where it would bend or distort the shape).  If your shape has a strong curve to it you may want to make some small clips in the seam allowance about 1/2" apart (being careful NOT to clip right up to the template).  My orange leaf (here) has a gentle curve so it was not necessary to clip the seam allowance. Also, if your shape has a crevice (such as at the top of a heart) you will need to clip in there too.

9. Continue to press the seam allowance around the entire template.

10. If you end up with these little dog ears, simply fold the part that is showing back underneath the template and press in place.  Use starch for extra hold.

11. Carefully remove the template and press the applique piece one last time. 

12. Apply small dots of basting glue about 1/4" apart on the seam allowances.

13. Adhere the applique shape onto your background fabric and press with a warm iron to set in place.

14. Thread a thin, sharp needle with coordinating thread.  Make a quilter's knot at the long end.

15. Starting at the backside of your fabric, bring the needle and thread through the background fabric (under your applique shape) and out through the fold of your applique shape.

16. Then take one stitch through the background fabric (starting directly under the point where your needle came out before).  Bring the needle and thread back through the fold of your applique shape about 1/8" away from the first stitch.  Continue taking these stitches around your shape until you get back to your starting point. Tie a knot on the backside of your fabric and you're done!

That's it!  I hope that if you have never tried applique (or don't think you're very good at it) you will try this method.  Practice makes perfect!  And coordinating thread sure helps too!

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Friday, July 11, 2014

Orange Peel Mini Quilt and a Quilt Along!

Is anyone else obsessed with the Orange Peel design right now?  I have been dreaming of Orange Peel wall paper for my dining room, I just free motion quilted an Orange Peel design on my recently finished Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt (pictures coming soon) and I just started this Orange Peel mini quilt last week!  
I'm obsessed!  Obsessed I tell ya!

So when my boss at Just Sew asked me if I wanted to be in charge of the mini quilt of the month for August and she handed me the book 101 Fabulous Small Quilts by That Patchwork Place and I spied an Orange Peel quilt in it - I knew I just had to make it!  I've always wanted to make one and this was the perfect opportunity.

I decided to do a low-volume, scrappy background with bright fabrics for the leaves.  I've been loving that combo for a while now so I'm pretty excited about finally doing it.

(I had a little helper helping me plan my scrappiness.  She's pretty cute, eh?)

Because I'm on a deadline (this has to be appliqued, pieced, quilted and bound by the end of the month) I've set a goal to applique 8 leaves (or 1 row) every day.  I figure each leaf takes about 10 minutes to applique so it's just over an hour out of my day that I'm dedicating to this project for the next week or so.

I'm already half way done and I'm really loving seeing it come together!

I've posted more pictures of this project on Instagram.  
Feel free to follow along if you'd like.  My username is gigisthimble.  

When I first posted about this project on IG, my friend Jodi Nelson of the blog, Pleasant Home showed some interest in the pattern so I roped her into making an Orange Peel quilt with me.  Be sure to stop by her blog if you haven't already.  She's posting about her Orange Peel quilt today too!  We thought it would be fun to start an Orange Peel Quilt Along but after a little research we found out that Jessica from the blog, Quilty Habit has one going on as we speak!  So Jodi and I are just going to sit back and enjoy the Orange Peel Quilt Along ride!  We hope you'll join us!

Jessica's got great pattern suggestions, applique tutorials, a schedule and there will even be some great prizes given away at the end!  You can click HERE for all the details. 

 Since someone on IG asked for it, I am going to do a tutorial on my favorite method of applique (the same method I'm using on this project).  So be sure to check back next week if you're interested in that.

So...Orange Peel - are you feelin' it?  
Yes or no?

~ Amber