Friday, April 27, 2012

Strike Out! {A New Pattern}

Are you wondering if I am a bowling fanatic?  Well, I'm not (although I do like to get my bowl on once in a while.  I mean come on - who doesn't?)  But this little number isn't just for those of you in a league, it's also for those of you who like quilts that are simplistic, quick to put together and that make a bold statement!


Let me tell you how this idea came to be...

A few years ago I came across a darling little boys room in a Better Homes and Garden "Kids Rooms" magazine.  This particular room was quite the feature with several pages highlighting every detail.  The room had rugby stripes painted around the bottom of the walls.  It was decorated with lots of galvanized steel, painted furniture in muted reds, golds and blues and some vintage game pieces.  Did anyone see that room?  Well, I loved it!  I loved the vintage-retro feel it had.  I loved that it kind of had a theme - without having a theme (if you know what I mean?)  I loved the stripes and I especially loved the vintage bowling pins displayed on the shelves.  That room inspired what is now my 9-year-old son's current bedroom.  You can see a couple of pictures of his room HERE.  Ever since I saw the room in that magazine, I have been wanting to take the idea a step further and use it for a quilt design.  So finally, a few years later, here it is!


Strike Out is so simple and graphic so I wanted to do some really modern, graphic designs for the quilting, as well.  I had one of my favorite quilters (Kaylene Parry in Lehi, UT.) do large cross-hatching on the background, swirls on the bowling pin and ball, and scallops and stripes on the stripes.  I think the quilting turned out great!  Kaylene did a fantastic job! 


I couldn't resist this Circa 1934 number fabric by Cosmo Cricket for Moda for the backing - kinda goes with the bowling theme, I think.  For the binding, I chose this black and grey houndstooth fabric that really pulls in the black and grey of the bowling ball.

Strike Out finishes at 38" x 47".
The perfect size for a crib, nursury or just a throw for your favorite little one.
[Like this little guy - my friends 5-year-old.  Isn't he the cutest?]

If you'd like to enter to win a copy of Strike Out, please leave me a comment below.  I'd love to hear what you think.  Well, actually, I'm nervous to hear what you think.  I think you'll either love it or hate it.  Because I know ~ it has a giant bowling pin/ball on it!  But hopefully it will put a smile on some of your faces.  And I bet, little boys all around the world will really love it :)


  Please leave your contact info and make sure you're a follower.
This giveaway will close Sunday night at midnight.

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Amber

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thank you

I'm glad you like Square Dance.


I love this little charm pack {and pattern} and I'm happy to be able to give it to Julie, who said,

"I love the quilt and the colors and fabrics are perfect for it! I'd love the chance to win. Thanks!"


Congratulations Julie!  I'm glad you like it.  Please send me your address and I will get this sent right off to you :) 

To the rest of you, thank you for playing and for all your sweet comments!  I hope you'll come back again tomorrow because I'm going to introduce another new pattern called Strike Out.  I haven't shared any pictures of it on my blog yet, and I'm nervous to see what you all think :) 

For those of you who can't stand the fact that you didn't win this giveaway and you want to buy your own copy of Square Dance, you can head on over to my shop


Have a wonderful day!  ~ Amber

[P.S.  I'm hoping I can find some time today to trim HST's!  What about you?]

Monday, April 23, 2012

Square Dance {a new pattern}

Oh my gosh.  Am I the biggest slacker, or what?!?
Well.  She's done.  She's finally done!!!
I'd like to introduce you to...


Little squares sashay around big squares in this patchwork quilt design. 
Thus, the name ~ Square Dance.

And as promised back in this post, three of you win a free pattern for suggesting that perfect name!  Ryanamysmom, Kadybug and b davis: if you're listening please send me your snail mail addresses and I will get these patterns in the mail to you!  Thank you sooo much for helping me with the name.  There were so many great ones to pick from.  It was hard to decide :)


Did you know that one quilt challenge and two crayons in a brown paper bag inspired this color scheme?  And lucky for me, tangerine is the 2012 Pantone color of the year!  I love this combination right now!  Isn't it fun?


Square Dance is charm pack friendly, great for beginners and would easily convert to a bigger size quilt.


As is, the finished size is 38" x 54" (crib size).


Whenever I do a new pattern, I try to do a giveaway to celebrate.  Soooo...  I have gone through my scraps and put together one charm pack for one of you (my sweet readers!)  This charm pack has forty 5" squares in almost identical fabrics (there are a few substitutions - think chevrons!)


If you want to win my new pattern (Square Dance) and this lovely set of orange and turquoise charm squares, leave me a comment below.  Make sure you're a follower and be sure to leave some contact info.  I'd love to hear what you think of my new little design.  You have until midnight on Wednesday to enter.  Good luck!

~ Amber

P.S.  There's more information HERE about this quilt.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Red, White and Blue

With Spring Break, a new puppy and tax season coming to a close we have been keeping quite busy around here.  I have snuck in a little sewing time though so I thought I'd share a few projects with you.  Coincidentally they all revolve around red, white and blue...

First, I made a few more of my red and white Farmer's Wife Blocks:


In our FWQ Club, we've started out with the easiest blocks and are progressively moving up to the hardest blocks.  This month's block technique: half square triangles.  I haven't had to use templates for the 12 blocks I've made so far.  Instead, I followed Lori Holt's tutorial for how to make easy half square triangles. 


#12: Broken Sugar Bowl


#16: Calico Puzzle


# 34: Flock


#9: Box


#20: Churn Dash


#21: Contrary Wife

I am having SO much fun making these little 6" blocks!  I've got 12 down and 99 more to go!  Ha!


A couple other projects:

The other day, my mom and I made new ironing board covers using my friend's really simple method.  We each made ours in about 10 minutes.  I was so excited since this was my first attempt at making one and it turned out to be so easy!  I called it the lazy man's ironing board cover pattern, but my mom suggested we call it the busy woman's ironing board cover so I think we'll go with that!

Also, over the last week, I've made LOTS of progress on my red, white and blue Scrap Jar Stars quilt.  There's still much more to be done, but I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  With a total of 42 blocks it's taking me a while!  Here's the math: 336 half square triangles, 42 sixteen patches and 168 corner blocks.  I can't believe I'm actually sticking with it (sometimes I wonder what the heck I got myself into!?!)  But by trying to get one step done every day (or every couple of days) I am seeing it come together.


I picked up a few new fabrics the other day.  This time I focused on blues/navys.  Does anyone else think good blues are hard to find? 


I sure LOVE this honeycomb pattern by Robert Kauffman [#12033] right now.  It makes me happy.

Anyways, thanks for stopping by.
Happy Quilting everyone!
~ Amber

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sew Inspiring Rooms {Pretty By Hand}

Welcome to


A few months ago I fell in love with all the gorgeousness going on over at the blog, Pretty By Hand.  It was new to me and I instantly became a follower.  So a month or so ago I asked Kristyne (the author of all that gorgeousness) if she would be a guest for my Sew Inspiring Rooms series.  I just knew that if she was creating all that gorgeousness that she was sure to have a beautiful space to go along with it.  And of course, I was right.  And lucky for us, she is super sweet and agreed to my request.  Kristyne, thank you for being willing to share your creative space with us!  Now over to you...

♥ ♥ ♥

Well hello there!  May I just start off by saying how absolutely thrilled I am that Amber asked me to be a guest here on her lovely blog!?!  This is my first guest blogging gig so I hope I don't embarrass myself (tee hee)
It was a very timely invitation from Amber asking me to share my sewing room/workpsace with you because I was just finishing up a little makeover.  I'm not exactly the tidiest of souls but lucky for me my room was already looking like I was expecting the Queen.  I tend to have several projects on the go simultaneously ... all at different stages of completion so there are usually lots of "piles" and messes and just general untidiness everywhere you turn.
But I don't think Amber asked me here to expose myself as a closet clutterbug!  LOL!  So let me show you around my sewing room as it never looks in real life but how I WISH it would stay looking like forever. 
I spend a lot of time right here, like right this very minute as I'm tying these words ...

at my desk.

And BTW, in the interest of full disclosure, while it's true I drink several cups of tea in a day, I NEVER bother to use "the good china" ... I always serve myself with an old, chippy, faded Disney mug.  But my real life mug didn't work for this makeover photo shoot.  And besides, if you really were here I would DEFINITELY serve you tea with the good china!

This desk, chairs and lamp all came from a very talented friend of mine who refurbishes furniture and other pretty things.

I also got this beautiful chandelier a few years ago from her.  I think it just might be my favorite thing in here!

And yes, this mirror too.

I'm also really fortunate to have a nice window to let in tons of natural light.

I dressed it up with a lace panel for privacy but to let in as much light as possible.


Here's where I get all my sewing done.  This table was a wedding gift made by my uncle and used to be our kitchen table until we moved and our new kitchen was too small for it. ;)

I feel particularly smug when I need a ruler and can actually find it hanging here on a nail I PERSONALLY installed. ;)  (I'm not usually very good with guy tools ... just needles and thread.)

And those garbage cans from Ikea hold a lot of ... stuff!
I recently recovered both my ironing and sleeve board in coordinating fabrics.

And of course, what would a sewing room be without a beautiful and inspiring fabric stash?


So that's it.  It's a small room.  But it functions really well for me and I love working in it.

Thank you so much Amber for giving me a chance to share my space with your lovely readers.  I hope you all enjoyed a peak into my "Sew Inspired Room".

♥ ♥ ♥

I don't know about the rest of you, but I will definitely be running out to buy some fabric in these beautiful soft, girly colors because man, that color pallet is just so lovely.  What a heavenly space, Kristyne!  Thank you for sharing!

Please leave Kristyne some comment love below, telling how great she did at her first guest posting gig and how Sew Inspiring her space is :) 

And P.S.  If you want to see other "Sew Inspiring Rooms"  click HERE.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Shop is ~ FULL.


My little Etsy shop is growing.  There's lot of eye-candy over there right now and I'm kind of excited about it all.

I've listed a few kits that I'm pretty sure I'm going to regret selling.   They're fun and I think you might want to check them out.  One kit includes fabric autographed by The Heather Bailey to yours truly
(I'm not sure if that excites anyone else but it was a pretty great day when I met her and she signed my Pop Garden panel.  Ahh...such good memories...)  

Also, if you're interested in getting a sneak-peak of my next three patterns then head on over to the shop and check them out!  Right now, I am taking pre-orders.  They will be ready to ship no later than April 17th.  I'll be posting about them here in the next day or two but if your curiosity is getting the best of you then head on over.  And if you want to drop me a line about what you think about them ~ I'd love to hear it!  (I think.  Eeek!) 

There may be a few more things going up in the shop over the next few days.  I'm cleaning house a little bit.  Trying to simplify.

Enjoy.
Amber

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sew Inspiring Rooms {Jibberish Designs}


 

Welcome to

I'd like to welcome Irelle Beatie here today.  She has a wonderful sewing studio that I know you'll find Sew Inspiring!

***

I recently found a great blog written by Amber at A Little Bit Biased. She has so many great things on her blog and also does a weekly series called Sew Inspiring Rooms. One of her posts asked for other bloggers to contact her about doing a guest post for that series so - here I am. My name is Irelle Beatie and I blog at Jibberish Designs. I am new to blogging but a long time quilter. I have a FABULOUS sewing space that I want to share with you.

I know I'm spoiled. I have a great, LARGE quilt studio to enjoy while I pursue my quilting passion. I'm going to give you a tour of what it looks like now. But before the tour begins, let's look at where it came from. First "BEFORE" picture taken in 2003 when I bought my condo. It was a child's room complete with border, yellow walls and animals.


I rented this room to a roommate for 4 years and then turned it into my home office. I work from home as an insurance underwriter so having a separate room for a home office seemed like a good idea. Here it is in a wide angle shot.

 

I quilted years ago when my children were small but just picked it up again 2 years ago. At first I only bought fabric for projects and didn't have a stash. Fast forward a year and my stash was taking all the available space in my office SO....... I moved my office to the living room and now I have this great sewing
space! So let's take a tour.

  

I have an L-shaped sewing table formed by a 6 foot portable table purchased at OSH and my Janome 6600 table. I utilize the walls on my right and behind me for thread storage, a ruler holder and idea boards. I like to have the table pretty free of clutter so I'm a big fan of vertical storage.

 

The magnetic strip on the left holds these great little tins that are perfect for pins, safety pins, needles and buttons - an Ikea find in their kitchen department. Next to that is my thread holder for my Aurifil thread. I bought a larger magnetic board from Ikea that has two magnetic pencil holders for marking tools and space to put quilt inspiration photos above my secondary thread holder. Above that is my ruler storage and a bulletin board for notes and more inspiration.

 

I use the space behind my chair to hang buckets for scraps and a basket for my many pairs of reading glasses as I'm always leaving them someplace and with extra pairs within reach, I don't have to get up and look for them. I also have a metal basket for scissors and the black organizer in the middle holds supplies that go with me to quilt retreats and classes but is easily accessible when I'm home. The shelf above is not very effective right now but holds baskets and other accessories.

My stash is a bit overwhelming but oh so fun! I LOVE FABRIC!! My theory is that stamp collectors don't use their stamps and coin collectors don't spend their coins so I am a Fabric COLLECTOR. I do use it but I also just like to look at it. It makes me happy! I have various sizes and shapes of shelving units that work well for fat quarters - baskets or DVD shelves; large pieces of yardage - shelves and bins and 1/2 yard and one yard cuts that work nicely in stacks on my shelves. This wall holds MOST of my stash. The two shelving units on the left are from Ikea :) After I did a post about this space on my blog, one of the comments suggested that I try using the mini bolts to store my fabric. You can see that I have started the transition in the photo on the right. I think this might work for me!


Now to one of the favorite parts of my room. When I first did a post on my sewing space, this is what my big board sewing station looked like.


I decided that the space under the Big Board was wasted by using an ironing board SO I went to Ikea and looked for something that would work to put my big board on but provide more storage for my never ending stash. I found a fabulous pine buffet table in the dining room section for about $80 and it works perfectly! Shelves for more storage and just the right height for my Big Board. So this is what it looks like now.

 

I found this great cubby cabinet on Pottery Barn that I thought would be great Fat Quarter Storage and it looks so cute above my ironing station. It has most of my newest fat quarter collections and a couple of jelly rolls.

 

The opposite wall from my sewing station is my cutting station and my disappearing design wall over the closet. Since I have such a large room, I have the luxury of a cutting station. I inherited the cutting table when my local quilt shop closed and the owner needed a place for the table. I was happy to
 accommodate her request :)


I have the cutting table below my bookshelf of quilting books and binders that store patterns. I have each pattern in a plastic sleeve in the binder and separate binders for quilt patterns, bags and purses and home dec.


My design wall pulls down over the closet door and I must admit it is down more than it is up. When it is not in use, it rolls up under the shelf which is nice. But I use it so frequently that it is almost always down with a project on it. Current project is a commission wedding quilt with message blocks
 surrounded by purple and gold.

 

The final wall in the room is the large window, TV and computer station. This built-in was my original sewing space when the room was still an office but now is just used for my computer and accumulating clutter. You see it on a clean day.

 

So now you've seen the whole room. The size of the room is about 12 x 15 so it is a great space. I spend alot of time in this room designing patterns and making quilts and banners and purses and bags. Many happy hours are spent here in the evenings after work. BUT - I'm moving! My new sewing space will be 14 x 17 but I lose the built-in and have openings and closets in odd places so it will be interesting to see how the new space comes together. I have a couple of more months to enjoy this space before I pack it all up, reorganize and put it in the new space. There have been some great ideas on the posts on this blog including last week from Bitty Bits and Pieces. I hope you've enjoyed my tour and that you have found some inspiration for your own sewing space. Thanks for the opportunity to share my space.  

***

Thank you Irelle for sharing your fabulous space with us!  Oh ~ you are so organized!  And, I love your design wall.  You're one lucky quilting diva.  Thanks again!

Please leave Irelle some comment love below.
Thanks for stopping by!

~Amber