Lucky Lone Star Quilt – A Finished Quilt and a New Pattern

It was a good morning.  My hard work the evening before had set me ahead of schedule on the day’s tasks, and I felt satisfied with life.  A text message came and the day got even better:  my Lucky Lone Star Quilt was done!  I raced to pick it up, bring it home, spread it out in my living room… and then I danced a happy dance.

First of all, that blue!  It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made with color in a quilt.  But the purpose of these photos is to show off Melissa’s gorgeous quilting.  The question I asked when planning and making the quilt top decided the quilting as well; I looked at it and saw traditional orange peel quilting in the star and modern straight lines in the blue background. (Edited to add: blue solid is a Moda Bella solid, number 9900 167, Amelia Blue)

I was lucky enough to have the perfect amount of plaid fabric left to make a binding.  Soon I’d finished the quilt (followed, I must admit, by another little happy dance).  Really, quilting is such a personal and creative experience; so much of us goes into them!  It’s wonderful when a quilt makes my soul bubble over with joy, and this one does that every time I look at it.

I make a lot of quilts.  I hope this is one that my children keep when I’m gone.

This lucky lone star quilt is a sister quilt to my Mod Lone Star quilt.  Lucky has smaller, and more diamonds in it and the quilt itself is just a little bit smaller.  Both quilts use the same technique with beautiful results.  (pattern information below!!)

I told Melissa what I wanted in the star and in the background, but the borders were hers to decide. She added a beautiful feather design in the top and bottom borders of the quilt.  I love her choice and her quilting adds to my feeling that this is, indeed, my lucky lone star quilt.

More good news:  the pattern is also finished and available now in my Craftsy shop!  This is a fun project, and videos to aid in making one are currently in production.  You can download the pattern, then choose fabrics and watch this space for more information about a quilt along and videos!

I hope you will sew along, but even more than that, I wish for you some lucky moment that makes you dance a happy dance.

Love,
Jennifer

Favorite Drawing and Lettering Books

I love books, and I love giving books as gifts.  Every year I find myself looking for some good books that encourage my children in some form of art or drawing, especially for those days when we have a little down time.  With all we know about the relaxing effects of coloring and drawing, I like to provide books and pens to encourage my children to explore this hobby.  Some of my favorite Sunday afternoons include sitting around the table together, lettering and sketching and encouraging one another as we create.  Today I’m sharing a few of the books I’ve gifted to my children recently.   All of them have been used enthusiastically in many after-school art sessions, and have improved both their skills and confidence.  So, here are my  favorite drawing and lettering books:

Hand Lettering 101 is a lovely book that focuses on calligraphy-style lettering.  The spiral binding is sturdy and allows the book to lay flat for easy use.  I can’t get over how pretty it is!  My 15 year old daughter loves her copy and often practices her lettering with this book.  Hand Lettering, Creative Alphabets for Any Ocassion is a fun book that encourages creativity in creating different kinds of letters and fonts.  There are a lot of ideas to explore in this book.  It reminds me of the many hours I spent as a girl trying to find new ways/styles for alphabet letters.  I would have loved to have this book!  We are having a lot of fun with it.

How to Draw Modern Florals is another gorgeous book.  The beauty of the line drawings are equal to the beauty of the book.  My thirteen year old daughter has been practicing often using this book as a prompt, and you can see her drawings to the right of the book.  I have loved watching her practice and grow in confidence and skill.  I am so glad we added this to our library!

20 Ways to Draw Everything is a drawing book I purchased on a whim, but which has been the most fun of them all.  There are 135 different themes or objects in the book, and each one is drawn in different ways by the team of authors.  I have been delighted to watch my children explore different ways of sketching based on the drawings in the book.  When they see twenty different sketches of a hedgehog, suddenly there isn’t only one right way to do it, and suddenly their version can be as good as one of the drawings they’re looking at.  This book gives permission to try, and my kids have done exactly that.  This book has kept my youngest daughter busy for hours, and when she gets it out everyone soon wants to draw with her.  (I love her little hedgehogs!)  This is a book that will get my boys sketching with us.

Imagine a Forest has been my personal favorite.  I am enjoying practicing some folk art, something I’ve never done before.  Dinara Mirtalipova’s illustrations are lovely and I try to practice for just a few minutes every morning.  I would love to someday draw florals like this!  It’s a beautiful book.

I strongly believe in encouraging my children to sketch and draw and try to write beautifully.  I want their practice to be a fun experience for them, so I also invested in a box of Tombow dual brush markers, and what a difference it made!  Using a good instrument makes all the difference when drawing or writing.  The black markers have been instant favorites, and Tombow also makes sets of colors.  These markers, together with a selection of beautiful how-to books, expose my children to a variety of styles and invite them to get drawing and discover/develop their own unique style!

Speaking of unique style, I must also include a favorite chapter book series in this blog post.  These aren’t how-to or art books, but they are the all-time favorite chapter books in my house.  We now own several copies of this series because so many of my children want them in their personal libraries.  One of my daughters has literally read the hardback covers off of her books, they have nourished her soul and been read that much!  My youngest two daughters are currently reading the series and it couldn’t make me happier.  The Penderwicks are a family of girls whose personalities and adventures are endearing and unforgettable.  We fell in love with this family when the first book, The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy was published in 2005, and we’ve eagerly watched for every subsequent book to be released.  I can’t count the number of times I have recommended these books, and I’m so thrilled to share that a final installment of this classic series, The Penderwicks at Last,  will be released in May and is now available for pre-order!  Lots of celebrating happened in my kitchen the day I shared that news.  🙂

So there you have it, our current list of favorite drawing and lettering books to encourage this creative hobby in our home.  We use these on quiet afternoons, cozy winter days, summer afternoons, or any day when life slows down.  There are a lot of them out there; do you have any favorites?

Jennifer

 

Felt Flower Winter Wreath

Winter never really showed up in Utah this year, except for a few days of cold and snow.  In some ways I haven’t minded much; I much prefer driving on clear roads and I don’t relish cleaning up coats, boots, hats, gloves, and scarves all the time.  But I also find myself watching the top of Mt. Timpanogos with some worry; there’s not enough snow on those mountains and it will probably be a dry summer.  Yet Mother Nature does her thing, and there are bulbs pushing their way up in my yard.  I’m excited for my drab, brown landscape to become beautiful again.  Inside, however, I hung this lovely felt flower winter wreath and it’s brought flowers and beauty to my sewing room all winter long.

felt floral wreath

I first saw the tutorial for this felt project on the Purl Soho blog years ago, but it took me a while to start it and even longer to finish.  I really love it.  There is something so lovely about the creamy white flowers against the pale taupe background, and neon thread gives it an unexpected element of surprise and sophistication.

closeup of neon thread detail on wool felt flowers

The tutorial was easy to follow.  The flowers were simple and easy to make, and I enjoyed sewing them into place.  One change I made was to find a piece of wool felt in a local shop for the background instead of piecing squares together.  Again, that neon thread!  I never liked neon when it was in style, but this thread really makes me happy.  (It inspired the neon matchstick quilting on this quilt!)  I added some tabs to the top for hanging with a wood dowel.

felt flower winter wreath from Purl Soho tutorial

This project also triggered an interest in adding felt to quilts, which is something I hope to try.  I have found a couple of patterns I would like to make, and am slowly building a small stash of colored felt.  This project, however, is perfect in delicate neutrals.  I have moved it from place to place in my house when I’m in the mood for change and it looks beautiful everywhere.

white wool felt flowers sewn into wreath

If this felt flower winter wreath is a project you’re interested in, you can find the free tutorial here, along with supplies for making your own.  It measures approximately 24″ square.  It is a great size for a handwork project, and not difficult to make.

white wool felt wreath sewn with neon thread

Welcome spring!
Love, Jennifer

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