Flower Applique and Flowers

I read recently that seeing or smelling flowers triggers the release of dopamine in our brains.  It’s no surprise that there’s a scientific explanation for why we like them so much, but it’s also fun to know that they literally make us feel happier.  Can you imagine a world without flowers?  Even imagined, or artistically rendered flowers?  I can’t.  I’m endlessly interested in them, stopping on my walks to smell, or photograph, or simply observe them.  Sometimes they alone can say what I feel.  On Monday morning we took our girls on an outing to… see flowers.  That’s it.  The flowers were reason enough.  Of course, the overcast sky, cool air, mountain scenery, as we walked didn’t hurt anything.  But still, flowers!  As I said, they’re reason enough.  So I guess it’s not surprising that flower applique and flowers together make me a little giddy.

I told you about my Marian’s flower applique block, and today’s flower applique features another version.  This one with a dark navy blue background made up of itty bitty… flowers.  I love the way the greens and dark pinks pop against the dark background.  I also demonstrated a little bit of broderie perse applique on this block when I added the bird and the butterfly.

These particular flowers were a gift from my daughter, who showed up at the house recently with a mason jar full of blooms she had arranged for me.  Such a thoughtful thing to do, and it made me smile every time I looked at them.  Since my daughter’s wedding last fall, I have increasingly found myself giving flowers as gifts.  I guess they’ve become  part of my love language.  Just like quilting.  Flower applique and flowers – it’s a great combination.

In writing this, I’ve successfully motivated myself to head outside and work in my flowerbeds.  We’ve made good progress this year, but there are years of neglect to overcome in some spots.  I want to plant flowers everywhere, so I’d best get to work!  And then tonight:  applique.  At least, I hope so!

Marian’s Flower applique quilt block

It’s no secret here at Hopeful Homemaker that I have fallen hard for hand applique.  My Finished Quilt Gallery is peppered with applique projects throughout the pieced quilts. I also have a too-large pile of applique quilt tops in need of finishing!  From my first project to my current one, I have enjoyed the quiet, thoughtful pace of applique.  Recently I taught an applique class, and in preparation I had the opportunity to draw a pattern that worked for the class.  I named it Marian’s flower applique quilt block.

I stitched a couple of blocks as samples before the class, each with a low volume background and a variety of prints for leaves, stems, and petals.  The fun scalloped border on one side is another opportunity to improve skills.  And of course we needed a couple of circles, since they are always a shape worth mastering!

Why Marian’s flower?  Well, that’s the name of my daughter who is currently away from home for an 18 month mission.  While we get weekly video calls and emails, it still tugs at my heart to have her far away for so long.  I’ve done this before; she is our 4th child to go and serve, but there are still times when missing her really aches.  So it felt natural to name it after the daughter I’m missing. It’s a reminder to myself that she is blooming by doing the things that will most increase her growth.

I turned one Marian’s flower applique block into a small pillow.  I sewed a cute insect print to the right side of it, made a back, and inserted a small pillow form.  It looks adorable on my blue chair on the front porch:

After teaching the class, I have at least a half dozen more semi-finished sample blocks.  I always debate finishing them, or saving them for the next class.  Which would you do?


Happy Sewing!

Love, Jennifer

Patriotic Flight II Quilt

Tomorrow is Flag Day in the US, and therefore a good time to share another patriotic colored quilt.  I have two favorite color combinations that both feel like summer.  One is red, white, and blue.  I love the sound of flags waving in the breeze.  It’s also been a week of Flight Quilt pattern features here at Hopeful Homemaker, so today naturally features a Patriotic Flight II Quilt.

Years ago Leah Duncan released a whimsical print with blue birds flying on a white background.  For me, it was an instant favorite, but it took me a while to decide how to use it.  Eventually it found a home as the background fabric for this quilt.

The birds that circle inside the star feature a red 30’s reproduction style floral (I’m sorry I have no idea what its name or designer is). The star is my favorite Amelia blue.  That lovely blue is also featured as the background of my Lucky Lone Star quilt, which is one of my favorite patriotic quilts.

The quilting was done by Melissa at Sew Shabby Quilting.  She’s talented, professional, and she’s also quick to finish my quilts.

In real life, I love watching birds.  I especially enjoy watching hawks and am always on the lookout for eagles.  A few weeks ago I sat quietly in my backyard when I heard a Cooper’s hawk call from the neighbor’s yard as dozens of smaller birds scattered in different directions.  A few minutes later, the hawk sailed over the fence and low across my lawn, just a few feet in front of me.  It perched in another neighbor’s pine tree for a few minutes before gliding away in another direction.  It was beautiful and I felt grateful to witness it.  My children like to tease that if I wasn’t so busy raising a family, I might have been a birder.  They’re not wrong!

For now, I’m content to scan the sky as much as possible, and keep making quilts.  This patriotic Flight II quilt will be a festive addition to our summer!

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