Jen's Pen

Quilting, Travel, Friends and Family – also visit

Interactive Color Wheel

I have found a really helpful website with an interactive color wheel.  I am using this to help with colors for my next quilt.  I am making it for my In-Laws bedroom wall.  They want it to be in relaxing greens as they are on Lake Ontario.  I know I can not do it all in just green so I think this wheel will really help me pick additional colors that will work.  I will show the progress as I go.

Click the link and try all the different wheels.  Just drag the dot around and see all the related color choices.

See all the possibilities, Jennifer O’Brien

Kagoshima Quilt Show Photos Dec 2011


I finally have photos from the show in Japan ready for the web.  I hope you will like them.  The first photo shows the introduction to the Sunflower Exhibit.  It shows one quilt from each of the countries – Japan, USA, Australia, Turkey, France and Korea.  I have added photos from the show that I do not have on my earlier blog entries.

Sunflower Welcome Wall

Kagoshima Quilters Association 2011


Sunflowers Japan Group part 1


Sunflowers Japan Group part 2


Sunflowers Japan Group part 1


Sunflowers Australia Group


Sunflowers France Group

Enjoy the friendship of quilting….Jennifer


New Theorem Stencils


Earlier this month we did a stencil gathering and everyone enjoyed stenciling on fabric, paper, plastic, and wood.  My friend Sam Morrissey, Electric Quilt Instuctor and Quilter, took some photos of finished designs from my new line of Theorem Stencils for Jenny May Designs.  They are not up on the website yet but they will be soon.  They are in stock so you can contact me if you want them ASAP.  

Daffodil Theorem Stencil by Jenny May Designs

 The next photo shows our work table at the Mt Laural Decorative Painters Gathering.  

Daffodil and Morning Glory Stencils

Enjoy quilting and painting, Jennifer

Turkish Quilt to Japan


Here are the Turkish quilts we sent to Japan.  I really liked many of the ideas used to create the image of the sunflower.

Betul  Close up of Quilt

Betul Full view of quilt F Mevhibe Full view of Quilt

F Mevhibe - Full View of Quilt F Mevhibe - close up view

F Mevhibe - close up view

Frideys - Full View of quilt

Firdeys - Close up view

Leyla - Full view of Quilt

This show sunflowers going to the sun.  Not just turning to the sun.

Leyla - Close up view

Necla - Full view of quilt

Necla - close up view

Sevtap - Full view of quilt

Sevtap - close up Tevhide - full view of quilt Tevhide - full view of quilt Tevhide - full view of quilt Tevhide - full view of quilt


I hope you have enjoyed all the sunflowers as much as we enjoyed making them.  They add a little brightness to a winter day.
Enjoy, Jennifer 

Quilts to Japan Part 4


Okay, I am going to try to finish the USA quilts today.

Sam Morrissey, Washington, CT USA - Van Gogh's Sunflowers

Sam (Sharon) Morrissey - close up view

By Sharon A. Morrissey, Washington, CT  USA, blog – 

As you can see my quilt is an attempt to depict as close as possible a copy of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting, using several methods of portraying 3-D sunflowers.  Thanks to Jennifer O’Brien I was introduced to the Spray and Fix line of spray adhesives and I used 606 Spray & Fix to adhere the vase and stems to the background and then satin stitched around the vase; as well as to separate the background and the table on which the vase is sitting.  606 Spray & Fix and Cindy Walter’s “snippet” process was used to create the spiky petals at the base of the sunflowers.  The gathered 3-D sunflowers idea is from “The Art of Manipulating Fabric” by Colette Wolff.  The centers of the sunflowers are small yo-yos and beads.   I quilted the quilt on my “Homesteader” Long Arm Sewing Machine.  And lastly I used Jeri Rigg’s facing technique instead of normal quilt binding. .  I must admit that I’ve always been intimidated by anything that had to do with “art”, but quilting has given me the opportunity to “ease” into having fun with art projects.

Diane Wright, Gilford, CT - View from Vincents Window

View from Vincents window Close up

By Diane Wright, Gilford, CT USA,  

The challenge to use Van Gogh’s sunflowers for this exhibit immediately brought to my mind the fields of beautiful flowers with their heads following the sun across the day’s sky.  That image would have been quite familiar to Van Gogh and, possibly, an inspiration.  I tried to calculate descending block sizes to suggest an abstraction of a field of sunflowers.  After I constructed and quilted the piece, I was not happy with my impression of my subject until I appliquéd more “realistic” flower heads.

Janice Kelly, Full view, Shattered Flowers in the Moonlight

Janice Kelly, Westport, CT USA - Shattered Sunflowers in the Moonlight

By Janice Kelly, Westport, CT USA

The background fabric came from my fabric stash.  It reminded me of Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting.  With the artists mental illness the sun flowers are how he might have pictured the flowers with his shattered mind against the night sky.

Mary Franc, Bethel, CT USA - Picasso Meets Van Gogh

Mary Franc, Bethel, CT, USA - Picasso Meets Van Gogh close up web

By Mary Franc, Bethel, CT USA 

As a quilter I didn’t want to copy a Vincent Van Gogh painting.  I was drawn to the sunflowers in his vase paintings, to his painting of cut sunflowers and also to the darkness and colors of Van Gogh’s “The Potato Eaters”.  I combined all the aspects of these paintings and designed my own.  I used metallic thread to bring light and hopefully a quiet beauty to this quilt.  If Van Gogh could see this quilt I hope he would at least be amused.

Pat Pineau, Southbury, CT USA Can you hear me now? full view web

Pat Pineau, Southbury, CT USA Can you hear me now? close up

By Patricia Pineau, Southbury, CT USA 

Inspired by my mother-in-law, I purchased my first sewing machine in 1961.This drew me into making clothes, then into quilting and doll making. I’ve been very fortunate; taking classes, learning, and occasionally sharing creativity by teaching. I look forward to acquiring new skills, and moving on to new challenges.

This make 12 quilts total from USA praticipants.  I hope you enjoy them.  Heres a peak at one of the Turkish Quilts. 

Tevhide - full view of Quilt

Close up view


 Happy Holidays, Jen O’Brien

Quilts to Japan Part 3


Here are some more quilts by USA Quilters –

Barbara McKie Sunflower QuiltSUnflower (close up) by Barbara McKie

Barbra McKie - Sunflower (closeup)

SUNFLOWER By Barbara McKie, Lyme, CT USA,  The sunflower image was digitally manipulated to create an abstracted background.  Digitally printed on polyester, machine appliquéd, free-motion machine quilted with two layers of wool batting & black cotton backing. 

Cathy Winerman - My Sunny Flowers

Cathy Winerman - My Sunny Flowers (closeup)

Milford, Pennsylvania, USA -nThe yellows and blues remind me of Van Gogh’s color pallet.  He used very bright and happy colors from Southern France.

Cheryl OSullivan - Sunflowers

Cheryl OSullivan - Sunflowers

Milford,PA  USA – Cheryl has used raw edge wool for the 3-D flower petals and beading for the center.  She say “Wool applique and yo yo quilts are passion of mine — find your favorite and share it with others.”
More tomorrow….Come back and visit again,

Quilts to Japan – Part 2


Here are more quilts from our exhibit going to Japan – Enjoy….

Sunflower Abstract, By Diane Wright, Guilford, CT USA,

 After completing “View from Vincent’s Window” I was concerned that my work wasn’t interesting, or on point enough for the quilt challenge.  I decided to go back and look at all of Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings.  One was particularly interesting to me:  a vase of mixed flowers in which the sunflowers were supported by other late summer blooms with an aqua background.  Using just the colors from this painting, I selected fabrics from my stash.  This piece includes Japanese and hand-dyed fabrics, vintage rick-rack and buttons.  It was machine and hand quilted.

Above image is a closeup view of Diane’s Sunflower Abstract

Next –

Dancing Sunflowers,  by Mimi Shimp – 

I love sunflowers and Van Gogh! To celebrate our theme for 2011, I created an original 3-dimensional sunflower. The “leaves” create a fun twist to the design with the pinwheels. Sunflowers dancing in the garden always bring smiles!

Dancing Sunflowers – close up.

More tomorrow….Jennifer

Quilts to Japan


For the next couple of weeks I will add photos of our quilt exhibit going to Japan.  The exhibit will be held by the Kagoshima Quilter’s Association in Kagoshima, Japan from Dec 21 to Dec 23, 2011.  It is sponsored by Please visit the website when you have a chance.  Please contact if you would like more information about visiting this exhibit.  The Exhibit’s Theme is Quilts Inspired By Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.   Here are the first 2 quilts of 19 total – 12 made by quilters in the USA and 7 from Quilters in Turkey.

USA Quilts

The following quilt is made by Kate Themel –

Full view – Sunflowers

By Kate Themel, Cheshire, CT USA,

I used very simple materials to create Sunflower: cotton fabric, batting and thread.   When I begin a fiber art project, I start by drawing the image on paper.  I like to study my subjects in detail and capture a sense of light and dimension.  Once I have a full sized sketch, I break up the image into broader shapes and plan out the color scheme.  

I chose the dark blue fabric with swirling orange dots as the background – my way of incorporating the spirit of Van Gogh’s work into this quilt. To create the flower, I cut pieces of hand dyed fabrics and layered them raw-edged on top of each other until the composition resembled an impressionist painting.  Finally, I used a sewing machine to sew the pieces in place while creating a quilt ‘sandwich’ including a layer of batting and fabric for the back. 

In my work, the stitched line is an important design element rather than just a way to hold the layers in place.  I use thread as a drawing tool, to create imagery or blend colors, add texture, or reveal a certain “personality” in the subject.  For me, the stitching is the magic and the life of the composition.  Unlike the careful planning required in building the fabric composition, the stitching process is free and intuitive.  I have no preconceived plan for the quilting lines.  Quilting is a meditative, relaxing process where I can tune out the world and let myself play with lines of color.

Close up view – Sunflowers

Everyone loved the back so I have include a photo of the back to show all the stitching involved to create this image.

Next we have – AMERICAN FAMILY FARMS By  Jennifer O’Brien, New Fairfield, CT  USA,  

I took a photo of my mother in laws farm and my father in laws Sunflower.  I love the lines and the colors, but it is sad to see the family farm in disrepair in the background.  Today America’s family farms are struggling.  They are the back bone of our nation and get very little support from our government.  Because of this I thought I would blend the Van Gogh theme and the concern for our family farms in one image.   

Full View –  American Family Farms

Close up view

Hope you enjoy our exhibit.  Please post a comment.  Just click on the title to open this post in it’s own window and you can post a comment.

Best regards, Jennifer

Kanzashi Flowers are easy to make


I was at the Craft and Hobby Association show in Chicago and I stopped by the Clover booth.  They were making flowers that remined me of the 3-D flowers that the Geisha’s in Japan have in their hair.  They are just beautiful.  Now we can make them with the Kanzashi Flower Makers.  I was so interested in them that I went right out and put all the sizes on my website along with a special that include all 6 Flower makers for a special price.

Here is Diane Gilleland who wrote the book on these flowers.  Her instructions are all folded by hand but the Flower Makers really help make the process faster and avoid mistakes.  Here is a photo of Diane in the booth making lots of wonderful flowers.


Look at all the wonderful styles and sizes.  I think you could put these on anything, bags, headbands, Hair clips, belts, shoes, quilts……

And here is her book with lots of great ideas for using these flowers. 

To order:

Here is another flower they were making in the booth.  They reminded me of the flowers I make when I was in grade school.  Here are a couple of photos showing these Flower Frill Templates.  You can use them fluffy or flattened.

  Look at all the different fabric used in these flowers. 

I hope you are enjoying your summer.  Enjoy…Jennifer

Views from Salt Lake City Quilt Market


We took some extra days prior to Market to see some of the wonderful National Parks in South and Central Utah.  It was a great.  I took over 800 photos. To much to post but I will put some up soon.  Here are some from the City. 

Carolyn Forster and Me in front of the Salt Palace Convention Hall.  It had really good lighting.

Our booth in above photo on the left side of the aisle.

Guess who I met at Market……Cathy Rigby…She was in there promoting the “Tinkerbell and Peter Pan Fly to Neverland” fabric line.  She was so nice to sign autograph cards and talk to everyone.  I remember her on the USA Olympic Team.


Below is our view from dinner at “The Roof”.  Great buffet and wonderful views above the city.


and in the lobby of the building where The Roof Restaurant is located was a great stained glass ceiling.  It looked like a glass quilt.  Really special.


Happy Travels, Jennifer