I have finally reached the point as a blogger and a sewist where I feel like I can recommend things with confidence — and this is one in a new series of posts doing just that.

This is the second year I’ve hand made a Valentine’s gift for my husband. Believe me, if you asked a few years ago whether it would be easy to handcraft appealing presents for my man, I probably would have balked. But it isn’t as hard as I thought!

Valentine's coasters on coffee tableWe use a lot of coasters in this house. My husband brews beer, and there’s always a frosty beverage at the table. My very first quilting project were these fun mug rugs – it got me hooked on quilting! And it’s one of the reasons why I purchased Rashida Coleman-Hale’s book “I Love Patchwork.”

I’ve used her book to make gifts before – now I’ve sewn a couple items in here, I’d recommend purchasing this if you’re looking for manageable, day-long quilting projects.

coaster holder top

So, what is “zakka?” To quote the book “…Zakka is now understood as an aesthetic and design style, mainly focused on household items that enhance one’s environment.” Rashida, who blogs over at “i heart linen,” learned about zakka during some time in Japan. All the projects in the book call for some linen; I only used cotton this time around, and honestly cotton can always be swapped out for linen when it comes to sewing household items.

One of the reasons I love this project is because you don’t just make coasters — you also make a coaster holder. It’s a nice classy add-on for a gift, and as a girl who has too many coasters, I like having something to put them away in at the end of the day.

I ended up modifying the pattern just a little to add more structure to the coaster holder (the quilting on the bottom and around the edges was extra).

coaster holder bottom

Just like the aprons I sewed from Rashida’s book, these coasters are a great scrap-busting project. And it so happened that I had scraps left over from a recent project for a little boy’s room — fabric that my husband helped pick out, so I knew he’d like it!

valentine setI’m still a free-motion novice, so the squiggle and straight-lines here are all I’m able to do, but I’m still satisfied with the look.

And, most importantly, my husband loves them!

So the verdict is, “I Love Patchwork” is a great book for small, manageable quilting projects, especially if you are looking for gift ideas. You’ll find plenty of use here for your scraps. I would steer a complete novice away from this book because the patterns I’ve followed have required some modification. But if you’re an adventurous newbie or honing your skills, dive right in!