When Mom was over visiting a couple of weeks ago I was in the middle of "bag mania" and I told her not to be surprised if her birthday card contained the scraps from those efforts. I just have the worst angst about tossing out scraps when they still have potential to be something. I really had a hard time with the blue scraps from the zipper bags. I tried a few postcard design ideas that fell really flat and I almost gave up. When I get to that stage it means that I'm trying too hard and I need to simplify.
On the sewing table I spied the cork leftovers from making the bag handles and the idea of simple squares was born. I cut all of the blue into as many 1" squares as I could and then added some blue, white and orange cork squares. I fused them to a postcard base. I was careful with the cork pieces to use a pressing cloth but I was mostly just trying to adhere the blue fabric bits. The cork I could hold in place until I stitched over the edges.
I used a zig zag stitch with a 3.0 width and .4 length to stitch over all of the joins and then finished off the edge with a wider zig zag. Once I had my design worked out these went together really fast.
This is all that's left of the blue South African fabrics!
I made 7 of these cards. Mom's was already in the mail when I took this photo.
I hope you all have a great weekend. I'll be finishing the quilting on the big green quilt and, hopefully, cutting out some 9-patch blocks for my long term family quilts project.
Since we stopped doing Airbnb (because the company went absolutely crazy), I don't need as many postcards as I used to so I don't make them as often. But there are lots of summer birthdays and, of course, I needed one for Mother's Day. I rarely make just one of a design. This one worked great for Mom and for some birthdays this month.
Lest you think I can draw a bluebird, the pattern for this came from here. I reduced it close to 50% to get the bird to fit perfectly on a postcard. The fabric were all from my pre-fused scrap bin and these clips were a lifesaver cutting out these small pieces.
I even had the perfect backgrounds! These are some sunprints that I made at least 2 years ago and they were already fused onto the bases.
This is why I keep every little pre-fused scrap of fabric. This was perfect for a tree branch.
The one at the top of the post was for Mom. I made 6 more for birthday cards. It was great having the serger out so I could speed through the edges on these.
While I had the serger out I quickly finished the edges on these cards that I made from the scraps of my SIL's quilt.
I have 6 of these and they will be great birthday cards for this summer too.
If all goes well today our generator and propane tank installation will be done AND the phone line they severed last week will be repaired. Fingers crossed!
Yesterday I spent most of my time on the computer. I did some long needed file cleanup and I caught up on my feather quilting class. I'm not even halfway through the class and I've already gotten my money's worth. Bethanne Nemesch is an outstanding teacher.
The only sewing that happened is this one postcard. My nephew's birthday is this weekend. He and his wife just bought a house so I made him another house to hold him until move-in in May. The sun is an iron on thing. I bought a pack of them years ago and never used them. I think I'll try to do a set of pictorial cards to use them up.
Today we are having more generator drama. Nothing big. I think I finally have all of the county regulations so we can possibly settle on placement of the propane and generator. It won't be where I wanted it but it will be easier for the installation and it will be well within code and not so far that propane can't be delivered. Yes, I even called the propane company to see how long the delivery truck hoses are. Maybe we can get this project started soon!
I did it! I finished all the postcards! It's actually 79, not 80 but I'm not going to be short. There are a couple of people on last year's list that aren't on this year's. Not because I suddenly dislike them but because they moved, or, sadly, died.
After all of the agony and angst, I'm actually happier with this batch of cards than any year before. I like all 3 designs equally.
Here's the second design. I suppose it can be called an abstract tree. The background is a fabric that I think was called Mirror Ball and it's got just the right amount of sheen. I cut out diamond shapes from batik and fused them down. I picked up the Merry Christmas ribbon at one of the craft stores. The stitching is silver metallic thread.
I think the final count on these was 22. I'm not about to get up out of this chair to go count.
The third set are really cute Gingerbread Men. I picked a plaid background for the look of a kitchen towel or tablecloth. Mottled hand dyed fabric was perfect for the cookies (or biscuits for my UK friends). The shape came from Electric Quilt. I took their Gingerbread applique and sized it for a postcard. It distorted the head a little so I just had to fix that before making my cardboard template.
The arm and leg icing is a very narrow ric rac. I have a shoebox of vintage ric rac that comes in handy from time to time. This was one of those times. The face and buttons are paint. I did some in white and some in colors and a few of the mouths are "o" shaped because they are afraid of being eaten. I wish I had "taken a bite" out of a couple of them. My brothers would get a kick out of that.
Here they are after painting. This picture reminds me of gingerbread on a cookie sheet. There are 20 of these cards.
Here's the stack of 79 cards ready for a hand-cramping session of addressing. Before I get to these I have a few Christmas gifts that need to get made before Friday. I expect I'll address these this coming weekend and get them in the mail on the 14th. That's plenty of time!
And now for my hack!
After I finished these I shortened some sleeves on some new long sleeved tshirts that I bought and then I started cleaning up the serger to put away. It was a linty mess and I was trying to use cotton swabs and brushes. I used to have one of these mini-vacuum attachment kits but it never fit any vacuum that I owned so it was useless and was thrown out ages ago. I wondered if I couldn't hack one of my own.
I had this attachment from an old vacuum that I use in the basement. I never use the attachment so I tested and it fits the upstairs vacuum. I cut off the brush stuff. Then I found this hose in the cabinet of leftover hardware and stuff. It turns out that cabinet has a TON of weather stripping for some reason. I can't even think where we have used any of it and have no idea why we have so much of it. Probably need to do a purge down there sometime. Anyway, this tubing was in there so I cut a length and it just fit inside the attachment.
That tube wasn't going to be small enough to fit in the small areas of the sewing machines. I solved that with another length of a narrower tubing that fit perfectly inside the big one.
Duct tape is so awesome.
The old attachment fits right on the end of the vacuum extension thingy. It's not pretty but I've always been a function-over-form girl.
This hack functions perfectly! Look at that beautiful clean serger! I'll be using this on all my machines as soon as the Christmas sewing rush is over.
Now I'm working on coiled coaster sets, you know, the ones that are fabric wrapped around clothesline. My friend, Estelle, makes lots of these as a fundraiser for the Virginia Quilt Museum. She's right when sewing them is like eating potato chips. You just can't stop! It's such a zen activity. I made 2 sets earlier this year and another last night. I want to get 2 more made by Friday and that shouldn't be a problem at all.
Yay! The first set of postcards are done! I finished the stitching on the gingerbread men last night so today I could prepare and fuse backs and start serging the edges. I think this is probably one of my favorite Christmas card designs in the 14 years that I've been making cards. It's simple but still nice and a little elegant.
When I planned these cards I wanted gold for the edging but after I did one I decided that I didn't really like that so I switched to a green edging. I'll still mail the gold one, it's perfectly fine and the recipient will not know that they got the only gold one. Hmmm, maybe I should note it so they think they got a special one and not a pseudo-reject.
Getting the right green color was a bit of a challenge. I eventually settled on running these 2 green threads in the upper looper. The blend of the two matched the green in the tree really well. I used blue for the needle and a darker green for the lower looper. The upper looper threads are embroidery threads that have a nice sheen to them.
The first 37 cards are ready to address and mail.
The serger makes quick work of the postcard edges. If I were only making 10 or so cards, I'd use a satin stitch on the machine but when I need to crank out volume the serger can't be beat. I've had this serger over 20 years and it's not been serviced once! If the stitching is off it's ALWAYS a threading problem. I just rethread the machine and it's ready to go.
Actually the first thing I serged today were the cuffs on this shirt. I bought it in August and it's been hanging on the back of my sewing chair ever since waiting for me to shorten the sleeves. I didn't want to get the machine out for a 15 minute job so I took care of this first. I chop off the cuff, then cut some length off the sleeve and then sew the cuff back on. It's a little awkward at the machine but relatively easy. Now I can wear my super soft new shirt this winter.
I've got some errands to run today but this afternoon I'll be working on the rest of the cards. I should be able to get them all edged and then I need to add some paint highlights to the gingerbread men.
I'm focused on two things this week: decorating for Christmas and making postcards. The truth is that I'm kind of over decorating. Years ago I would go crazy with something like 5 trees. I must be my mother's daughter because she's pared down to a door decoration and a 1 foot tree that she pulls out of a box. I'm heading in that direction but I'm not quite there yet. This year we are doing the outside (finished that Sunday), the fireplace mantle (this afternoon) and the tree with the glass ornaments (Sunday) and that's it. I'm not doing the beaded ornaments this year. No one is visiting and it's way too much work for a room that we probably won't go in all month. I'll peek at them in the closet if I miss them.
It's more important that I get these postcards done. I'd like them in the mail by the 10th and even though they have been more "difficult" than usual, I'll get them done in time for sure.
Why have they been difficult? Because I can't decide on designs. I don't remember having this much trouble deciding on designs before but I probably go through this every year and just forget.
I started with this idea based on something that I saw online. Ignore the green feather stitching, that was some practice after I had already rejected this one. It's supposed to be an ornament and garland but it just doesn't work. I might revisit it next year with different fabrics.
Here's another idea I saw online in a paper card. I love it but I surveyed 3 friends and all agreed that this one would not survive the mail. Rejected because I refuse to mail them in envelopes. Envelopes take all the fun out of it! It is a really cute design though.
Then came an idea based on a roll of ribbon that I bought at the craft store. That led me to fuse 30 pieces of muslin and then use a stencil to paint trees. Really, really ugly trees.
I tested one out and I hate it. It turns out that I really hate the ribbon. I'll keep the painted trees. I might come up with something clever for next year. A friend took the ribbon so at least that's out of my life.
Then I went to my friend's house for Thanksgiving and we did some fabric shopping and I bought 2 packs of red and green batik fat eighths and that inspired these cards that I'm really happy with. Now I'm sure that I have fabric that I could have done this simple design with but I think it was the process of just seeing something new that got me out of that postcard funk. For that, the purchase was totally worth it.
(All fabric purchases are totally worth it all the time.)
So, as of Sunday I had these 2 piles of cards read to go to get backs and go through the serger for edges. I only needed one more design. I went back to Electric Quilt and looked through the applique Christmas motifs for inspiration.
EQ has a Gingerbread man block and that was just what I needed! I have a box of vintage ric rac that produced the perfect icing trim. I'm in the process of edging all of them in the brown thread. Once the are trimmed they will get the rest of their embellishments with paint. I think they are going to be really cute and they could potentially be in the mail early next week. Hooray!
As with every weekend I started out with a pretty long list. The difference this weekend is that I actually finished most of it! The big project of the weekend is one that I can't share. Every year I volunteer to make a sample quilt (0r 2) for Paula Nadelstern for her new fabric line. Usually I work on this on September - October but covid changed the schedule this year. My goal was to start it this weekend and finish by December 10 but once I got into it I came up with a simple design that used the fabrics in an amazing way. I finished the top Saturday afternoon and got it quilted Sunday. All that's left is binding. I'll take it with me on my Thanksgiving trip and get the binding and sleeve stitched. I should be able tos hare the quilt sometime in December.
I'm able to focus on my projects so well because I'm listening to a great book. It's Robert Galbraith's latest installment of of the Cormoran Strike series. I've been waiting for the book for months and now that I have it I can't turn it off. So I sewed and quilted and drew Spirographs all weekend. Here's the stitching on the first Christmas card design.
In case you are wondering how I drafted the star, I used Electric Quilt. They have the star shape in the motif library and I was able to play around with it until I got it the size I needed. I love EQ.
These 37 cards are all set aside and ready for backs and edges. I'll serge the edges so I'll wait until all the cards are done and finish them all off together.
I also quilted! I finished Mom's quilt and that's why I was able to get my Paula quilt done yesterday. Mom made this quilt for someone who works in her apartment complex. It's a really pretty quilt.
I dyed a gold backing and quilted it with the Woven Wind pantograph using Superior Rainbows and Superior So Fine threads. The tension was perfect all the way through.
Mom is an expert at scrap quilt and this one is a winner.
Yesterday was a really good day. I ran errands in the morning and found almost everything I needed between Walmart and Wegmans. The only think I need to order is printer ink. There seems to have been a run on printer ink lately because it's been out of stock for weeks. I also noticed that there's another toilet paper run. My friend in California told me about it there so I looked down those aisles today. How much more toilet paper do people really need? Isn't everyone stocked for a year now?
Back at home I now have 36 postcards ready for stitching! These will be done in no time and then I'll need to think about the next design. I quite like how these are turning out and I think the simple stitching that I have planned will look really nice.
I also spent a couple of hours on the floor cloths. I'm sorry that these photos are a bit chopped off. I uploaded them from my phone and I might have selected the unedited images so the blog software cropped them for me. I'm writing this late at night on Thursday and don't have the human or cell battery to reload them. You will see loads more photos to come but here's a peek at what I did yesterday.
This the second of the 6 foot rugs and you can see that I'm starting to layer the designs. It takes more time but it's so worth it, don't you think? I've got lots more space to cover. I'm working no more than and hour and a half at a time and I do wear a respirator but some of the fumes still sneak through. I'll be back out there this afternoon to finish the inside of that big circle and to add more elements to all three rugs. It's so zen and relaxing to work on these. You have to concentrate so you have to purge everything else from your thoughts.
Yesterday was dyeing day and after 40 yards of fabric dyed I didn't have time or energy for much else. But I did have time to think about a different postcard design and I got a little start on it.
I do some sort of tree design every year so I decided to table the design I was working on Tuesday and move forward with a tree design. It took some editing but I now have a plan. I have 34 or 36 postcard bases ready and I've started cutting out trees. Next I need to add fusible to the gold metallic fabric and cut out my star template. I'm determined to make fast cards this year. I don't have time for a lot of details, there are too many other projects to do!
I've got errands to run today but I hope this afternoon that I can get these substantially done and get some quilting done on Mom's quilt too. All I have to do is stay off the internet!
I'm so happy with this new postcard design that I made this weekend. I always try to come up with something new for my Mom for her birthday (Happy Birthday Mom!) and some years the creativity works better than others. She's an avid gardener so flowers are always a good choice. This particular one is a true trash-to-treasure project.
It started with this little pile of scraps that I found in one of the magical bins in my sewing room. This little stack of hand dyed bits are left over from this quilt called Innova Angles. It was the first quilt that I quilted on my Innova in 2014 and I gave it to Virginia Longarm as a thank you for their great support. The fabric was some of the first fabric that I ever dyed and there was only a tiny bit leftover.
Without having any sort of a plan I just sewed all of the bits to postcard bases and had enough for 7 cards. The palette is so "Springy" that it just screamed for a flower.
I have a bin of pre-fused bits so I pulled that out and just started cutting shapes. The flowers are purple because that's what I had available that would show up on the background. No patterns here, just free cut shapes. I did fuse and stitch it in stages:
1 - vase, stem leaves
2 - petals
3 - centers (the center is 2 layers of yellow to hide and shadows from what's underneath
I used a 30 weight purple thread and went around every shape twice for definition. I even did the outside edge with 3 rounds of straight stitching instead on my usual serged or satin-stitched edge. I felt like a satin stitch edge would be too heavy. Surprisingly, I like the effect of the straight stitches. It goes against my fussy nature but I'm glad I restrained myself for this one.
Just in case Mom's gets lost in the mail I have extras. I can always send her another. I think they are so happy!
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In Bloglovin you need to search "Colorways By Vicki Welsh" to find the blog.
I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.