You might remember last year when I made some cards from a damaged vintage linen that was embroidered by my Grandmother. Well, apparently that exercise freed me to cut up more linens!
These are some doilies that my Grandmother embroidered. These kinds of heirlooms are a bit vexing. You don't want to toss them out but you also know that no one will ever use them. The one on the left has been on a shelf in my bathroom closet for YEARS and the one on the right was in my Mom's closet for DECADES. In fact, when she was moving I found it in the yard sale pile. I decided to rescue it for her Mother's Day card and them I took the other one and made it into cards for my Aunts.
Could a postcard be easier than this one? I fused on a base layer of green to match the leaf stitches and then I fused the embroidery on top. Add a back, finish the edges and it's ready to mail!
This doily had 2 embroidered edges so I got 2 cards from it. These went to my Aunts.
Easy peasy! If only I would design Christmas postcards this simple.
I scheduled this post last week but, assuming that everything went as planned, movers are picking up all of my Mom's belongings and will deposit them in her new apartment in Richmond today. We started talking about his move last summer after her miserable cataract surgery (that she is just now stabilizing from). She had a great run for 11 years living with her sister but it's now time for a new phase and I made her a card to celebrate. Some of my dear quilt friends also sent her fabric postcards so she will have some good mail to greet her when she arrives later today. Here's the one that I made.
I started with some watery backgrounds. These were more of the fabrics that I sunprinted with stencils. I love how these turned out. This was one set where I felt that sunprinting really was the best option. I fused them to card interfacing and trimmed them to the 4" x 6" size.
Next I needed a fish. Using another stencil I found that opaque screen printing worked great for my fish image.
A school of fish!
I affixed fusible webbing to the back of the fish fabrics before I cut them out. I fused them to the cards and stitched around the edges and fins. Simple!
The hardest part was decided on what color thread to use for the edges. These were both rejects but that doesn't mean the cards are rejects. I'm just playing around with color.
I finally settled on a solid orange. It's a simple card but I love how it turned out.
My pond has 9 goldfish. These are going to make for great birthday cards too.
I needed a birthday card for my nephew (and several other male birthdays coming up this year). I try to avoid sending flowers and glitter to the boys that aren't into flowers and glitter. So I riffled through my stash of sun prints from last summer and came up with these.
This is the stencil I used to sunprint these cards. I can't find that particular stencil online but I found these, some of which will work just as well. These were some of the most successful sunprints that I did last summer but I've been completely stumped as to what to do with them.
There's nothing like a deadline to fix a creative block.
I decided on adding a moon behind the trees. There was a time when I would have done that the hardest way possible like cutting out the background and putting a fabric behind the holes. But I've learned a few things from my friend, Estelle, like how to mask designs.
I cut a circle out of an index card. (There are 2 circles because I cut this with one of my Go! Cutter dies and it has these 2 circles next to each other.)
By putting the stencil back on the fabric to cover the tree I could place the circle over that and apply some other color to the background.
The other thing I've learned from Estelle is to practice! When we used to do our technique exploration days I would always start with a big piece of fabric and an idea. Meanwhile Estelle would start with some small scrap and test her idea first. It took a while but I eventually caught on to her methodology and that's what I did here.
I thought I wanted the background to be done with Shiva Paintsticks but you can see here that all that did was jam up the crevices in the stencil. Painting turned out to be the right approach.
I tore the sponge off of a cheap paint brush to use as a daubber.
Voila! A moon! The only problem with this approach was that there was a gap between the circle cut out and the fabric because of the thickness of the stencil. The result of that is that my moon isn't a perfect circle and this was the time to remind myself that this is a postcard and it's good enough. In hindsight I might have gotten a better result if I had placed the circle against the fabric and the stencil on top of that. This is one of the things I love about working on postcards. They are great lessons for learning new techniques or improving my skills and I get something productive in the process.
After I fused the trees to the postcard base I then spent a long time thinking about what stitching I could add to the card. I feel like I'm cheating if I don't add stitching but I just couldn't think of anything to add. I finally realized that they are done as they are. A black stitched edge finished them off.
No need to just make one. Nine is better!
Everyone goes through change phases in life and my family is in the middle of one of those change phases right now.
For the last 11 years my Mom and her sister have lived together in a town about 2 hours from me and it's worked great. It's been especially nice for my Mom the past 4 years because her granddaughter has been at college in the same town. But Alana is graduating and Mom has spent a lot of time here with eye doctor visits the past year so we all agreed that it's time for her to move to Richmond. That means it's time for my Aunt to move near her daughter in Florida.
My Mom, who always views every change as an adventure is excited about her move. My Aunt, not so much! I thought it might help a little to have a greeting waiting for her when she arrives at her new home so I got busy Friday night to make a card that should be there when she gets "home" today.
I wasn't going to spent hours this so I set some parameters to fabrics from my bin of pre-fused fabrics and I wasn't going to do any stenciling or anything else that would have a lot of prep or cleanup time.
You know that I like to give myself boxes to work in!
Anyway, first I needed a theme and went to Google for a list of state "things" of Florida and settled on the flower: an orange blossom.
Thank you Google Images for this feast of reference photos.
I'm lick that I have a BIG bin of pre-fused fabric. So I cut some leaves, orange circles and white petals and started playing around with arrangements.
I went with the light blue background because I had a card already fused with it! Then I decided on one orange and one blossom.
I start from the back to add the elements so the leave were fused and stitched first.
Next was the orange.
Then the blossom.
Then I fused on the back and stitched the edges. But it still needed a little something.
A little puff paint was just the right finish! Hopefully it will make it to Florida on time and in good shape.
I rarely make a single card but this time it was just right.
What am I wrapping up? The Maine scraps! This post marks the official end to those with this last set of cards.
I didn't have any more screen printed images to use with these fabrics so I headed to the ribbon drawer and found a ribbon with these 2 motifs alternating. I had use most of the ribbon a few years ago for another project and it seemed poetic to marry the ribbon leftovers with the Maine leftovers for these really fast cards.
Ten ribbon trees means 10 more postcards.
This big stack of cards should last me with our Airbnb guests for a while!
Bonus! I've almost used up a whole spool of Valdani thread serging the edges!
In other news it's about time to start a new project! This is one of the Galaxy fabrics (3 yards) that I had in the shop. I thought it would look nice as the focal fabric for a new quilt for the guest house so this week I'm dyeing some matching fabrics for that quilt.
Here's the third set of postcards. For these I had this screen printed leaf to use as my focal piece. These were incredibly fast to make but it took a few tries to get the final design.
This was my first try. It's OK but I didn't like it enough to do a flip and sew technique for 13 more cards. I reminded myself to keep them really simple and that means using the cut curves of the fabric.
Then I tried this with a simple 3 piece background. I though that with the curves that I could make a landscape out of the background: sky, hill, ground so that's what I did for the other 12. I will still use these 2 "rejects". For my purposes they are just fine!
14 of these! I think I have a focal piece and enough scraps for one more set of these. I'm going to be golden for Airbnb cards for the year!
I've got so much stuff to get done over the next 2 weeks that I can't really concentrate on a big project. Playing with the Maine quilt scraps a little each day is the perfect recess from work.
I have several fabrics that I had screen printed a long time ago and these images make a perfect focal point for the cards. I showed how I made these last week. I finished them off with some variegated Vandani thread that I bought YEARS ago. I think the variegated thread on the edge is what really makes these cards.
I made 10 of these and I have enough fabric scraps left for at least 20 more. It seems a little nuts to make that many cards but it will give me a nice stash for our Airbnb guest for the year. There's no reason for out Virginia visitors to know that these fabrics were created with foliage in Maine!
I made the first set of postcards from these scraps back in November and they have already all been given away.
I made a set of Dragonfly postcards in November using scraps from the Maine quilt and some screen printed dragonflies that were in my stash. I used those cards mostly for our Airbnb guests and I just gave the last one away. While I'm waiting on the new ruler foot washer to quilt I'm going to make some new postcards for upcoming Airbnb guests.
I have loads of Maine quilt scraps left and several different screen printed elements in my stash so I'm going to see how many cards I can get out of them. Last week I had an hour to fill so I pre-fused and pre-cut the Stiffy for card bases and pre-fused and cut a lot of postcard backing fabrics so I'm set to go.
The first dozen start with a little screen printed leaf image.
Because the Maine quilt is an apple core block, most of my scraps have curved edges and I'm just going with it and sewing it all raw edged. I'm using the Quilt Highlights braid to accent the stitching. These are going together FAST which makes them perfect for Airbnb guests who might not appreciate something handmade. Although most of the guests say that they really love the cards....even these simple ones.
These will get their backs and serged edges soon. I'm going to stretch the Maine Quilt scraps as far as I can!
Today is sewing day with Country School Quilters so that means I'm working on the Maine quilt! I don't get to go both days but there's a little chance that if I'll sew more and talk less that I might get the top done today.
It's early December and all of my postcards are done! I finished up the mandala Christmas trees this weekend. These were really simple and I'll share how I did them. You have plenty of time to make some yourself and you can use ANY fabric for your tree.
But if you want to make cards like mine you will start with a mandala print. I hoard Paula Nadelstern fabrics so I have a lot of her mandala panels to choose from. If you want some Cotton Club has some of them left on the Kismet and Chromazone collections.
***Every fabric that I use on these cards is first backed with fusible webbing. Mistyfuse is my go-to fusible but any fusible will work. But these will be much easier if you can fuse them together.
These mandalas are printed with 8 symmetrical sections and I figured out what part I wanted for the center of my tree and then cut the mandala into 8 identical pie wedges.
My trees are about 4 1/4" tall in the center. Using my rotary ruler to carefully line up the center line I cut the bottom of my trees.
When I selected the mandalas that I wanted to use I also picked a background fabric. I went with mandalas in blue/lime/purple color palettes and found this batik for the background. These are cut 4" x 6" and fused to the same size pieces of Timtex or other heavy interfacing.
I found this stripe in my scrap bin and it is perfect for my tree trunks. I cut these about 1/2" x 1"
I found this great metallic (also a Paula Nadelstern fabric) in my stash to use for my snow-covered ground.
The fun part was fusing it all together! That went very quickly and, technically, you really don't have to do any stitching. But I like to add some stitching and I started with the bottom of the tree and the tree trunk.
I added a little decorative stitching with this utility stitch and some lime thread.
Next I fused on a back and then finished the edges. I used a serger but a zig zag stitch would work just fine.
I wanted to add a little something else. I could have added an embroidered star but I have a lot of crystals and made those my tree toppers.
Here's are all 5 mandala designs. I made about 32 of these cards!
Time to get busy addressing 80 postcards!
Before we get to the postcards here's your last reminder to enter all of the Giving Thanks drawings from last week! The winners will be announced Wednesday!
The cold that I got Halloween has really lingered so I'm still operating at about 70% capacity. The cold turned into something else so now I'm on antibiotics and expect to feel great soon! I had plans to work on some other things last week but in the end decided to focus on my Christmas postcards. I could work on them in shifts whenever I had the energy. I finished up the second, and most involved, set.
Here's my Tacky Town Christmas cards! These things were a ton of work but I got to use all of my blingy threads and geegaws. Here's how I made them.
It all starts with this sunprinted fabric. As with the Stag cards, these were sun printed with a stencil. I'd tell you where to buy the stencil but I can't find it anywhere. Anyway, also as with the Stag cards, sunprinting was a complete waste of time. It would have been faster and just as effective to simply STENCIL with paint as the word "stencil" implies. I have a few stencils that work great for sun printing but mostly there's really no effective difference with stenciling vs sun printing.
I fused these to the stiff interfacing and was ready to go!
First a little outlining with metallic thread. For the windows and hearts I went around then 3 times to build up thread. Otherwise it just didn't show much. The outline of the building is done with Superior Glitter thread. It actually runs better than the metallic in my machine.
Through making these cards I learned that my Brother Innov-is machine really doesn't care for the specialty threads. I feel a machine upgrade in my future.
I really didn't have a plan for these. I either picked an element that I wanted to do or a thread that I wanted to play with and did that until I was tired of it and then moved to something else.
Next I wanted to play with these cool metallic braids that I picked up at the Hampton Mancuso show last year. These are for bobbin work or couching. I put it in the bobbin and did the garland hanging from the buildings.
I was getting tired of stitching by this point but decided that this building needed a little tree.
Next up was foiling. I haven't done that in a long time! So during one of the football games I applied foiling glue to all of the parts that needed more tacky bling. 24 times....
A smart person who plans properly would have fused on the postcard backs before doing the foiling glue but that's not what I did. After the foil glue dried I applied foil to 2 doors, a roof line and a few windows.
THEN I fused on the backs. I had to be careful not to get the iron too hot. I didn't want it to ruin the foiling. Then I edged them on the serger. This thread is Superior Halo. To be honest, I don't love this thread. I tried using it on the machine for bobbin work and it's just too fragile. I only have 2 spools (red and green) and it runs fine in the serger so I'll try to use it up on Christmas cards. over the next couple of years.
But I wasn't done! More bling needed!
Crystals were just the right finishing touch. My tree got a star, garland and doors got wreaths and some windows got lights.
I edged some in green and some in red just so I cold use both colors. I have 24 of these cards ready to address and mail. These were a ton of work so they will go only to the people who I know will appreciate them.
I'm working on the third, and easiest, set now and I think they are going to turn out to be the crowd favorite!
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.
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