I didn't post earlier today because I was intent on having two finishes in one week! In between errands, a clay shooting lesson (I'm still bad but improving) and chores, I finished the set of Christmas tree cards! This post counts for Thursday and Friday this week.
I usually make 3 or 4 card designs each year and there's always a tree. This year I decided to quilt a little free motion tree to use up some thread. The threads I picked are Superior Rainbows variegated trilobal polyester thread. They have a little shine to them. I'd quilt some on the margins of quilts that I had on the frame. I've been working on them off and on all year.
You can clearly see here that they are totally free motion stitched!
I have 6 different background fabrics simply based on what I had in my "waste fabric" stash.
I wanted to add an extra element...also from my stash. Some have dyed cheesecloth "ground" and others have pieces of knitted metal mesh as a background. The sequin star is from my old stash of beads and sequins from the ornaments that I used to make.
With an obscenely large thread stash it was easy to find the perfect thread colors for the serged edges. I have a great start on the 80 cards that I need with 31 of this design!
I also put a tiny dent into the thread stash. I'll finish off the rainbows the next time that I need to baste a quilt.
This weekend turned into more of a weekend of chores. I did some hand applique while I watched football yesterday but I mostly continued my efforts to get the inventory from the AQS show put away. I think I'm about halfway done at this point. There are only 3 big bins left in the middle of the living room floor. Believe me, that's progress!
I did take a couple of sewing breaks and made some progress on postcards.
I didn't love my last iteration of the tree cards so I pulled out some dyed cheesecloth and metallic mesh ribbon and gave my trees some background. Then I hand stitched sequins and an bead for a star. I'm happy with this one.
Now they are all ready for their backs and edges.
I also figured out a new direction for the cat postcards. Estelle had this cat stencil that's going to work perfect. In my stamping supplies I also found these little cat paws. My plan is to get these done this evening.
Well, not a fail so much as way to involved to make.
I didn't post yesterday because I simply didn't have anything interesting to tell. I was just getting involved in this mess and the story had to wait a day.
I had to sidetrack off of the Christmas cards because I remembered some upcoming birthdays. One is my sister-in-law. She and my brother are serious cat people.
I was on Renaissance Ribbons recently looking for some ribbons for another Christmas card idea and I saw this cat ribbon. I just had to get it for JJ's birthday card. Of course I had no idea how I was going to use it but my deadline is looming and it was time to figure it out. Yesterday I started to work on ideas. It's a narrow (3/4") ribbon so it needed another element as the focal point for the card.
I rejected about a dozen ideas before I decided that a foundation pieced cat would be just the thing. I was already about 3 hours into the project by the time I got the cat drafted to my liking. Time to print the foundation papers.
(It kind of looks like a snake ready to strike the cat, doesn't it?)
But nothing ventured, nothing gained. Let's give this thing a try.
An HOUR AND A HALF later I had exactly one card made. I have enough ribbon for 9 cards! I don't really love the card but I will keep it and send this one to JJ. I know that she keeps all of the cards that I send her and she'll appreciate that it's a cat and hopefull will give me a "A" for effort.
Now I'm working on idea #2 for the remaining 8 cards. I don't know what that's going to be yet, except that it will be easier.
This weekend wasn't my most productive ever but it was nice. Friday I spent most of the day reliving my high school years with my best friend. She died in August and I wanted to collect photos and stories for her, now adult, children. Aside from the emotional aspects of it, the chore required a good bit of excavating and reorganizing. But it was fun to revisit photos, reread the yearbooks and decide which photos and stories I could actually share. Some things just need to remain our secrets forever! Her son and daughter appreciated it so it was a day well spent for all of us.
Saturday I met with some friends who are interested in starting a SAQA group in the Richmond area. If you are or know any art quilters around this area who might be interested please let me know and I'll pass on your contact information.
But Saturday evening I got back to my sewing room and got started on the Christmas tree postcards. I usually start with a test card and that's what I did this time too.
I found a hand dyed backing fabric that I liked and stitched the tree to the card....easy.
I have a lot of beads and sequins left from when I made those Cracker Box ornaments and decided that the tree needed decorations.
The cool thing about beading on a postcard is that you don't have to be too worried about tying off the threads. Fusing the backing on the card holds all of those threads in place.
I'm not sure if that's going to be my final decoration design but I do like the dyed background so I did get background fabrics fused to postcards. I have a stash of dyed cheesecloth so I might see if adding some of that might add a nice extra dimension.
These are one of my goals for the week. I also want to get the binding done on Antelope Canyon, load and quilt 2 QOV quilts and I still have tons of things from the show to put away.
Time to get to work.
After I finished quilting Antelope Canyon I've been slowly quilting out a bunch of thread trees on the excess batting and backing an the edges of the quilt. These will be for one of my Christmas card designs. I finally finished them off last night and was able to take the quilt off the frame. Now I have a lot of cutting to do.
These are from the last batch that I stitched out a few months ago.....you know I don't like my Christmas card-making to become a last minute thing! I started these in the summer.
I'm growing quite a nice forest.
The best part of this is that it was a great opportunity to clean out some bobbins. I bet I emptied at least 20 bobbins stitching out these trees.
Let's not forget the other thread that I've used. I used the blue on Antelope Canyon and the other 2 on the trees. There's just enough left to stitch the trees to the postcards and to bind Antelope Canyon. Oh, I do love an empty cone of thread.
I started playing around a bit with the layout. I'm thinking about using some of my waste fabrics for the background and stitching on a few beads. These should go together quickly.
Now I just need 2 more design ideas for the rest of the cards.
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.
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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