Every year, as soon as I finish the Christmas cards, I have to get busy making a birthday card for my SIL. Her birthday is the 23rd so it's important that her card not look anything like Christmas. I think I met the challenge with this one! This has turned out to be one of my all time favorite designs, especially since it came together with scraps and leftovers.
I decided that, whatever design I chose, I'd make 4 cards. That will get me through birthdays until March. My design challenge was to use nothing but leftover stuff and it started with a box of fused card blanks. I pulled 4 cards that were already fused with a natural denim.
I decided that I'd try to use some elements from this bin of pre-fused fabric scraps. I keep all of my fused leftovers. They often come in handy!
I didn't use much from that bin but I had enough to cut out some rough floral elements.
Next up I added some outline stitching. I thought about using black thread but I thought that might be too stark. Instead I took the lead from the vase and used dark purple thread. I really liked it and thought this might be the final product. But after some studying, I didn't think it was quite done.
How about some purple and green ricrac? I have a lifetime supply of ricrac!
Some purple edging and they are all done. Carol's is already in the mail.
Yesterday I got started on 2 veterans quilts while the plumber was here installing a new filtration system. I'll get the quilts finished today.
I have mailed all of my postcards and I have a few left over! The first 5 people to post a comment here can get one mailed to them. US or international, it doesn't matter.
Do not leave your address, just leave a comment telling me that you want one and, if you are one of the first 5, I'll contact you for your address. Once they are all claimed, I'll turn off comments.
All of the cards are spoken for!
Yesterday my best friend sent me this photo of her Christmas decorations for this year. She will be out of town for Christmas so she decided to pull out all of the Christmas postcards. I know that the silver tree (second card on back row) was the first card ever so that means that this year is the 19th year that I've been making them!
Then she sent me this photo of all of the other cards that I've sent her, mostly birthday cards. The sun looking one in the middle is all thread painted and, I think, the first card I ever sent her. It might be the first card I ever made. A few of the cards are from some online swaps that I used to participate in.
It's fun seeing them all together!
We had quilt club last night so I wanted to get a couple more veterans quilts quilted and I finished just in the nick of time. This one was made by Becky with a line of fabrics from Barbara Brackman.
This one was made by my Mom from some fabrics that I brought home from Maine one year.
I have 2 more veterans quilt tops in the closet and should be able to get on with those today.
The one thing that's consistent from year to year is that there is always a tree design. Recently, there's also always been a design using Paula Nadelstern fabrics. This year I combined the two. The dot fabrics are from her 2023 line that was released earlier this year. The others are from the 2024 line that will be available in February.
I made this set last because I knew that they would be the easiest to cut out and stitch.The tree fabrics are from the same print that will be available in 3 colorways. I decided to go bright with these are use all 3 colors that aren't really Christmassy.
When I planned these cards I was certain that I wanted to outline the trees with black thread. Boy was that a bad idea! I quickly changed my plans to outline the trees in colors to match each tree. I added crystals to the top of each tree for just a touch of bling.
I made 25 of these cards!
Here are 81 cards ready to address this weekend! I also have to quilt a quilt for my friend, Kim and dyed some gifts for friends. Today is a sewing day with my quilt club so I'm going to try to get 2 veterans quilts bound. I have 2 more veterans quilts to quilt but I don't know if I can get those done by Tuesday for the club meeting. It's going to be a busy weekend!
I have been wanting to make a holly-themed postcard for a while. I did one the one below in 2013 and it was based on a stitching technique used by Cane Glendening. I've been wanting to do another and this is finally the year, 10 years later.
I wanted this version to be an applique version. This photo shows how I start my cards. I always start by cutting some sample fabrics to size and arranging then on a " x 6" piece of backing fabric until I get something that I like.
I think it took 3 evenings to cut all of the leaves and berries. I cut them from pre-fused fabric. I made cardstock templates for the leaves and traced them on the paper backing of the fused fabric and then cut them out. There were 120 leave parts and 90 free-form cut berries. Before I cut the berries I removed the fusible backing paper because removing paper from the tiny berries would have been a pain.
I had not intended to make them sparkly but when I started stitching the leaves I realized that they need more than simple straight stitching, like yesterday's birds. Couching Razzle thread seemed to be the right idea. For the berries I just free-motion stitched around them with a dark red thread.
I serge the edge of my postcards and I felt that I needed some sparkle to the edges of these cards. On the serger I can run two (or more) threads through the loopers. I picked a red metallic and a red shiny acrylic for the upper looper. When I need to run a slippery thread I often set the cone in a cup of rice and that keeps the thread from sliding down and getting caught under the wound thread at the bottom of the cone. I've had this same cup of black rice sitting in my sewing room at least 10 years.
I made 30 of these so now I have a total of 56. One more set to finish up today!
The first of the three sets of Christmas postcards are done! I've been wanting to do a bird postcard for a while but just hadn't found the right bird, until a few weeks ago.
Just to be totally transparent, and I've said this before, my postcards are almost never original ideas. I have a germ of an idea but I search the internet for images that I can use. This card started with the Merry Christmas ribbon so I searched for a bird that would work with the rustic palette that I wanted to use. Once I had an image I could resize it in Gimp to get it to the size I needed. Then I was able to trace templates from that. After that it was just a lot of cutting and stitching and then a serged edge.
Right before I serged the edges I painted a black eye on each one. I had some suggestions to add a white dot to the eye but I felt that took away from the rustic look of the cards.
I made 26 of these cards. I think I'll be addressing all of the Christmas cards by this weekend!
Kim and I had a great week at the river with Anne and Weesie. We all made a lot of progress on our projects and I think we wore Weesie out. Anne said she slept the whole day after I left. One of the projects that I worked on was this crochet cape. I finished it Sunday while I was watching football and I started another one. From The Heart put out a call for wheelchair capes. I had one already finished, this one is the second and I'll try to get one more finished before I deliver in a couple of weeks. This cape works up really quick.
This is a "pattern" that I made from combining some other patterns and the directions are here. The yarn is Lion Brand Mandala Ombre and I think it makes a pretty cape.
I accomplished all of the stitching on the postcards that I could while at the river and I did some of the finishing this weekend. I had to stitch the berries at home because I didn't take any red metallic threads with me. The color I used here is kind of a copper color. I wish I had used a more textured background with these but it's too late for that!
This is the stitching that I got done on the other two designs. The trees will get some crystal but I'll add those after I stitch the edges. I got the birds outlined and the ribbon added.
Yesterday my birds got painted eyes and what a difference that makes!
Now I'm ready to fuse the backs and serge the edges. The end is in sight!
I also brought home a little toy to play with for the next few months. Anne bought this Sashiko machine secondhand in the Spring. She will be out of town for a few months so she let me bring it home to play with until she returns.
It's a really interesting machine. There's no top thread, only a bobbin. It may look like a sewing machine but it doesn't work like one at all.
This is what the stitching looks like. You can adjust the size of the stitches and spaces separately. I'm not allowing myself to play with it until the Christmas postcards are all in the mail.
This week I will get the cards finished and I want to get 4 veterans quilts quilted.
We are having a great time at the river this week and that fun starts with this pretty girl. Ouiser (nicknamed Weesie) is a 5 month old lab and she's mostly delightful and sometimes a typical puppy demon seed. She's really sweet and actually pretty well behaved but she gets a little wild (in a fun way) in the evenings. I'm having a great time with her.
But I'm sewing a lot and am making great progress on the postcards. I decided to outline the holly leaves with Razzle Dazzle thread. It's tedious and takes about 10 minutes for each card. That's about 5 hours to stitch the leaves on all 30 cards. I didn't bring any red metallic thread so I'll stitch the berries when I get home. I finished all of the holly leaves last night after dinner. Today I'll start the birds. They should be easier with simple straight stitching.
Kim got the binding sewn on her quilt and we got it in the mail yesterday too. Her friend should have it by Saturday to use when she gets her chemo treatments. I think she will love it.
Anne is going to make the Tamarack Jacket that is apparently very popular on Instagram. She is getting her fabrics quilted and ready to cut the pieces. I'm anxious to see how the jacket turns out because it's one that I might be interested in making. If we were at my house with the longarm the fabric would be quilted already!
Today it's more sewing and more playing with Weesie. One day we will visit the local quilt shop and a nice art gallery.
Right after I posted Wednesday's post I got a message from my brother that my SIL was sick and Thanksgiving at their home was canceled. We quickly regrouped and hosed our side of the family and two of my friends at our house. Chris secured a turkey to cook and everyone brought the originally planned dishes to our house. Anne brought her new Black Lab puppy, Ouiser, and we all had a great time and ate way too much. It was a lovely day.
I didn't get to do my dyeing Wednesday (I'll do it today) because I decided to set up the Christmas tree for the Thanksgiving party. But I did have a little time to get the next two veterans quilts loaded and ready for quilting. After I do my dyeing today, I may get to quilt some on this.
I also got the third, and final, postcard design done! I always like to do a tree design and I usually do a design using Paula's fabrics. These are left over from the 2023 Paula quilt and I really love it. I got all the trees cut out while watching TV.
This weekend I will get all of the cards fused and ready for stitching. I'll take them to the river Monday and do the stitching while there. When I get back I'll just need to fuse the backs and serge the edges. I should be on schedule to have them in the mail by the 10th....if all goes to plan!
Today I'm dyeing some new shibori fabrics!
Usually Tuesday is reserved for my newsletter but there's no newsletter this week. It being a holiday week here in the US and all the Black Friday sales going on, I expect that there's very little attention for fabric. I'll be back to normal Tuesday posts next week.
Yesterday I finished quilting Kim's quilt. This is a pretty quilt and will be a lovely comfort quilt for her friend while she's going through chemo and radiation. I think it's about 70" square.
I used a pantograph called Fluffy Clouds with King Tut and SoFine threads. The quilting really shows off in the sunbeam.
I also continued progress on my postcards and have worked out the second design. I bought the ribbon at JoAnn and used that as the jumping off point for my color palette. Now there's just a bit of cutting out left to do. The idea for the third design is percolating. I think I can have these ready to take to the river next week for stitching.
Today is a follow up for my annual physical and running a few errands but I hope I might have time to load the next pair of veterans quilts for quilting and also cut out bird parts for the postcards.
To subscribe click the RSS Feed button and copy the URL of that page into your blog reader.
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.