Tuesday, July 21, 2020

When to Say Uncle

Love determines our bonds.
~Mitch Alborn in Finding Chika


When we were growing up {back in the Dark Ages before the internet} my youngest sister cried because "everyone else gets mail and I don't!" So our mother told her everything addressed to occupant was hers. Mother was a clever woman.

Taking that lesson to heart, I send my grandchildren a weekly postcard. Their parents tell me they are thrilled to receive "real" mail. I look for postcards wherever I go. Museums are especially good places to find them... when they were open. Fortunately I stocked up several good batches. 

Remember the story, String Too Short to be Saved? This week, just before dropping all the scraps into the trash I sewed some together to make fabric postcards. Because they are still useful... And I'm crazy.

It started with some leftover Porgs from a shirt for DH. {That curve came from the sleeve.} I backed it with muslin, stitched the layers together, then decided to zigzag the edge. Oops. Big mistake. It was straight but ended up lumpy and wiggly. However, edge treatments need to be done before attaching the card backing. As we all remember, close stitching on paper just causes it to fall away.

Because I attached the fabric to the card from the fabric side, the back is visibly uneven.  Altogether as bit of a mess.
Two collaged photos show the cardboard back and the fabric front of the postcard. Half the front is a print with U2D2 hidden in a bunch of porgs. On the left are three parallel strips: dark grey, tan, and white.
First postcard attempt

The backs are 4" x 6" index cards... because I have a bunch at the house and it's better to use what's on hand. I sewed the layers together with with longest basting stitch and learned
  1. The "basting" stitch length is too long. A 3 on my Bernina looks best.
  2. Topstitch thread works better than regular sewing thread. 
  3. Lightly glue the fabric to the card {then press with a dry iron until the glue dries} to hold the layers in place. There's no way to pin these together that won't leave a hole in the card.
  4. Mark a border about a quarter inch from the edges of the card and sew with the card side up to create an more even border.
My next Porg attempts turned out a bit better. I pinked the fabric edges... because I have my grandmother's pinking shears.

Two more postcards with the R2D2/porg fabric paired with red, white, mustard, and dark brown prints.
Porg and R2D2 postcards

I made a few more with raw edges but thought sewing a pillowcase might look more finished. No idea why that would matter with a postcard.

Two collaged photos show the cardboard back and two fabric fronts sewn so there are no raw edges around the sides. The one on the left has jellyfish on aqua. The right has white prints on the left, green on the right with a vertical strip of reds.
Pillowcase postcards

They make a nice change but the raw edges are simpler. Notice how much nicer the back looks when the sewing line is drawn and stitched with the card side up.

Then I pulled any scrap that had a design on it. Crab, bird, frog, tulips. Even when they are partly cut off.

Postcards of colorful scraps rest on a green cutting board. The fabrics include a crab, bird, frog, and several tulips.
Fabric postcards

These aren't the most artistic pieces but they amuse me. I've seen ATCs but was never inspired. Postcards have a similar function: a place to use tiny scraps, a way to practice new techniques, a time to play. I enjoyed myself, learned some things, and have a way to move these bits out of the house. {Mailing them to the grandchildren. Hahaha.}

Eight postcards used perhaps quarter yard. Warning: Fabric postcards are too thick for the postcard rate; they require letter stamps. But what fun this is.

Gardening

Some of the beans have the loveliest purple flowers. What a joy to watch them grow although I'm not sure how many beans we will actually get. 

Voting

Our national election scheduled for November 3 is 105 days away. Help someone register and encourage everyone to vote. Democracy requires the participation of ALL citizens.

Enjoy the day, Ann

26 comments:

  1. I don't know if you've ever visited Vicki Welsh's website (colorwaysbyvicki.com), but she makes Christmas postcards and all manner of other postcards - she posts about how she does the stitching, etc. if you're interested. Glad you are having fun. I need to mail Little Man a card a week - he would love it!

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    1. Thanks for the information, Julie. I will check it out. Mine are simple and it would be good to see some more sophisticated ones. I've been sending the grandchildren a card a week for about a year and they love getting something physical. The pictures are a real plus, too.

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  2. What a great idea. I think I have some stiff interfacing that is already cut for making into postcards. I will now have to try and find them. I agree with Quiltdivajulie; Vicki makes the best postcards out of just stuff and leftover bits. I have 8 - 10 of them hanging at the top of my design wall.

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    1. Stiff interfacing would be helpful although I didn't have any. Lucky you to have some of Vicki's postcards on your wall.

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  3. yea for small scraps they make great graphic things! I've done fabric cards, and love them and your grands will too. What a nice connection to them, sending postcards. They can put them up on their shelf and re read them, look at pretty pictures... so good. Your beans are closer to eating... my little attempt is s l o w l y growing from last year's bean. Since our season is so short, I should have started them in the garage during the snows in May... last year we never had many actual beans but I took what we had, put them in a bit of water in a measuring cup, microwaved them and we portioned them out by three of us. We each got about 5 beans to eat.

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    1. Thanks, Lee Anna. You are much more experienced at this kind of artistry but I'm having fun. Most of my grands can't read yet so they really love the pictures on the postcards.
      I should have started mine earlier, too, and am not sure if there will ever be much from it but it gives me an occupation/distraction. Hopefully there will be more than five. Hahaha.

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  4. Fun! My two granddaughters are five weeks apart. When they were about four (they are 15 now) I made and mailed them fabric postcards every month for a year. I signed them from "Secret Admirer" and they sure had fun trying to figure out who their secret admirer happened to be. I wish I had kept that up. That's a really good idea to use index cards on back. I used all fabric and a thick interfacing (can't remember the name) in between to keep them stiff.

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    1. What a clever idea to be the Secret Admirer. I know these could be stiffer but I used what I had and enjoy actually being able to write on them.

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  5. I love the postcard idea! I usually make them from mixed media, but this would be fun to try. I think I'll try fusing scraps on a stiff interfacing and then doing a lot of topstitching. Thanks for the idea!

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    1. Oh, I'd love to see yours, Holly. Mixed media. You must be very clever. Sometime I want to try fusing and more topstitching. It really helps to have someone(s) to send them to.

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  6. Our guild is having a pandemic shut down postcard swap. At the virtual meeting last week they showed what they'd received.

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    1. Nann, that sounds so wonderful! I wish I'd seen it. Did you make some yourself and if so, did you take pictures of them? I'd love to read more about it. Hint, hin.

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  7. P.S. Postcrossing.com is a fun way to get postcards from all over the world.

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  8. Oh i love the idea of a postcard swap or SAL...that would be such fun...
    hugs from afar Julierose

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    1. Yes. Aren't Nann and her guild clever to come up with this during the stay-at-home.

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  9. Oh, very fun. I remember getting letters from one of my grandmothers. Still cherish them to this day!:)

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    1. Me, too. We have lost the talent of letter writing. I have some from DH during college. Pages full and now we can hardly think of more than a paragraph. It's especially fun to be able to reread them years later. I still feel the love and am sure you do, too.

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  10. Perhaps 15-20 years ago there were classes and books on making fabric post cards. I bought the stiff stuff that goes in the middle... some without the iron on feature, some with. Never finished a postcard, but have thought of using it for insoles in slippers!

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    1. I didn't think I'd missed out on any project over the years but I missed that. It would be interesting to read one since I don't use that stiffy stuff, just an index card on the back. However, I have needed new insoles!

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  11. A super back story about how you come to be making fabric postcards for your grandchildren, a wonderful idea Ann and I can imagine the pleasure they have in finding your postcards in the mail box.

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    1. Thanks, Maureen. They do seem to like them. I think it's because it's something physical and arriving unexpectedly. Makes them seem important in the world because the postal carrier brings them.

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  12. Mailing scraps to other people - what a great idea! :) These are so much fun - no wonder your grandchildren love getting mail; I would too!

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    1. It's fun for me, too. And the grandchildren aren't picky about getting my starter postcards. Thanks for writing, Marie.

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  13. Receiving snail mail is surely very exciting. I used to write to my mom in India when I first came to the US. We now Facetime with Whatsapp :-) Alas, we won't remember what we say in these calls...only if there was a record. YOur fabric postcards are lovely. I recently received one from Maya - a quilter buddy in California. Warms my heart whenever I see it.

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    1. That's it exactly. It was surprising to read some of our old letters and like you, I was surprised how much information they conveyed. Our conversations have become very shallow with easier methods to communicate.
      I hope my postcards get better with time.

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