Sunshine (on a cloudy day)

So last year I decided not to participate in so many swaps, and so I didn’t, but then I missed doing it. It’s fun doing swaps… you get to try things you might never otherwise try and you have the benefit of quick finishes so you’re not adding another WIP to the pile (which, of course, is my usual MO). So when I ran across a quilted postcard swap on Instagram, I had to join!

This swap was run by Patty of Elm Street Quilts and had some fun and easy requirements. All we did was give a prompt word and then we made our cards based on the prompt that our recipient requested… however we wanted to interpret that prompt.

Postcard I made and sent away

With this project I decided to try out trapunto and doubled up my batting under the round bits. It doesn’t show so well in any of the photos I took, but there is a huge amount of puff. I had planned originally to use a different shade of yellow in each of six squares, but got distracted by the idea of improv piecing and so landed on this look instead. To be honest, I’m not sure if I like it as much as I’d hoped I would, but I don’t dislike it either. It just sort of makes me go, hmm.

Postcard I made and sent away

So, can you guess what prompt I received?

Well… it was ‘Summer’ but I immediately thought of sun and sunshine..

Postcard I made and sent away

It’s just been nothing but snow, snow, and more snow this year. I’m desperate for some summer sun.

Funny thing… my prompt word was ‘Glow’ and I was sent some summer sun by Mommaneen on Instagram:



Also, there will be a postcard parade at Patty’s blog, Elm Street Quilts, on April 7, so do go check it out! I really should have held this post until then!



In which I show a lot of stuff I got in the mail, including my swap package for my Scrappy Bits swap on Flickr, the package I sent away for that swap, some fabric and art from Cori Dantini, and some fabric postcards I made several years ago.

For more about Cori Dantini: (Beautiful) Art for Sale, Prints for Sale, Blog.

Cathy who sent me the swap stuff: Blueberry Patch. (I will write an actual post with actual pictures, hopefully tomorrow. I’m trying to watch all of Mad Men Season 1 in four days, though, and that’s a lot of tv. I’m not getting much else done.)

Okay, when I filmed the video, I hadn’t actually looked at the photos of the postcards I was talking about (the ones I made, not the ones I sent to Aalia) and I was describing them based on several year old memories. This is what they actually look like. Also, there are 5. Who knew.

Sorry for the poor quality photos – if I could go back in time and fix them…

I made it sound in the video as if it had real buttons on it. It didn’t. This was kind of appallingly made, if I were to remake it…. well, no point in thinking about that this many years later. Maybe I should remake it someday though. Hm…

Potions bottles. I didn’t have a lot of fabric back when I made these, so I’m kind of impressed these are kind of potiony looking in any way. I sort of like that green print.

This is how you make a profile without having to figure out a mouth or eyes or ears or anything at all complicated: cover it all with hair.

So blurry! This was my attempt at a cartoony Snape sneer. I wanted something with fairly straight lines because it was easier to cut out and fuse 😀

I guess I’d forgotten there were 5 cards. A not terribly great dark mark.

I don’t remember getting 4 cards in the mail, but maybe I did. I cut out of my video a rather long explanation of the 3rd card I’d gotten, which was a naughty striptease Snape. (His robes opened to flash his boxers, which pivoted away to flash his dangly bits.) It was made of construction paper and tore, so it was thrown away ages ago.

Fabric Postcards for Postcard Swap

It occurs to me somewhat belatedly that not only have I not been updating anything here, but that I’ve got a little backlog of finished items to post. I’ve always been a bad blog writer because I get so easily bored, but normally at least I put up the finished stuff, even if I don’t get around to talking about what’s going on in between. (Right now: working on my very first quilting project, stitching the birds and then picking them out and then stitching them again and then picking them out…)

Anyway, I’ve done another fabric postcard swap at my Livejournal group (Fabric Postcard Swap). (You can see what I sent out for previous swaps here and here.) When I started planning to do another swap, I was working on some little embroidery patterns, just to practise my stitches, so two of the cards here definitely feature that.

Jellyfish embroidered fabric postcard

This was my second practise piece, but it’s my favourite of the two! Love the jellyfish! It’s done with satin stitch, stem stitch, and some unfortunate French knots. The pattern came from a Sublime Stitching craft pad. Usually when I’m making fabric postcards, I wind up using whatever scraps are at the top of my pile, and that’s pretty true with this card too, as the background of it (and the other embroidery card) is using some Moda Crossweave fabric, which I’m currently using in a Block of the Month from Sew, Mama, Sew.

Hello embroidered fabric postcard

This was the other heavily embroidered card. There are tons of things I’d change about it if I could, well, not tons, but some of the stitching anyway, but I still like the idea of it even if not the execution. The worst bit about it is that it looks really dirty. I’d decided to use fusible batting (June Taylor fusible) to ease the quilting process and ironing it brought up beads of glue. So not impressed. I use paper backs on my cards, rather than fabric, so I couldn’t wash it (which would probably have gotten rid of the glue). I don’t know what I’ll do with the rest of that fusible batting. I’d used some of it for a table runner, and it brought up beads of glue with that too, but it was washable, so it didn’t turn out to be a very big deal, but I mostly have fairly small bits of it left. I hate to throw things away, so maybe I should just turn the iron down low if I use it for additional postcards and hope that’ll solve the problem.

This card actually disappeared in the mail, so it never reached its intended recipient. Annoying. (Despite all the shit talk people say about Canada Post, it happens so rarely, so it’s extra frustrating when it does.)

Hedgehog fabric postcard

Hedgie was probably my favourite card just because it’s so stinking cute. It’s paper pieced using a Sonja Callaghan pattern, which you can find at her blog Artisania. I had a world of trouble with Hedgie’s feet, but I don’t think it’s particularly noticeable (unless you’ve got the pattern in hand and can see where I decided to wing it paper-free). I didn’t want to deal with the small bit of fabric for his nose, so I embroidered that on when I did his eye. The rest of the embroidery was incredibly lazy work – just a few stitches in approximately a butterfly shape, and some very lazy stem stitch for the grass. All the colours for the embroidery were chosen… because they happened to be sitting on my sewing table. The fabrics here are all scraps pulled from my scrap bags – I dug around until I found a strip long enough to make up the whole purple background and the dark brown was a bit of leftover binding strip. I can’t remember where I originally used the lighter brown, it hardly looks like something from MY stash, but there it was.

Abstract fabric postcard

This abstract one was one that started out somewhere entirely different from where it ended up. I’d started out planning to do a turquoise card with thin strips of red running horizontally through it, but then I found the scrap of that Laura Gunn poppy print and decided to use it instead. And then somehow when I was cutting, I wound up cutting all willy-nilly and definitely not all horizontally. Anyway, I kind of like how it turned out, but I am still curious what it’d have looked like if I’d followed my original plan. If I can find enough of those red scrap strips in my scrap bags, maybe I should try it out.

Star Trek fabric postcard

And finally a bonus card, sort of. The embroidered hand postcard disappeared en-route, but the person I was sending it to (Cosmic Twirling) is a fan of Star Trek, so I decided to do the replacement card as a Star Trek insignia. This paper pieced pattern came from Fandom in Stitches and was designed by Jennifer Ofenstein (of This pattern features some rather small little bits, most of which are centred around that star. Three units join up on the left side of the uppermost point, and MAN did my sewing machine hate going over that lump of fabric. The first time I sewed the top unit to the joined middle units, I forgot to do a basting stitch first. I don’t know if this is common amongst paper-piecers, but I always join my units with a basting stitch first and then when I’m sure about my placement, I do it for real. But I forgot, and it was really bad, so I had to unpick miles of tiny tiny stitching (or, you know, five inches) so that I could do it again, just a little bit better. I also accidentally missed an edge of fabric when I pressed one of the narrower pieces around the top, and so it stuck through, raw edges and all, along the right side, so I decided rather than undoing it all and fixing it, I’d just hide it! So that’s the explanation for the embroidered edge (which is split stitch, I think). I’m not a Star Trek fan (I wasn’t allowed to watch as a kid), so I don’t know how it stands up to the REAL insignia, but I’m pretty pleased with how it came out anyway.

Talk to Me Tuesday #71

In which I show off a Star Trek fabric postcard (pattern from Fandom in Stitches, from here), four new Birthday blocks for the Livejournal group (photos here, with patterns from Modern Blocks: 99 Quilt Blocks from Your Favourite Designers and Quilter’s Cache, found here), and two new Modern Block of the Month blocks (photos here from Sew Mama Sew‘s Modern Block of the Month).

I should have a post tomorrow, possibly, with some photos of some of these things I’ve been working on.

Talk to Me Tuesday #66: *crinkle crinkle*

In which I show some embroidery, some sashiko, a quilt block, some quilting, and a small quilt hanger.

Places mentioned
Sublime Stitching, with transfers from Tara McPherson. The kit referenced is the Ultimate Embroidery Kit
KimonoMomo: a purveyor of sashiko kits, thread, etc.
TaDaaStudioStitch: another purveyor of sashiko kits, thread, etc.
Robinson’s Woodcrafts

The Birthday Block is in reference to the livejournal group. And the Fabric Postcards are in reference to my livejournal group.

I can’t be certain, but I think the pattern for the Double Wedding Ring tablerunner came from the Eleanor Burns book Egg Money Quilts. I learned to make it in a class, but the teacher didn’t make us buy the book the pattern came from, but I feel like the book was called something to do with Egg Money, so I’m pretty sure this is the book. (Interestingly, several years ago, my mom was given a quilt made by my great-grandmother and traded for eggs. The woman who received it had given it to her daughter and when she died the family cleaning out her house figured out that it had come from my great-grandma and returned it, believing rightly that it would have more value to our family than to theirs.)

Talk to me Tuesday #65: Blocks Galore

In which I show the five quilt blocks I sewed this past week and the bit of embroidery I’m working on.

Places mentioned:
Fabric Postcard Swap
Birthday Blocks group
Modern Block of the Month

See better photos of the blocks in question at my flickr:
Modern BOM blocks
Birthday Blocks blocks

One day I will even write a post using the keyboard and some photos instead of a video camera and my word vomit… 😀

Fabric Postcards – Swap Cards

Am I getting behind on posting or what? I’ve got two other finished items to show and there have been one or two videos since my last update. Maybe I’ll remember this Tuesday.

Fabric postcard #1 by clumsy chord

Fabric postcard #1, a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

I made three postcards for the second swap at my Livejournal community for exchanging fabric postcards (Fabric Postcard – creative name, eh?). I had set an optional theme of rainbows, and intended to do something rainbow related, but I got distracted by the stuff on the top of my scrap pile, bits and pieces of aqua and raisin Kona cotton and scraps (little wee scraps that I couldn’t talk myself into throwing away) of Mendocino.

This was the first postcard that I made, and the most basic of them. Just slashes of purple in aqua, and I wish you could see it BEFORE I quilted it, because the quilting really ruined it. I should have done my usual type of postcard quilting and just done a light, decorative stitch around each of the purple pieces. It’s just too busy as is.

Fabric Postcard #2

Fabric Postcard #2 a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

When Canada Post went on strike just in time for the exchange, I decided to try remaking that first card, but the second version didn’t really turn out any better. I like the quilting better, but the purple slashes ended up more as chunks and they just don’t work, somehow. Or anyway, they don’t work for me. (Also, I rather obviously forgot to trim the excess purple from behind the aqua in at least one place. Eeep.)

In the end, I sent out the first card and still have the second one sitting around, waiting for me to decide who to send it to.

Fabric Postcard #3

Fabric Postcard #3 a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

This is the second postcard I made and it was definitely, to begin with, the most simple of all the cards – just a sea of aqua and that bright square with the seahorse. I had some blue variegated thread and had always planned to try stitching on some water movement, but decided at the last moment that I wanted to try embroidering fish on the card as well. I don’t know the proper stitches for embroidery, but I just winged it and I think it turned out pretty well anyway.

First I drew on the shapes with a pencil (they’re all based somewhat on another Mendocino print, the one with schools of fish) and then I stitched in whatever way seemed like it might work. The fish with the lower fin was done in mostly very small stitches, which I was hoping would look like scales.(I don’t think it does, quite, but it’s not bad.) The other large fishes were done with a lot of parallel stitches, just filling in space. The littlest fish were just two or three stitches done in the same entrance/exit holes, which was wide enough to make the fish body, and then two small stitches for the tail fins.

Creating the water look with quilting was harder than I thought it would be and less successful than I’d hoped, but I think it adds something to the card anyway and I wouldn’t change it. (Maybe I’d make it more smooth, if I could, but I wouldn’t do away with the quilting entirely as I would with the first card I showed.)

Fabric Postcard #4

Fabric Postcard #4 a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

In Flickr, I labelled this postcard as #4, but it was actually the third one I made. In terms of the fabrics I used, it’s the most complicated or… involved of all the cards. (It’s more wonky in style, and wonky is NOT a comfort-zone for me.) All the bits of colour are little pieces of Mendocino fabric. The pale and the bright pinks are both from prints that have giant octopuses on it, but my scrappy bits are just background only. I love the way the colours all work together though. The little gold octopus (and its even littler pink friend) were centred as carefully as I could so that I wouldn’t lose any of the print. I’m sure the seam allowance is at most an eighth of an inch, but that’s okay since this is a postcard and not likely to be used and abused like a quilt might. I really liked the postcard, it turned out beautifully, I thought. (Maybe I should have quilted some waves into the water, rather than just outlining things, but I’m happy with how I made it.)

In return, I should receive three cards, but I’ve only had one arrive so far (damn the postal strike/lock-out), but I’ll make another post once they’ve put in an appearance. If they do. (One may have been lost, and the third person is MIA. She sent out all her earlier cards on time, but I haven’t been able to get a hold of her in the weeks since the postal strike was over, so I’ve got no indication that she’ll have received the email saying it was okay to go send out my card.)

Talk to Me Tuesday #46

It’s getting to be an embarrassingly long time since I last posted. I’ve just not been in the mood to craft very much. Anyway,

In which I show four fabric postcards I’ve recently made for an exchange at my fabric postcard exchange community on livejournal, and show the first row of my Mendocino/Mod Times quilt.

I’m having a lot of issues with Windows Live Movie Maker, so I uploaded this directly to YouTube and used their editor, which is difficult and frustrating and didn’t let me put in a title card.

Finish: Fabric Postcards

I don’t know why, but I forgot in my previous entry about swapping fabric postcards to include the name/location of the swap group. It can be found here on Livejournal. I’ve just opened up a poll there today to see when people would like to swap again, which I’m hoping will end up at the end of May (though I know one person at least is ready to do a swap pretty much immediately). The way I prefer to run the swap is a No Stress Swap, which means that everyone knows the end date in advance, makes what they want to make, and then signs up AFTER they’ve completed everything. Swap partners are arranged once sign-ups are over and that way no one gets flaked on.

Anyway, these are the postcards I mailed off in this past round.

Pennants postcard by hold your spin

Pennants postcard a photo by hold your spin on Flickr.

This was really my favourite postcard that I made. It started out with an idea one day when a co-worker was talking about looking for Buddhist prayer flags, and that got me google image searching photos of prayer flags. What I loved about the photos was the pop of colours against the bright blue sky, so I recreated that with pennants (since I don’t know enough about Buddhism to be comfortable making representations of prayer flags). It’s definitely a look that’s been done in a lot of ways – when I searched flickr, I found pillows and mini-quilts galore – but it’s just so beautiful. I frayed the edges of the pennants in hopes of making them look old and weather-beaten.

Elephants postcard
Elephants postcard a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

My next card was this elephant card, featuring snippets of Tip Top elephants fabric. I had this idea in mind based on the video for the Metric song Stadium Love, which features animals going head to head in combat. There was a long time between my seeing the video and making the card, so actually they haven’t really got anything to do with one another in terms of appearance, but it’s pretty cute anyway.

Another favourite, for its simplicity mainly. I was pulling apart a roll of 2.5″ strips of solids from Connecting Threads and the colours, which are possibly maybe their spring collection, reminded me of a sunrise (or a sunset) and so that’s what I set out to create.

Ticker Tape 1 postcard

*Ticker Tape 1 postcard a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

One of the nice things about the ticker tape style is that you can use small scraps of fabric and also scraps where the pattern doesn’t allow for a seam allowance, as with this swimming sister from the Mendocino fabric or the octopus from the same line. To set those pieces into something else, would have lost too much of the pattern, so it was great to get to use them in something like this. I didn’t take a photo of the back, but I used paper on the reverse of this card, which had stripes of colour in pink and purple, so that’s where the colour inspiration for the front of the card came from.

Ticker Tape 2 postcard

Ticker Tape 2 postcard a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

The back side of this ticker tape card is a paper in blue and purple, so those were the colours I used for the front. My favourite bits on this card are the Tufted Tweets chair and of course the gorgeous owl. As an experiment in the ticker tape style, I’m not sure either of these cards was completely successful, but I think it looks better when you’ve got a larger area to fill – 4 x 6-in was just not enough to get in a lot of bits and pieces in interesting patterns.

Log Cabin postcard

Log Cabin postcard a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

This log cabin postcard wasn’t created for the exchange, but I made it at the same time, so that I could make a video of my process of postcard making, and I also sent it away at approximately the same time.

For the video, which is embedded below, I wanted to make something pretty simple and classic, so I went with the log cabin, and I did it askew because a log cabin typically comes out square, but a postcard is rectangular, so I didn’t want to lose too much of the shape of the log cabin by cutting off the top and bottom logs. I really love this card – I think it came out beautifully.

This isn’t a terribly good video – I don’t have any way of recording myself at work, so I had to record bits talking about what I was going to do, then stop recording so that I could do it, and then show what I’d done. It’s also by no stretch of the imagination the definitive word on making fabric postcards. Its how I make them, but I’m self-taught so there are probably several other possibly better ways of going about it.