Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rain, Rain, Gone Away

This picture pretty much sums up how I feel now that the sun is out and the rain has stopped. Here's hoping it will be a long running weather trend, like for the rest of what is left of summer!
However, rainy days serve their purpose, and when it poured this past weekend I took the opportunity to clean house and sew, neither of which I confess I am inclined to do too often. However, these little fabric postcards were such fun I may be at my sewing machine awhile yet.
Three events facilitated the making of these little art cards. First, a good friend had recently donated a couple of boxes of upholstery samples to me and I have been looking for a way to use them since. Second, I received the new issue of Cloth, Paper and Scissors, a mixed media magazine full of fun and inpiration. It was all about fabric and sewing, with a couple of cool projects I want to try. And thirdly, a discussion arose with another friend on printing photos onto fabric. I have been wanting to try a few products and methods for this because I was always dissatisfied with the iron on transfers of old.
Put all this together and you have a recipe for fabric postcards.
Fabric postcards were begun by quilters as small mini-quilt projects. They are fun to make and, yes, they are mailable. You can find detailed directions and techniques here. The minimum card and letter size for US Postal Service mailings is 3-1/2" x 5". Most fabric postcards made measure 4" x 6" and can be mailed using one self-adhesive first class stamp. Keep fabric postcards 1/8" or less thick to stay within weight limits; cards over 1/4" thick require an extra fee for their depth and will weigh more. You can make cards that are larger and heavier, but postage will be higher.
Depending on the fabric and the backing used you may need a filler layer for sturdiness. One of the reasons I love using the upholstery samples is that they are thick and sturdy in and of themselves. I cut them out as 4"x6" rectangles, sew on collaged layers of fabrics and ribbons, sew on a picture printed or stamped on fabric, and tightly zig zag the whole piece to a Tyvek backing. Tyvek is strong, can be altered by painting or drawing, is easily written or printed onto, and is sewable.You can find templates for postcard backs or real vintage postcard back images free on the internet.
You are only limited in your creativity by your craft stash and your imagination!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Zentangle Challenge - Zendala

I have always loved mandalas. They remind me of kaliedescopes in a way and I have always been fascinated by the ever-changing designs of those magical devices. I had seen the tangled mandalas or "Zendalas" on flickr and other sites but had yet to try one. So this challenge seemed like just the time to try my hand at one and the bonus was I didn't even have to come up with my own zendala string. Yea!
I am posting two versions - one the traditional black and white and another in color. I actually did the color version first, the zendala just seemed to lend itself to color especially well. Back to that love of kaliediscopes I imagine. The tricky thing for me was to not just keep repeating the same things over and over as I moved around the circle. I tried to mix it up a bit as I moved away from the center. I found if I broke the spaces up smaller and smaller then things were more interesting.
Another thing I did not do this challenge is view any other zendalas before I tackled my own. Often I am so excited by a new challenge and the fact that many other tangler's out there post so quickly that I jump right in and look at the "early bird" posts. I resisted this time so that I would be working on my own Zendalas with no outside influence or ideas. So after posting tonight I am off to the Diva's blog to see all the wonderful work by so many other talented tanglers!
Here is the link to the mandala template from Genevieve Crabe, who was the guest tangle challenger this week at the Diva's blog. It was easy to download and I printed it out directly to cardstock which I then drew on right away. I would love to do more of the Zendala's and am open to any suggestions on ways to make the "string." One good idea I have seen is to use an apple corer as a template maker. This kitchen tool has possiblities! Any other good ideas out there?