Mail Call

I love it when the mail box is stuffed with parcels and letters all addressed to me……lol.  It just makes my day complete somehow and what was even better – none of those parcels and letters were bills….whooo hooo.

I had participated in a postcard swap with some of the ladies on the crazy quilting group I am in.  The theme was “Express Yourself” with the idea that we would all try something new and as it would be postcard size the theory was it wouldn’t be too scary or difficult.  Well I have to admit it was easy finding and trying something new – the hard bit was trying to decide who would receive what card….grin.

Today’s Postcards came from….

Margaret G.  Beautiful hand dyed lace butterflies and flowers on a really scrummy background.  Thank you Margaret.  Margaret even had it hand cancelled then popped it in an envelope to post.

Maureen B. sent me this stunning card.  I have been encouraging Maureen to have a go at Machine Embroidery and despite emails like “I broke the needle – again!” …lol….I think she is well on her way to being quite successful at the technique.   Maureen said she found the picture in a magazine for inspiration and the background fabric was a shop bought piece.  It really does look very life like and the “worm” the bird is holding is a “loose” peice of string so you get a dimensional effect.

My last postcard came in all it’s “naked” glory, hand cancelled and stamped into my post office box with absolutely no damage to it at all. Some of my faith in Australia Post has been restored.

It is from Margaret P. and she used Xpanda paint which is then machine embroidered and although you can’t see them clearly, beaded as well.  Mum looked and ooooed and ahhhhed over it – then idly wondered if that was another technique I wanted to try.  Sure is Mum  ……..wicked grin.  The photo really doesn’t do it justice as the whole card is quite glittery in effect and the edges very bronze.  It’s stunning.  Thank you Margaret.

My last parcel was this book which was a recent ebay purchase all the way from the States.

You can’t order this book anymore as it is no longer in print and I have been searching ebay for months in an attempt to find one.  Maureen C. said she has it and it is brilliant.  She’s right.  It is brilliant.  Wonderful photos, clear descriptions and diagrams and the best eye candy.  Best of all with the Aussie dollar/US Dollar at the moment it was cheaper than imagined it might have been.

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More Post Cards

I have discovered that the best way for me to acheive lots – especially when the children are home – is to turn my MP3 up loud, put in the ear plugs and stitch away – pretending I can’t hear or see them standing next to me…grin.

 It has turned cold again today so I have spent most of the day playing making more postcards from the silk paper gum leaves I made the other night.  No I haven’t had any more forays into the garden in the dark and cold – luckily I picked enough leaves the first time.

 

I used some iron on batting I had in the cupboard behind this one, but it went a little lumpy on me.  I thought the batting might make the machine embroidered stem stand out a bit more – but I’m not sure that it did.  I don’t think it’s an experiment that I will repeat.

 

I used more silk paper to create the flower buds and machine embroidered the “petals” or should it be “stamens” of the flowers in the new rayon embroidery thread I impulse bought today.  Honest it was an impulse – I only went to the store for some visoflex – and came out with far more than I thought – 12 different machine embroidery threads (all variegated), visoflex – 2 metres, and some water soluable stabaliser which I haven’t tried before.  I thought after that lot I had better get home before I broke the bank entirely…grin.  The flower buds are lightly stuffed with batting then lines are sewn from their base to the edge to give some dimension.  Another technique I haven’t tried before, but I enjoyed doing it.

 

According to my sewing machine the stitch I used around the edges  of the postcards is called “Shading Stitch”.  I quite like the effect and think it will be used again.

You know I’ve lost it when……

…… I see the beautiful Autumn leaves that Maria has made and blogged at Silk Paradise and I just have to have a play and see if I can come up with some even half as good. So picture this….

….it’s 8 pm and dark. The garden is dripping wet as we have just had another heavy rain storm, I have all the outside floodlights on, I’m in my pj’s and I’m out there in the wet garden, secutears in hand, picking gum leaves for templates for my silk paper. Yeah I know I have completely lost it…….but boy it’s fun!

Back in side, dry off feet and begin to play. Now if I try and draw the leaves freehand while machine embroidering them – you would think that the worst possible gum leaf disease has attacked them. So I traced the leaves onto freezer paper and ironed it onto the silk paper. Sewed around it once, removed the freezer paper template, sewed around it again then did the middle vein and smaller ones to the sides. Easy.

Having made at least a dozen leaves, and liking it more and more each minute – I decided a postcard was in order.

So using my hand dyed fabric and a “branch” that I freehanded – well lets face it branches don’t matter quite so much after all they are just straight sticks – I constructed the following postcard.

Gum Leaf Postcard

I should have sewn the beads on before assembling the whole card, but didn’t realise I needed them until later. Ohh well I live and learn….grin.

Machine Embroidered Postcard

While at the Easter Gather Maria showed me some of her fabulous machine embroidery and I was quite inspired and intriged at what you could acheive with a sewing machine. You can see some of Maria’s magnificant work on her blog Silk Paradise. Maria is a wonderful and lovely lady, full of fun and good humor and share’s her knowledge so willingly.

While I have a close and personal relationship with my sewing machine – “embroidery” and “machine” are not two words that I have put together before so I decided it was high time that I did.

I had printed out several photos that I had taken of the scenery around Sandie’s house and during our drive up into the hills over looking the bay. Beautiful, magnificant, awe inspiring are words that fall far short of describing the views that day – and the veiws would no doubt be even better today – now much needed rain is falling in her part of the world.

This is – after much deliberation – is the photo I decided to use as my first time experiment with machine embroidery. Fairly simple lines, not lots of detail and clear definition of what ends where….
Looking Toward the Bay at Port Pirie

This is the postcard. My printing process does not seem to allow for tremendously clear prints at times – however in this instance I don’t think it matters too much.
The postcard

I opted for the less is more approach working on the theory if I got too cocky and added too much I would stuff up. There are still a couple of things I could “tweak” a bit more – but on the whole I’m happy with it.

The photo is just printed onto cotton homespun – my all time favorite fabric. There is polyester batting behind the photo to give definition and I used what ever sewing machine threads I had. The border is made using two fancy wools and is just zig zaged on – it’s one of the things I would like to tweak a bit more. The post card ws constructed using my method of making postcards – see my tutorial on the side bar if you are interested.