Monday, December 15, 2008

The postcard's in the mail

How to make a fabric postcard:

1. Have fabulous grandchildren. Lacking this, have other great family members or friends who would appreciate something custom-made by you...just for them. Choose carefully. Not everybody fits into this category, and you'd hate to have someone receive one of these little works of art in the mail, read the message, and then toss it in the recycle bin. Send those people an email instead.
2. Choose some fun fabric. With my granddaughter, Charlotte, I tried to pick something appropriate for the month in which it was sent. You know, snowflakes for January, hearts for February. With my grandson, Levi, I decided sports was the ticket. And for his December postcard, really, who could resist little fish wearing Santa Hats and reindeer antlers?

3. Choose some plain fabric for the back, or message, side. I used muslin, but any light solid fabric would work.

4. Get some stiff interfacing with fusible web on both sides, such as fast2fuse, the thinner version, which is about 1/8 inch thick and can be fused using a steam iron.

And yes, I DO realize that photographing white interfacing on a white background probably wasn't the best choice...

5. Cut each of the above 4 inches by 6 inches.

6. On the solid plain fabric, your message will be on the left side and address on the right side. I read somewhere that the post office likes the two sides to be separated with a line and also likes the word "postcard" at the top. You'd think they would be able to tell the difference between postcards, letters, and packages...but maybe not.

7. Compose and write your message using a fine-tip permanent marker, such as a Pigma pen. Heat set for a few seconds with an iron. Note: For Charlotte and Levi, I had decided to send them one postcard each month for their first year. Each month, I wrote four lines that could only loosely be considered a poem, and only because it DOES contain a couple of rhyming words. In the interest of self-disclosure but at the risk of personal embarrassment, here is Levi's current card, ready to hit the mail today. And yes, I have already apologized to their parents for my lack of poetic skills.

8. Fuse to the interfacing. If you are careful, you can make a little postcard "sandwich" and fuse about thirty seconds on one side, then turn it over and fuse on the other side.

9. Set your machine for satin stitch, a really close zigzag stitch. I like to go completely around the postcard twice because it nicely covers up the raw edges.

10. Add a stamp. I use a stamp for first-class mail, not a postcard stamp, because these weigh a little more and I want to make sure there is enough postage. And I also add a drop of Elmer's glue to make sure it's nice and secure.

11. Get yourself down to the post office and ask them to please hand cancel your little piece of art. They will be impressed with your postcard. But I can't help wondering if they are rolling their eyes if they read my poem as I'm walking out the door...

12. If you are making your postcard in December, get a holiday-themed postmark. There are lots of them and it's kind of hard to pick. Of course, there's always the North Pole, either Alaska or New York, and I knew there was a Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, but who knew there were five others? You can check out the list of possibilities here, along with the mailing instructions. Charlotte lived in Oregon for her first Christmas, so I sent her postcard to Christmas Valley, Oregon. Now that Charlotte and Levi live a mile from us, it was a bit harder to decide. Levi's Grandpa is from Minnesota. So won't it be cool to get a postcard from Frost, Minnesota?


05 08
Grandma G said... #

It'd be cool... make that COLD... getting a postcard from anywhere in MN today! And I have yet to trudge out to my mailbox and see what's there. I wonder if I even HAVE enough clothes for the trip. Of course I do... I've lived here all my life! :-)

Wonderful postcards, BTW, even if a lot of work. ;-)

The Luedtke Family said... #

How very lovely! What a neat keepsake. Do you know about Loveland, Colorado for a Valentine's stamp/cancellation? In January, you could get a Winter Carnival stamp cancellation. Dad always seems to know when the carnival post office is up and running.

I had no idea someone else out there was into postcards and the details like the cancellation stamp from the post office.

And yes, it is cold here in the midwest! I ventured out to get the mail, which wasn't there an hour after the usual time. So I ventured out again to eagerly gather the stack of today's Christmas cards. Then I ventured out again to turn off the car. Eric turned it on for me, I let it run for 30 minutes to thaw the ice-cover that covered all windows and doors. That was not so lovely, I am still shivering. And to top it off, we are back to brown/green grass; our pretty white ground cover melted in the rain yesterday.

JHNickodemus said... #

Love the postcard! Getting mail is always fun! Thanks for the link to the other post offices!

Anonymous said... #

Thanks for the post card tutorial. I think I'm going to give this a whirl. Great inspiration! Maggie