Saturday, December 18, 2010

My First Tutorial

I have learned how to do many things from online tutorials. So I kept thinking, "Hey, I should write a tutorial." But about what? And then a link popped up on the bottom of my blog yesterday and it triggered something back in my brain, so I clicked on it, and guess what? I already have written a tutorial. Thank goodness for Blogger archives because my brain doesn't archive things that far back....

I made monthly postcards for each of my grandchildren for a year, until they turned 1.  So for the four of you who already read this back in 2008, please feel free to move on. For the rest of you, the encore presentation of my first tutorial: '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?
And there you have it. My first tutorial. I realize it's too late to get the holiday-themed postmark for Christmas, but keep in mind that this would make a great gift for Valentine's Day as well. I'm thinking Loveland, Colorado....


05 08
felicity said... #

Thanks for this tute! What a lovely gift for Charlotte and Levi's first year.

Anne at Film and Thread said... #

What a great idea! How about if you add tiny grommets to one edge so they could be saved and bound together into a little book?

Terriaw said... #

these are so adorable! I love this idea. I have always wanted to make a fabric postcard, so I am definitely going to try this. I know it's going to make me wish my handwriting was prettier. Thanks for sharing!

Bec said... #

Oh it's so cute!! What a great idea!! Xx have a wonderful Christmas xx

The Luedtke Family said... #

I just made two holiday postcards two days ago, thanks to your tutorial long ago! They have been mailed AND delivered to the house under the stairs! I am going to love the mail slot and hopefully so will the kiddos! The address of course, was for the play-house and not our real address. I love, love, love
3017 S. Stair Way
and instant mail delivery!

C said... #

So clever! I working on an apron tutorial at the moment.

Angie said... #

I did quilted Christmas cards too (will be posting on Christmas day). Since I used real batting, I was hesitant to put them through the mail and need extra postage. Thus, I stuffed them in envelops. Did you put your's through the mail?