Friday, August 12, 2011

Creativity Day 16 - Photos on Fabric

Okay, sometimes the internet is your friend and sometimes it is not.  After a few days of internet browser issues, that I hope have been resolved, I am back.

Among my hobbies is photography, I love taking pictures of everything, especially flowers.  Every year I like to photograph my garden with before and after pictures, but this year the drought in Texas has kept me from doing much gardening.  A few weeks ago we traveled to visit family in Indiana which up to that point had the perfect amount of rain to grow some of the most beautiful flowers I have seen all summer.  I spent a day taking pictures of some of the lovely scenery and I have decided to add a new technique to my postcard making.  Color photos on fabric is a new thing for me.  I have done several photo quilts but the photographs have always been in black and white so doing color photos will be a new experience.

I think this is going to make a beautiful greeting card for a birthday, housewarming or just to say hello, the message on the back is up to the sender.  I was surprised at how vivid the colors were on the fabric and I think I will finish up the postcard and maybe even do a bit of bead embellishment on a couple of the other pictures I have.  One more beautiful and easy to personalize idea to add to my shop.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Creativity Day 15 - Read All About It

"Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it."
P.J. O'Rourke
I had to skip yesterday's creativity project because my iron died.  Arrangements have been made and in lieu of flowers just send words of encouragement to the new addition to my sewing room.  I promise not to abuse her too much, I am getting a new ironing board to make sure that she feels more secure and doesn't topple over the edge as often as my last one did.

I love creating quick and easy little items in between my custom orders and larger quilting projects, so for today's post I am featuring a bookmark that I made to accompany my new book, "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett.

 This bookmark is made very much like the postcards, using the Pellon Peltex stabilizer and fusing fabric on both sides.  I combined 2 machine embroidery designs in a bright green color to embellish the front of the bookmark.   I then placed a ribbon between the top and the backing fabric and then satin stitched all around. This method catches the ribbon securely and gives all the edges a clean finish.

This was a fun little project made using fabric scraps and bits of ribbon that were not large enough to use for anything else.  There are some more ideas bouncing around in my head because there is an over abundance of scraps lying around my sewing room, so we will see what I come up with next.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Creativity Day 14 - Wrap it Up!

"Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting."
Princess Elizabeth Bibesco

Continuing on the holiday theme I decided to create a few smaller items.  These are fabric gift tags that measure about 3 inches square with a ribbon for hanging on a gift and/or on the tree.  Just like my fabric postcards these can be personalized on the back using an ultra fine tip sharpie marker or permanent ink fabric pen.

I love to add something special to my holiday gift wrapping and these can be personalized so that the receiver can use them year after year as a holiday decoration of their own.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Creativity Day 13 - Push those Buttons

"It is far more difficult to be simple than to be complicated."
John Ruskin

Sometimes using the simple things to create with can be more difficult than using a more complex item or design. For my day 13 project I took some simple green buttons and created a new Christmas postcard design.  I went through my big vintage milk bottle where I store some of my button collection and found enough green buttons to create the design I had in mind.  I like to hand stitch each button individually to make sure that they are secure on the card.  

Using postcards for my creativity project has made it possible to create individual items everyday and using items that I have on hand has also helped me dig deeper into the stash of ideas I keep in my head.  Learning to find new uses for items is what fuels the creativity and makes every finished item unique and special.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Creativity Day 12 - Presentation

"It is not enough to stay busy.  So, too, are the ants.  The question is what you are busy about."
Henry David Thoreau

As a business woman I participate in numerous Holiday craft shows so how I present my products is always part of the sale experience.  I also like to put my best foot forward when I mail a customer their purchase they have made through my Etsy shop, I think it adds a positive note to the mail order experience.  Sometimes even though we feel that we have explained how something is used or think that it should be obvious to a customer that is not always the case.  The addition to a package of suggestions or instructions is always a helpful and thoughtful thing to do.  So, last night, as part of my creativity project,  I decided to design an insert for my fabric postcards.  I worked on a design that would have product and business info on one end of the sheet that would fold over to the front of the cellophane packaging and instructions and/or suggestions for use of item on the back of the package.

I made a text box at the top with the name of the item and business info that I rotated so that when it was printed out this section looks upside down.  I then added the instructions/suggestions info to read right side up and added a couple of photos to help with visual instructions.

Once edges are trimmed with a ruler and rotary cutter(used for paper only) I fold the top section and staple it in place on the postcard packaging and add a piece of double stick tape to hold the back flap secure.  Using these clear wrappers keeps the postcards clean and makes the end product look much more professional and since I do craft shows it makes it possible for customers to handle the items and still keeps my merchandise clean.

Taking a few extra steps might just close that next sale and customers appreciate a professional presentation especially when they are buying handcrafted items.

Presentation is everything!  Lets put our best foot forward in everything we do.  How do you make your products shine?  Share or comment please.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Creativity Day 11 - Day of the Dead Memorial Wall Hanging

"Life is a great surprise.  I do not see why death should not be an even greater one."
Vladimir Nabokov

I took a mini class at the Houston International Quilt Show a few years ago on how to make a Day of The Dead wall hanging and being of Hispanic background, I have always wanted to make one for my Mother who passed away 16 years ago.  The class was part of the "Make It University" with "Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine" Workshops which is an inexpensive way to take a class that includes all supplies and instruction by the artist.  You don't have to invest lots of time, most projects take 1-2 hours and the cost is only $15 which is great because there is time for questions and even one on one help if you find that the class is a new technique to you. Admittance into the class is done by drawing names out of a fish bowl and you have to be present to get in and payment is cash only so it is exciting and fun from start to finish.  I recommend taking a chance on getting into one of these classes if you attend Quilt Festival, it is a great way to learn new techniques.

Yesterday was Day 11 and this is what I made:

It is not quite finished because I want to add a few more embellishments and a ribbon for hanging on the wall.  I  did use some of Mom's favorite colors and she loved flowers so I made a one using antique Mother of Pearl buttons, one felt free form cut flower and added some pink roses trim.

This morning I copied a picture of her that was perfect for this little memorial hanging and she just happened to be wearing colors that went along with the color scheme I chose.

There is a picture frame pocket to add a photograph and there is also a pocket behind the photo to add any special mementos that you don't want out for all to see.  This has been a special project and one that I will hanging in my sewing room so she can keep me company everyday while I work.

I have special memories about the person that inspired me to be who I am, I hope you will share some memories or at least that my project will bring back memories of someone special you love and is no longer with us.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Creativity Day 10 - Holiday Greetings

In keeping with the holiday spirit I spent today creating another postcard.  This one would be great to send to family, friends or anyone that you think is special.

The holiday season will be here before we know it so it is best to start planning now how we want to share with family and friends.  This item would also make a great hostess gift if you are planning to visit someone for Thanksgiving dinner.  Just write you thank you message on the back and it will be a special gift for your host to remember you by.  We usually have family at our home for dinner and I think I would love it if someone thought enough of me to bring me a special gift such as this.  

What do you do for the holidays?  Share your thoughts and comments.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Creativity Day 9 - Fall Table Runner

After having made some holiday postcards I decided it was time to start gearing up with inventory for my holiday craft shows.  I also hope that creating Fall items will help me at least feel like it is getting cooler even when it is 100 degrees outside.

Fall brings about changing leaves from green to gold with varying shades of orange in between so I created this Fall runner to showcase those colors.

I always like to make my runners reversible, sometimes you just want to change things up during the holidays, so why not get a two for one deal with pumpkins and squash on the back to celebrate the season.

Holidays mean family and friends getting together sharing meals and having a good time, so why not dress up your surroundings with handmade items that reflect the season to add to the mood.  I love the holidays and decorating is always a family affair so this item is perfect for celebrating Fall.