Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Deco Rush - Japanese "tape"

A co-worker told me about this awesome product from Japan and I immediately had to purchase one for myself. It’s similar to white out tape, but it has cute little illustrations on it instead. While it’s called tape, it’s not really like tape. It sticks to the paper, almost invisibly, but it can’t adhere something together like tape would. Best for decorating notes, envelopes and mail – any paper product really! The only problem I’ve had so far is the tape occasionally breaking apart. Applying even pressure usually fixes the problem though.

I bought a set that includes the tool, and three cartridges. They are really easy to change out, so you can purchase several different illustrated tapes. This set has clouds, airplanes and zephyrs, and hot air balloons. I also bought a cartridge that has colorful sloths wearing party hats!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Large Fractal Radiance Quilt

I finished this quilt top back in September to test the large Fractal Radiance pattern. I would say the most time consuming part was choosing the fabrics. This was a last minute test, so I didn’t have time to purchase fabric and I didn’t really want to spend money on new fabric. It forced me to use what I had in my stash (a lot of green and yellow solids), which also led to a more unexpected color combination – at least for me. I had to piece a few of the triangles (you’ll notice it in the upper right red triangle) due to fabric that wasn’t quite big enough, but I think it actually worked for this particular quilt pattern. I also incorporated some small prints that almost read as solids – and I think it worked well!

Four months later I finally got around to quilting and finishing the quilt. I have been doing so much geometric/straight quilting, I really wanted to get away from that, so I just did an overall scallop pattern inspired by an old quilt passed down in Jesse’s family. Since the colors are more playful, I think having the contrast between the piecing and quilting works. I also added a normal binding, instead of the facing finish I used on the small fractal. I’m not quite sure where this quilt will end up, but I’m also not ready to give it away either. If anything, it should be a decent size for a lap quilt. Want to make one of your own? Purchase the pattern here!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fabric Mini Postbox & Tutorial

This fabric mini postbox is the perfect place to deliver tiny notes (or Spin Pizza gift cards - yum!) throughout the year. Hang it from the doorknob to a bedroom, or in a special place for someone you love.

There are lots of ways to create a fiber version of the mini postbox. You could use felt, or use a fabric marker/pen to draw the details. I decided to “draw” my linework with quilting and to use cotton fabric. There is a layer of batting and backing fabric to make it cushy and give it some texture. I also cut out pieces from a second, lighter fabric to add dimension, though you could leave this part out to keep it simple. 

1. Download and print out template
2. Cut out a rectangle of fabric, slightly larger than your template. 
3. Depending on the material you use or how dark it is will determine how you transfer the template to your fabric. I used a light box (you could also hold it up to a window on a sunny day), and positioned the template under the fabric, which allowed the linework to show through the fabric. I used a water-soluble pen to trace the design onto the fabric. I also used a second, lighter fabric for pieces of the design. I used fusible web for this – laying the fusible web on top of the template to trace it, and than ironing onto the lighter fabric. Cut out each piece, peel away the paper, lay it into position on the top of your main fabric, and than carefully iron it into place. 
4. Place a piece of batting and backing behind your fabric. Using the linework you drew with the water-soluble pen as reference, quilt the design onto your fabric (free motion quilting works best). 
5. On the back of the quilted piece, carefully cut out the batting and backing of the mail slot, being sure not to cut into your front/main fabric. Cut as close to your quilting, without cutting any stitches. Sharp, small tipped scissors work best. Turn to the front, and cut fabric as shown in photo. 
6. Hot glue the fabric to the back, as shown in the photo. You now have a mail slot! 
7. Cut out your post box front (1/4” seam allowance is included in the template). 
8. Choose a backing for you postbox, and cut two rectangular pieces, with WRONG sides together. 
9. Choose a ribbon or string. I used bakers twine and cut to 9”. If using bakers twine, tie knots at each end for durability. 
10. Lay your post box front, right side down, onto your post box back, sandwiching your ribbon between the layers.. Stitch a quarter inch seam around your post box, leaving an opening at the bottom for turning inside out. 
11. Trim down backing, trim corners, and make clips in the curve at the top. Turn inside out and hand stitch closed. Write the recipient's name on the banner with a fabric pen/marker.
12. Hang somewhere special and place your little notes into the slot! If you don’t want your notes sliding down, squish up a little piece of fabric and place in the bottom of the postbox.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Mini Valentine Postboxes

A couple of years ago I made a Valentine’s box made out of cereal boxes that was inspired by an Italian postbox. You can find the tutorial here. While I still love that one in particular, I wanted something simpler, smaller and easier to put together. I’ve included downloads and a simple tutorial below if you would like to make one (or many) for Valentine’s this year! There are a couple of different versions - a mini flat version that fits in a 4 bar envelope, and a 3D version. They come in color OR black and white, in case you want to use colored paper in your printer. Both fit little notes the size of a business card – or even gift cards. It’s the perfect little Valentine for someone you love! They can also work after Valentines Day too, if you want a place to deliver tiny notes throughout the year.
Flat mini: Print. Cut out mail slot. Score the line between the front and back, as shown on the printout. On the backside, glue around edges only, making sure to avoid the center area. While glue is still wet, fold in half on the score line. Cut around the outside edge of the front of your postbox. Write the recipients name in the banner. Insert a little note into your mini post pox!

3D mini: Print. Cut out mail slot. Score on dashed lines. Cut sides and bottom of mail flap (the space with the banner) – leaving the top line scored, so it can open and close. Write the recipients name on banner. Cut out the post box. “Mountain fold” all scored lines. Add glue to tabs (a glue pen works best) and adhere to appropriate side. Insert little notes into the mini post box!
*Print on heavier paper or glue to a cereal box for added stability.