Back to School – September Reveal

My grandson went into kindergarten this fall.parker

He knows his ABC’s and I hope they still practice handwriting.

We practiced in a lined scribbler. That’s what came to my mind when I considered a ‘back to school’ theme for the 1 million mile postcard challenge. ABC’s and handwriting.

My September cards were done in a series. There are 8 cards that cover all the letters of the alphabet from A-Z with several art and/or quilting words for each letter. Instead of practicing handwriting with a pen, I was practicing handwriting with needle and thread.

Here are the cards. sept-all

Many words were left out because of space, but I still like the list so I’m publishing it here. My favorite these days is ‘nap’. Of course its a great textile word, but the other meaning is pretty sweet too. Are there words you would like to see added? You could help make a more complete list. Just give some suggestions…

  • Art, aesthetic
  • Beauty, balance, believe, background
  • Create, contrast, culture, contemporary, concept, colour
  • Design, define, decorate, document, dance, detail, dream
  • Energy, elaborate, eliminate, end
  • Form, function, finish, focal point, fabric
  • Gallery, give, gather, goal
  • Harmony, history, hue, HST
  • Imagination, illustrate, interpret, image, inspire
  • Journey, junk
  • Knowledge, knot
  • Line, light, label
  • Modern, meaning, meter
  • Name, nap nature, needle
  • Others, optics, ornate, original
  • Picture, poetry, photography, plan, perspective, pattern
  • Quilt, quarter-inch
  • Reason, raffle, realism
  • Space, search, spiritual, share, square, shape, size
  • Time, tone, text, title, triangle
  • UFO, undo, useful
  • Video, vision, value, vintage
  • Window, ward, work, weave, word
  • X-treme, X-citing (yes, it’s a stretch but can you think of anything else?)
  • You, yardage
  • Zigzag

This time I only made the 8 cards. If you received one you will be the only one with those letters of the alphabet. You don’t know the other recipients, but you are connected to them in this A-Z series.

The rest of my quilting was limited this week. I picked up some 100% wool duffel in a clearance bin that will be added to the mad scientist dye pile, and I worked on my 3 blocks that will be part of a 2018 raffle quilt. A very good quilter from our satellite group is in charge of the quilt and we are privileged both to learn from her and to contribute to the quilt. I may be able to show you a finished block next week. Today though, its back into the studio to work on my Sacred Threads quilt.

October’s theme for the 1 million mile challenge will be food related – “Fruits of the earth”. It’s appropriate for harvest. It’s appropriate for Thanksgiving. It’s appropriate for anything food related.

I happen to have an old cookbook of my mom’s. It has no cover, is well worn, stained and maybe even slightly burnt from the time it spent close to the wood stove. It is the Blue Ribbon 21st edition Cook Book (1905). The Foreword has this quote:

We may live without poetry, music and art;

We may live without conscience, and live without heart;

We may live without friends; we may live without books;

But civilized man cannot live without cooks.

-Lord Lytton

This could certainly make for some interesting conversation. Fortunately we don’t have to live without art. It is all around us. We have friends from around the world that we have never met. And cooks (both men and women) can be honoured, but they need the food that is grown in order to cook anything.

Have a great week. Look for something artistic today. Maybe its a colour (like red leaves), maybe its texture (like bark), maybe its a shape. And consider participating in the quilted postcard challenge in October. We would love to have you!

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The Mad Scientist (#4)- Going for Green

Will Hydrangea flowers give us a green botanical dye? How about these Juniper berries? You may recall last month I tried Juniper needles on the assumption that we would have better luck with an evergreen plant than with annuals. At the time I did not consider the results ‘green.’

First, this is a quilting blog, and I do quilt although at times it may not look like it. This week – what was I doing starting 3 (yes, three!) new projects? One project moved from the ‘cut’ stage to the ‘piecing’ stage. It’s my first log cabin & my first paper pieced project. It’s my Tuesday quilt group project and the kind friend who taught me the basics said I would not be able to let it sit for a week. She was right. Every morning I did 2 blocks just to get the day off to the right start. And every night I would do another 2 blocks to top the day off on a high note. Here I was sorting the pieces. That is always fun.sorting

Another project went from the ‘block’ stage to the ‘top finished’ stage. Now it’s in the ‘quilting’ que. And another went from the ‘concept’ stage to the ‘trial’ stage to the ‘trash bin’ stage. Oh to go through that again! That’s a story for another day.

September postcards were also in the works and should be in the mail this week. I love how they turned out! Next week I will do the big reveal, and announce the theme for October.

Back to the Hydrangeas, here are my jars sitting in the sun. hydrangea-jarsSee the Hydrangea flowers in the background? One jar has lemon and one jar has iron. Does it look like anything is turning green? A friend suggested that I take a look at Pioneer Thinking‘s website for a list of plants that dye green. Hydrangea flowers were on the list, and I happen to have them in my back yard.

In Mad Scientist Fun and Slow Textiles (Episode 2) I talked about the slow movement. As an interesting note, the BBC recently announced a new television series of ‘slow television’ after almost 1 million people watched a bus driving a 40 mile route around Yorkshire Dales for 2 hours. According to Wikipedia, the latest evolution of the concept (of slow tv) started with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation‘s coverage of a 7-hour train ride, followed by the live coverage a 134-hour ship voyage.

I find this interesting considering all the quilting magazines available in the stores make excessive use of the words ‘quick and easy.’ Mind you, even with ‘quilts in a day’, 7 hours will not get you all that far. What kind of quilt would 134 hours give you? Someone should suggest it to BBC.

My Mad Scientist experiments could give you about 12 hours of viewing relaxation for each experiment. What I cannot transfer to you are the smells. After my kitchen experiment of hosta leaves (think wet green grass), saskatoon berries (think Knott’s Berry farm), and curry, -well you get the picture! I started to reconsider the logistics of these experiments and now try to do just one at a time. The people I live with now make plans to leave on cooking days! We had visitors the day I did the experiment above. I still wonder what they thought!

Now, the results you have been waiting for. First, the Hydrangeas and then a comparison of the 3 plant materials we started with…hydrangea

green-comparison

So, what do you think? Did we get green? Isn’t it interesting that three plant materials which are so different, produce results that are so similar. You may notice that I have added to my supply of experimental fabrics. I actually considered winding up my Mad Scientist Series for the year until I came across a sale I couldn’t resist. 70% off. And there was a nice supply of natural white fabrics, so I have plenty to keep me busy until the snow flies.

garlic-and-ginger-pork-chopsAnd now, another recipe from Ken’s Kitchen. This time it’s ginger-garlic-pork-chops. An easy grilled recipe, served with a garden salad and applesauce.

Have a great week! A special thanks to those who make the effort to leave a comment.

 

 

Posted in recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Community

Times change. Quilters change. Locations change. Recipients change. But in the end, one person(s) gives to another person(s). In that sense, nothing changes. Quilting has always included giving. Just ask anyone involved in fires, floods, natural disasters, hospitals, armies, fundraisers, families, historians. Just mention a need, and quilters embrace the cause.

Yesterday, my local quilt group sewed 19 pillowcases thanks to a purchase of fabric made possible by St. Benedict’s Table, and fabric brought by some who wanted to clean off a shelf or two. Here are a few pics of them hard at work. Aka play.

We had a fun day and ended up with 19 completed pillowcases by the end. More will trickle in over the next few weeks.

These pillowcases will be included with other donated pillowcases and quilts to form a backdrop for CRAFTED at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. CRAFTED is a juried show and sale at the end of October that highlights local artists.

After the event, the pillowcases will be donated to children and teens at CancerCare Manitoba and the Children’s Hospital. A bright pillowcase not only brings a little cheer to someone going through a difficult time, it helps to personalizes their space and gives them a place to put personal possessions when they go for treatment.

Thanks for reading this post, and thanks to those that made these pillowcases possible. Have another creative week.

Posted in 2016, Highlighting others, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Quilted Postcard Stories

August’s theme -‘Go Vintage’was an interesting one!  Continue reading. I am sure you will be entertained. The theme for September in the 1 Million Mile Quilted Postcard Challenge is ‘back to school’. Not very original, but appropriate. It’s not too late to join the fun. Maybe you have a son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter or other special person entering kindergarten, university or anything in-between. Wouldn’t they love a few words of encouragement from you? Why not send them a card – snail mail style. Then tell me how many you sent and what the mileage was, so that they can be included in the 1 Million Mile challenge.ruth-aug

One of the first cards I received in August was from Ruth, and it’s a good one! I have to laugh every time I look at it.
What is more vintage than an apron? Ruth hit the nail on the head with her vintage fabric, apron lines and busty woman, but it was the flower that really sets it off. Can’t you see the wife in the kitchen making supper, all dressed up for hubby when he gets home? At least that’s the movie version. Ruth is a long arm quilter and also has a blog you might want to check out called Stitching Impressions.

marnie-augMarnie did a log cabin block. The log cabin block is about as vintage as the crazy quilt block. I had considered it but decided not to do the log cabin because of the small pieces that would be required. Marnie actually tackled it and then made me chuckle when she said she used fabric she thought replicated vintage fabrics. They were found in her stash under ‘ugly’ fabrics. Don’t we all have some of those?! Marnie has been participating in this challenge since Month 1 and at one point was running out of people to send cards to. In August though, she had a personal best of 10,000 miles. Way to go, Marnie!

verginia-augVirginia sent me a card from her trip to ‘the rock’. I was thrilled – not only to get the card but that it came from Newfoundland. There were 2 provinces that had not sent/received a card in the 1 million mile challenge – Newfoundland and PEI. Now only PEI is left. Does anyone know someone there that could use a card? Virginia says her husband didn’t think they could make a trip there just to mail a postcard! LOL

Back to Virginia… she was one busy lady once she got home. virginia-1First she made some vintage cards in order to keep up with the theme. Here is the one I received. It uses some vintage lace she had saved for some special purpose. Hard to get that these days!

Then Virginia made another 20 postcards for the people on her bus tour. She was kind enough to send me a picture and share her story…

“They are for the other travelers on our tour of Newfoundland.  The plaid is the Newfoundland tartan.  virginia2The fabric was given to us as a little bag with candies in it in our hotel in Gander. I gathered up enough to make them part of the postcards.   The mayor of Gander who was the mayor in 2001 came to speak to us about what happened (in 9/11) when a large number of planes and 4000 people were diverted there when the US airports were closed.  The people of the town and surrounding area welcomed these people and fed and clothed them for 4 days.  A heartwarming story.

The card with the car and road and highway sign is for our driver.  I couldn’t find any fabric with a bus on it.  They will go in the mail on Wed so the mileage will be in Sept…”

Her mileage in August alone was over 28,000! And that did not include the 20 cards that will be mailed in September.

A little closer to home, my niece’s daughter is a sweet 11/12 year old girl who loves to correspond with her Compassion Care sponsor child from Indonesia. One of the cards I made with a Canada flag was sent to her. Earlier in the summer she had a lemon aid stand where she raised over $100 selling lemon aid and cookies to construction workers so that she could sponsor more children. Another sister-in-law also took cards and mailed them to family and friends in places like Alaska and Romania.

Another chance meeting with an old friend happened recently when the topic of my 1 million mile challenge and quilted postcards came up. He is a member of the local Philatelic Society. He loved the postcards with stamps from Brasil, China, and Singapore. Are there stamp collecting clubs in your area? I didn’t even know they still existed. He took cards to mail to his pen pals in Japan and the Philippians.

Go here for a complete list of all the places our postcards have gone. 20 countries, and 589,300 miles. Here is the mileage by month…

  • January, 2016 – 33,000
  • February, 2016 – 37,400
  • March, 2016 – 94,300
  • April, 2016 – 160,900
  • May, 2016 – 45,900
  • June, 2016 – 7,200
  • July, 2016 – 133,500
  • August, 2016 – 77,100
  • TOTAL YTD – 589,300

steak-saladFinally, here is a recipe from Ken’s Kitchen for grilled-steak-salad. It is a nice light meal we enjoyed during the hot days of summer.

Have a creative week!

 

Posted in Highlighting others, quilted postcards, recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 4 Comments

August Reveal – ‘Go Vintage’

A challenge is not a challenge if its too easy. This month the postcards were a challenge in more ways than one.

The theme for the 1 million mile postcard challenge was ‘Go Vintage’. This time I had too many options and couldn’t decide.

I had fabric with pictures of vintage cars. This would have made easy postcards. Too easy.cars

I had fabric with pictures of traditional nursery rhymes. Cute but again, too easy. And not enough presence.nursery rhymes

I had 3 nails reclaimed from church pews (you can read more about that story here). They date back to 1882 and must have been hand crafted. It would have been nice to honour them. My thought was to transfer a picture of the nails to fabric and make postcards out of it. However, the picture did not transfer well so this idea was abandoned. The nails will be kept for another art project.nails

I do not really have any fabric that qualifies as vintage but found some crocheted doilies at a second hand store and I had some battenburg lace (used in heirloom sewing). Then I came across a few silk ribbon embroidery pieces I made in the 1990’s. It is often used in combination with crazy quilting and what is more vintage than crazy quilting! The decision was made.

Here is what Wikipedia says about crazy quilting.

Because the careful geometric design of a quilt block is much less important in crazy quilts, the quilters are able to employ much smaller and more irregularly shaped pieces of fabric. In comparison to standard quilts, crazy quilts are far more likely to use exotic pieces of fabric, such as velvet, satin, tulle, or silk, and embellishments such as buttons, lace, ribbons, beads, or embroidery. Crazy quilting as a textile art is extremely creative and free-flowing by nature, and crazy quilters will often learn as much about specific embellishments as they will about crazy quilting itself.

Crazy quilting became fashionable in the late 1800’s. Wikipedia credits an art show that combined English embroidery with Japanese art. Another popular theory is that women rebelled against the Victorian era that preceded it and felt liberated to use a variety of materials and stitches to create a quilt without any specific pattern. It began as a fashion but its popularity spread as women were free to use a wide variety of materials and scraps in their quilts. Even rags look better with a few embroidery stitches!ribbons

With a wide array of quilting scraps, ribbons, threads, beads, doilies, silk ribbon embroidered pieces, and a few specialty fabrics, I set out to make my minimum quota of 10 cards. And I almost didn’t make it. Some came close to hitting the circular bin, but perseverance paid off. All I had to do was make the cards and embroider a few seams. Wikipedia was right when it said that crazy quilting is very labour intensive.

I wish I could have made and sent everyone a card with silk ribbon embroidered flowers but according to Canada Post they were too thick to mail. At the last minute, I took a chance and mailed these 2 cards to In-Between, for a pop-up art show and sale sponsored by the Swiss Hand Embroider’s association. With a little luck they might make it there.august2016

The rest of the cards are a combination of fabrics, embroidery and lace. The one thing they have in common is that they all employed the crazy quilting technique. Interestingly enough, the ‘Go Modern’ cards in July and ‘Go Vintage’ cards in August were all primarily solids. What is old is new again. As for the fabric with the nursery rhymes? I couldn’t quite give up on the idea of using it, so they went on the back.

Next week I will show you some of the wonderful cards I received in August. They will make you chuckle.  There are also some interesting places and people the cards are being sent to. Stay tuned for that.

As for September – the theme will be ‘back to school’. Not very original, but appropriate. Maybe you have a son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter or other special person entering kindergarten, university or anything in-between. Wouldn’t they love a few words of encouragement from you? Why not send them a card – snail mail style.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a creative week!

Posted in 2016, challenges, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Mad Scientist, Episode 3

Organic plant dyes are not predictable.That’s what makes them interesting. In experiment 1 and 2, we got some blues /purples, a very pretty yellow and lots of brown – apparently nature’s favorite colour. This time I was looking for red and green.

imageI was hoping to get red from pincherries – a pretty, little red wild berry.
Pincherries make excellent jelly if you can find enough to give you at least 6 cups of juice. I only had 3 cups. Not enough for jelly, and barely enough for this experiment.

I divided the juice into 3 one cup portions. The first was left without additive. I added lemon to the second and iron mordant to the third. My expectation was that the one with lemon would be a lighter red (maybe even pink) and the one with iron would be darker. Here is the result. Pretty, but not much of a difference.pincherry

If you remember in my last mad scientist experiment, I used Hosta leaves in hopes of getting a green dye. That didn’t happen. What happened was that the Hosta leaves turned brown just like they naturally would at the end of a growing season. It made me wonder…

juniper plantWould a plant that does not die over winter, such as an evergreen produce a green dye? To test this theory, I used juniper needles. Another interesting smelling kitchen – just a little too early in the morning for the strong gin smell!

This time I divided the liquid into 2 batches; one with iron mordant and one without. The change was instant. But not very green. The juniper with iron is the closest – almost grey/green. Unfortunately, it was the batch that had the least fabric!juniper

imageStill searching for green, I found green tea leaves in a kitchen drawer.
Not being fond of green tea, it wasn’t much of a sacrifice to use for the experiment.green tea

It looks like my search for green will continue. The reference material says Fennel, Olive leaves or Fig leaves make excellent dye sources for yellows and green -not like we have any of those available. It also says red cabbage is fun to experiment with so my next question is: if red cabbage is a good dye source (for blues and lavenders), will green cabbage produce a green dye? It just might be worth a try.

Have a great week. Look around and tell me what natural plants might produce a green dye.

 

Posted in mad scientist, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Tina & I on retreat

This week I hung up the paint brushes, tile cutters and anything else construction related. It was bonding time with Tina (my sewing machine at the lake).

Before we get to quilting, here is the vanity I was working on. It was inspired by an antique store I visited in Singapore where they modernized antiques with chalk paint and glass. This piece was a sideboard made with reclaimed wood. It was the right size, and had a drawer that could be removed for a sink, but was the wrong colour. A perfect piece to personalize! Chalk paint is easy to work with – it goes on anything without stripping or sanding first. Instead of glass, I used epoxy as a sealer for the top. It gives it a high gloss thick finish. Not quilting but still fun.

Tina helped me put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Once the front was done we had lots of little pieces left over and since we don’t like to waste fabric, we left Humpty Dumpty in pieces on the back. This one is going to be quilted by someone with a long arm so you won’t see it again for a number of months. (Sorry for the quality of the photos. The black really did not want to transfer well)

You voted, and the winning layout is done. I will quilt this one but the ideas have to perculate for awhile. Right now I am seeing (moving upper left corner down) pink sunsets, blue water, green grass, brown earth. Hopefully the quilting inspiration doesn’t take to long…image

In the spring I pieced Grandson No 2 a quick and easy quilt for his visits to the lake. Last year he was still using baby blankets. This year he will be 2 and needs something a little bigger. Lake season is almost over, so it is definately time to finish! I sure am glad boys get cheerful colours these days. It is a panel with a piano key border using fabrics from my stash – a mixture of cotton and flannel. It was a good quilt on which to practice free-motion embroidery.image

Next on the agenda are August postcards. It’s not too late if you want to participate. Just let me know by the end of this week. The theme is “Go Vintage’ so think of your favorite vintage anything and put it on a card. I have already received one that made me chuckle. I loved it and am looking forward to showing it to you the first Wed in September.

Be creative, and have a great week. Thanks for stopping by.

Posted in 2016, Reclaimed and Repurposed, Scraps, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Lil’ Twister

The bathroom reno is almost done. In the last 2 months I haven’t done very much quilting but during the renovation process we removed a closet in order to make the bathroom bigger. Guess what I found. A UFO. A bag of fabric that was there for almost 2 years – everything needed to make a Lil’ Twister quilt. The inspiration to make it came back. All I needed to do was cut some 5″ black squares to go along with the charm packs.

Then I laid it out and chain stitched the squares together.lil twister2

It’s quite pretty, don’t you think?lil twister3

But I am only half done. Now I have to cut it up …lil twister4

And put it back together again. lil twister1

This just might be called my Humpty Dumpty quilt. Well, that will be next week’s job, along with the back.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Have a creative week.

Posted in 2016, Uncategorized, WIP | 16 Comments

Q & A – 1 Million Mile Challenge

What an awesome month July was for our 1 million mile Quilted Postcard Challenge .We partnered with Sheila’s Quilt World and combined our 1 Million Mile challenge with her postcard swap. So how far did we go? An amazing 133,500 miles! That brings our total to 512,200 miles in only 7 months. We are now over half way to our goal!!!

Look at the beauties I recently received…july received

One of these cards is from Brazil – a new ‘friend’ I wish I could meet in person, but now  have the pleasure of exchanging tidbits of information along with quilted postcards. Another is from someone I recently met in Singapore and has never quilted but made her first ever quilted postcard-and then sent it from a mystery location of Shanghai, China! Another participated in her first ever postcard swap, and then there are faithful friends who I enjoy connecting with every month.

There are new people interested in this challenge so I thought a review of the challenge would be in order and I could address questions that I have been asked in the last few months. Such as…

What is the 1 million mile challenge?

  • it is a challenge to see how long it will take for our postcards to go 1 million miles. Since quilting is a craft that is enjoyed around the world, my vision is to blanket the world with quilted postcards. We started January 1, 2016. Now we are over half way in just 7 months. When will it end?
  • since it is about tracking miles, it doesn’t matter who sends the cards or where they are sent. If you are sending cards, let me know how many you sent, and how many miles they covered. Locations are nice but not necessary.

Why are you doing this?

  • to encourage quilters to try  something new
  • to practice and encourage mini-art
  • to make people smile. Can’t you just see a mail delivery person looking at a card that is so different from the regular mail? Can’t you see the nursing home resident pinning the card to their wall or door?

Who should I send the cards to?

  • a friend. You don’t have to be a quilter to appreciate receiving a card. Isn’t it better than junk mail or a bill? Can’t you see your friend pinning the card to their cubicle wall and thinking of you whenever they look at it?
  • how about a grandchild. Wouldn’t they love a special card as a keepsake from Grandma (or Grandpa)?
  • how about sending them to yourself from a holiday destination? Make some cards ahead of time and send them from each of the locations you visit. You think you will remember a certain day forever but if you write a note on the back of the card indicating what you did that day, it will give you details you would otherwise forget. Besides, if you send a card, you won’t feel pressured to find that special souvenir.
  • another quilter. It’s so much fun to connect with someone from another part of the world
  • anyone you would send a thank you card to

Why make them?

  • because they are fun to make
  • you can practice a design on a small space. You don’t have to come up with a design that takes months to make and hundreds of dollars only to realize that it isn’t what you envision.
  • you can practice a new skill
  • you can use up tiny bits of fabric that you would otherwise throw away
  • there is some (almost) instant gratification
  • it’s personal. No one else will come up with cards like yours

What should I do with the ones I receive?

  • some people collect cards with stamps from different parts of the world
  • you can display them with plate stands, and easily change your ‘art collection’whenever you wish
  • if you enjoy scrapbooking, you can include them in your holiday photo’s
  • if you have made a quilt for a grandchild (or someone else that is special ( i.e. a wedding or graduation quilt), why not send them a postcard so that they can frame it as a picture for their wall that will match their quilt

How is this different from other postcard swaps?

  • most swaps have someone collecting addresses and assigning partners.
  • in this challenge I will send you a card even if you don’t make one in return. You are helping me practice a skill and collect miles
  • I will exchange cards with you. It is now fun to collect the mail everyday to see if there are any cards in the mail. Even dear hubby gets excited when your card arrives.
  • I announce a different theme every month which you can choose to follow or not. The theme is there to help stretch our creativity. The theme for August is ‘Go Vintage’.

How should I mail my card(s)?

  • like regular postcards. 99% of the time they will get where they are going. I have mailed hundreds and only know of one that did not reach it’s destination
  • they can be mailed anywhere in the world

What supplies do I need and what if I can’t get them?

  • if you can’t get supplies I can mail you some.  I don’t intend to make this a business but want you to be able to enjoy making postcards too. I will send you a starter kit that includes printed instructions plus 5 pre-cut double adhesive flexi-firm pieces and 5 pre-stamped backs for $10 (Cdn) plus postage. Just send me a comment and we can make arrangements.

It is summer and hard to get back to sewing but I hope you will give this a try and join in the fun. Have a great week.

 

 

 

Posted in 2016, quilted postcards, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

‘Go Modern’ Reveal

The theme for July’s 1 Million Mile Postcard Challenge was ‘Go Modern.’ I love the look of modern quilts, but when it came down to making a modern postcard, I struggled. Modern quilting is about the use of bold colours – mostly solids. It is about contrasting colours. It is about linear lines. It is minimalistic. It is about expansive negative space. How do you get all of that on a 4×6 inch card?modern mccalls

I worked out at least 4 different designs but they all seemed too simple. Boring. Then I saw Criss Crossing by Jen Shaffler in McCall’s Quick Quilts (August/September 2016) issue and decided the center block would be perfect. But it still took 10 cards before I was satisfied with the modern look!

I started with batiks, just because I love working with them. But it looked like the side strips were added simply because the block wasn’t big enough to cover the whole card. They didn’t look like they were part of the design.modern1

Then I went to 2 colour blocks (including the colours Jen used) with white corners. That was better. Not much ‘negative space’ but the side panels looked like they belonged. And I probably would never have used turquoise and orange together otherwise.modern2

Next I went to 1 colour +grey blocks. At the beginning I used greys with the same colour value as the colour they were paired with. I really liked those. They were simple but bold.modern3

As a side note, in January I wrote about the scrap saving method and I have been cutting and saving these scraps ever since. This is the first time I have used any of these precious scraps. Scraps as small as 1 1/2″ squares, 2 1/2″ squares and strips of various lengths. I did not do any cutting for these postcards, other than trimming after the fact. Wow, did it speed things up!

When I ran out of small dark grey squares, I reversed things and selected 2 1/2″ grey squares for the center X and small 1 1/2″ coloured squares for the arrows. I even tried a patterned fabric. The pattern was modern, but in the end it wasn’t very bold. The next one was! The colour was so bold, the grey faded into the background. The arrows, rather than the X became dominant.

That’s when I had an ah-ha moment. The lighter grey became negative space. And I didn’t need to use 10 squares of 1 colour, I could mix it up. Now I had small pops of brightly contrasting solid colours with lots of negative space. A little really does go a long way. But why does it take some of us so long to learn? Sigh. modern4

Since we went modern in July, lets ‘Go Vintage’ in August. It could be a vintage block, it could be vintage fabric, lace, clothing, tablecloths or anything that reminds you of the past. Maybe a trip to a second hand store might inspire you.

Thanks for stopping by and reading about my experience with modern postcards. It’s all a learning process. Next week I will give you the miles and locations for July. It is shaping up to be a banner month. Until then, have a great week.

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