Friday, December 19, 2014

Some assembly required

I recently sent out my Christmas cards and gifts.  Those who know me, know I'm often unable to finish a piece, or if I do, I struggle beyond words when it comes to tying knots.  My hands simply don't work that way.

After I mailed three international pieces, and hand wrote a note inside the card, my hands cramped so much, I couldn't finish the job.  But, I knew all my friends' hands were in much better shape than mine.  And if they weren't they had significant others who could perform the job.

But, allow me to start at the beginning.

I confess I stole  copied  borrowed this technique from my friend Helen (Stamping by H).  Rest assured, I warned her I was going to take this technique and run with it.  I started by running my new stamp pad I got on clearance at Mrs. O'Leary's over the paper.  Now that is nothing new.  What IS NEW, is this was done on copier/printer paper.  It was the perfect thickness for the cards I wanted to make.

Next, I made several masterboards.  Now these aren't all that popular in the States, but my British friends have embraced them for a couple of years.  I began with the snowflake stamp I picked up a few years ago at Michael's for $1.49 (US), along with two never used snowman stamps.  This one was too large for the job,

but this one was just right.  After stamping the snowflakes in white pigment ink and allowing them to dry overnight (yes, pigment ink takes FOREVER to dry, but I've never found white in anything other than pigment based ink), I stamped the snowmen.  I don't care how many of these I make, I somehow always make some silly stamping mistake.   These were made for my international friends and all but one were long gone before I shot the next photos.

The next day, I started the assembly process, which meant even more stamping.

I still can't get it right.  I'm calling it ARTISTIC GRUNGE.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

I was tired of all that stamping, so I printed the insides using my word processing program.   I picked a font I hoped went well with the sentiment.

I had cut the masterboards 1/2" smaller than the overall size of the cards, giving me a nice border.  I never measure, going with my "gut" when I place things like this.  However, I have a rather uncooperative guillotine cutter, so the cuts aren't always straight. 

These eight are now finished and ready for the next step. 

I created a smaller, thinner version of my Tea Tales by sewing a piece of my eco-dyed fabric from my first batch.  These were made using a very thin white bed sheet, and were the perfect thickness.  At the top, I hid a piece of balsa wood to keep the quiltlet from sagging when hung, and used my crop-a-dile to cut holes in the top.  I added a bit of embellishment, then the tea bag holder and tape transfer assembly I sewed on top of the embellishment.

I suspect I'm getting ahead of myself, though, because I have to show the back, which I also made from another masterboard I created during a MOO-Mania session.  Now you see why I don't care for my handwriting.  I believe this one went to Cindy in Canada, but I can't be sure, since I sent hers a day after I sent the ones to my British friends that I didn't bother photographing.

This one went to my friend Halle, and it was so obviously wrinkled, I had to do something about the rest of them.  Of course, I was fighting the clock, and was taking shortcuts at this point.

After I ironed the very wrinkled fabric, I tore it to size and began the assembly process again.  However, I completely forgot

to add a small embellishment behind the tea bag holder on two of these.   It took me that long to remember what I had forgotten.  My blonde moment was showing.

Thankfully, I remembered it on this one.

It always saddens me that I can't get the shine and glare out of the photos, so I tried a different angle to show you truly can see the tea tale beneath the bird.

Although the last two I sent I haven't heard back from yet, I will show the last of the birds.  When I ran out of birds, I allowed Bleubeard to pick some of his favorite animals, but failed to photograph them, because I was trying to get them in the mail before it was too late to send them. 

The UP SIDE to this tale that required my friends to assemble the ribbon hanger I included with their package is: the card, the quiltlet, and the typed letter I included (since my hands were no longer capable of hand writing the messages) all went for a SINGLE postage stamp each.  So, why send just a card, when a small, thin gift will go for the same price?  After all, I AM the Queen of Free, and the quiltlet was sort of a freebie since I was sending the card, anyway.

Thanks for visiting.  I hope this has inspired you, just as some of my internet friends have inspired me this Christmas season and throughout the year.

And please remember, Google is the Christmas grinch.  You DO NOT have to include the word verification numbers when you leave me a comment.  Simply hit publish and your comment will appear.

17 thoughtful remarks:

Nan G said...

I love them! I would be /will be so thrilled to assemble said quiltlet. Your hands my hands differing reasons but same hangy-onto-the-pen. :) I've tried teaching the girls how to type but they get carried away with the graphics and I ended up editing too much. ;) Have a wonderful Christmas E and Bleubeard! I'll get a card out as soon as I find the card stock. Tehe Warm holiday hugs from all us Girls.

massofhair said...

Lucky friends Elizabeth, gorgeous Arty hand crafted quilts who could ask for more!

Love your ideas, thank you for sharing! :-) xxx

Carol said...

Love the cards!!! Some days my hands work and some days they don't. I have noticed that they work more often now that I am not working in the Paint Dept any longer. Merry Christmas!!!!

Patsy Paterno said...

Hi Elizabeth, I always love to see works in progress! I like to make step by step pictures too, and sometimes intend too, but I get so absorbed in the making, that I completely forget! I like those rusty looking collages! So interesting! I'd ask for an exchange but I have sent you two rocking horse ATCs and neither has gotten to you, so I won't!!! One day, I will be successful!!! Our postal office is such a :^(((( A blessed season to you, Elizabeth!

Helen said...

love the cards you made, so glad you enjoyed the technique (which isn't mine but one I loved first time I saw it) Hope your gift recipients enjoy the packages when they arrive.

Jane said...

Such fun to see the step-by-step of how you do the things! Hard to believe you got the card & quiltlet sent for the one stamp - bravo!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

The masterboard is new to me but is such a good idea! I'm sure all the recipients of your quiltlets with be thrilled--especially to see those excellent vibrant tape transfers!

johanna said...

so nice to see your Christmas preparations, i love the step-by-step photos. have a wonderful 4th Advent Weekend, elizabeth!

froebelsternchen Susi said...

Amazing quilts and adorable cards.. oh my.. your friends will be happy about this gifts dear Elizabeth!
Thank you for sharing your progress again, I so enjoy seeing this !

Nancy said...

You have been very busy, in a good way! Lovely gifts. I just read an article about making master boards, and it makes a lot of sense. Sounds like fun, too.

Divers and Sundry said...

You've been busy! I have a special fondness for snowmen and enjoyed following along with your card-making process. Christmas fun! :)

pearshapedcrafting said...

What a lovely idea-I do love that springy snowman! Chrisx

TwinkleToes2day said...

These are completely wonderful! Your friends are very lucky peeps indeedy :o))

Halle said...

I love mine! It's already assembled. As you know...I'm in love with that snowman stamp. He makes me so happy!

see you there! said...

I'm sure there will be a bunch of delighted friends when they open their mail. Never heard the term "masterboards" before.


Cindy McMath said...

Ooh Elizabeth, your quiltlets are smashing! I love the birds, but whatever Bleubeard picked was lovely too I'm sure. :) And your cards amaze me because you cut them on a guillotine cutter and they look perfect. I use a rotary cutter and find it easy to get things fairly even but not with that type!

kathyinozarks said...

very nice