Notebook Cover and Postcards Embellished

I headed for Blue Door Beads — I just love the name and, yes, they have a blue door — this morning to find something special for the closure on the notebook cover just completed. I think I found just the right thing (click on image for larger view):

Notebook front

Notebook front

I had fun choosing the fabric for inside flaps

Notebook open

Notebook open

and the photo image on the inside cover of the notebook is from an old issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

Notebook back

Full notebook cover

Here are 3 of the postcards that are embellished and ready to address and finish edges.

While I was completing the above project I decided to make use of a Mola that my sister gave me recently. (If you aren’t familiar with the origins of the Mola, be sure to visit the link above!) This one is particularly lovely and deserves to be useful.

Mola Notebook cover

Mola Notebook cover

Mola Notebook cover 2

Full Mola Notebook cover

I think Christy will be pleased that this lovely Mola is not going to languish in my stash.

To see the Genesis of all this, click here.

This post has been shared with Off the Wall Fridays.

White on White Done

The four designs I chose for the White-on-White theme with Postmark’d Art are done. Ta da! This has been especially satisfying for me because the inspiration for the 4 designs was immediate and all are completed before the official start date for the trade has begun. Believe me, it doesn’t always happen that way so I am celebrating.

Plus — and this is a BIG PLUS — thanks to Kalia, a reader who shared tips on getting better photographs of these postcards, I actually have images that are much truer to the actual postcards. Thank you, Kalia! To honor the time and effort you shared with me I looked into the resources you shared in your comment (see the comment here) and I had great success. (I’m looking forward to even more refinement with my next photo shoot because the recommended wattage for the light bulb was 100 but I had only a 75 watt bulb.) So here they are, all ready to stamp and drop in the nearest mail box. Click on an image for a larger view.

The metallic zing of the thread stitching here still does not show – – I need to do more research on how to achieve that with the camera. I chose an elegant silver rope-braid cording to finish the edge on this floral design.

Franki Kohler, White FloralThe ginkgo fairly begged to be finished with a traditional quilt binding. How could I refuse? Binding a postcard with fast2fuse™ in the middle is a challenge but I think it’s worth the effort.

Franki Kohler, White GinkgoWhite satin cording finishes the edge of the Maple

Franki Kohler, White Mapleand the sunflower.

Franki Kohler, White SunflowerNow, on to a larger project that is calling me.

This posting is shared with Off the Wall Fridays.

White on White 4

This is the final design I’ve created for the White-on-White trade with Postmark’d Art. For this design I pulled out my needle-felting machine. I felted the roving directly onto fast2fuse: the first layer of roving is a very light cream-colored wool; the second layer is a scrumptious Angora roving. The Angora is very white and ever-so soft — it was a real pleasure to work with.

Franki Kohler, White on White 4I drew a leaf design on the top and proceeded to embroider by hand with a very narrow white ribbon. Unfortunately, getting the needle through the fast2fuse and 2 layers of roving proved to be just too difficult. A change of strategy was necessary. I drew the leaf design on the reverse side, filled a bobbin with Ricky Tim’s Razzle Dazzle™ and popped a 90/14 topstitch needle in my machine. It worked like a charm. I haven’t done any felting or bobbin work in quite a while so this was a treat.

The design needed a little something else. Beads to the rescue! I have just a bit more beading to do on several other postcards, then I’ll be ready to trim and finish them all. Voilá! The end is in sight. Stay tuned.

See the first 3 designs in this mini series here, here and here.

White on White III

Inspiration comes from the darndest places. My friend Jenny Lyon pays attention to paper products and that’s where I found the design used here. Who knew that a box of tissues could fire the imagination?

Franki Kohler, White on White 3Even simplified, this design has plenty of detail. I tried new lighting to take this photograph and had some success, but not complete. After many attempts, I put this piece on the floor and had better results. The small white floral design on the fabric shows best at the right edge where the fabric extends beyond the fast2fuse. Metallic-wrapped white thread was used to stitch the floral design. The seed beads in the center of the flowers are #8 pearl finish; outer seed beads are #11 in pearl, clear, white and amber. It measures 5″ x 7″ now and will be trimmed to 4″ x 6″ when I’m ready to attach the address on the opposite side. As with the other postcards in this series, the edge finish will be determined when they are trimmed to size.

This series has been great fun! A 4th design is well on its way. See the first two here and here.

Fabric Postcards – White on White

The new round of trading has not yet begun for Postmark’d Art but the theme ideas that are being voted on are inspirational — particularly White on White. The trade (our 19th round!) will officially begin February 1 so I have time to play with some ideas that are bubbling up.

I couldn’t resist pulling out some ribbons to create a new fabric. Here I have used cream grosgrain and cotton ribbons along with a very white ribbon that decorated a box of chocolates. The gold lettering says Coco Délice and, I think, lends a little touch of sophistication.

Franki Kohler, White on WhiteI used 12-weight variegated cotton thread on the body of the ginkgo and outlined it with variegated metallic thread. I really like the pattern created by the textures of the woven ribbons and I think I’ll be forgiven for including cream colors — they provide contrast and punch.

I’m trying to decide if this needs more thread work or other embellishments before I cut it apart for two postcards. Meanwhile, I have a start on another idea.

This is an Off The Wall Friday posting.

Unconditional Love

Can anyone have too much? I think not! Mendelssohn has once again inspired a design in fabric — this time for the postcard trade I’m doing with the Typography theme group of Postmark’d Art. (I shared two of the postcards I’ve already received from this trade here.)

Here is Mendelssohn digitized — that’s software speak for turning a graphic line — in this case, using a photograph image — into a line of stitching.


Using my digitizer software, I designed the lettering then combined the 2 designs into one on my embroidery machine. Pretty nifty stuff really. August 20, 2000 is the date that he came to live with us.

I looked through my stash of fabric to find something appropriate for the address side of the postcard. I don’t think it gets any better than this!

12-21 Address Fabric

Here is the postcard finished:


A simple line of stitching at the very edge of the postcard is the perfect thing to hold the edge and not distract from the design. The edges were then painted to hide the white fast2fuse filling and create a smooth edge in case the postcard is subjected to machine franking at the post office. (The post office charges 20 cents extra to mail them due to ‘special handling.’ Most often, though, they are put through the same machine as any paper postcard.)

And the address side — here I have blocked out the recipient’s information:

Franki Kohler, Typography, address side

The same photograph inspired the creation of a quilt. You can read about that here.

Fabric Postcards

I’m yearning to work in a small format. I have a stack of 5″ x 7″ and 16″ x 16″ fabrics sitting on my cutting board and I’ll be turning those into postcards and 12-inch-square quilts over the next 7 – 10 days. While I’ve been pondering these stacks and the possibilities, my mind has wandered back to a project I did in 2009 for a trade with  Postmark’d Art, the fabric postcard trading group that I moderate.  It was one of the first projects that I completed using my then-new felting machine.

Using the felting machine to complete one 4″ x 6″ fabric postcard would be most difficult. For this project I thought of a larger image that I could then cut into many postcards. I called it my “Van Gogh Project” and it was very fun to use fabric in an impressionistic way.

I layered small fabric chunks on top of white felt then placed a layer of tulle over the whole surface, pinned it here and there and took it to the felting machine. In the center-most section of the piece I tucked in a tulle that had flecks of white sparkle — voila, some real sizzle for the center of the sun.

Hover your cursor over the image for more details. (And if you see the fern quilt as a header at the top, or no header at all, click on the title of this posting for a header which will reveal a closer view of the center portion.) The project is complete here — already cut into 4″ x 6″ pieces, edges stitched and sealed with gold paint, yielding 21 fabric postcards. Each postcard was numbered —  1/21, 2/21, etc. I traded many and sold many of them (I mount them on 8-ply museum-quality rag mat) and I have just one left, the very center. It’s actually the one I like the most so I’ve been happy to have it hang out with me in my studio. It will be mounted and ready to sell during my solo show, “Borrowed From Nature,” in October.

If it sells I’ll be a bit sad. Then I’ll just have to get busy with the felting machine.

Fabric Postcards

Lest you think that I am a one-note samba endlessly printing fern fronds for art quilts, let me share another of my obsessions with you: fabric postcards. These little treasures have been around since the 1970s at least, but my first introduction to them was in 2004 when I read an article in the summer issue of Quilting Arts Magazine. It is not an exaggeration to say that my life was changed from that moment. The potential from creating fabric postcards was clear immediately: they are ideal for experimenting with new techniques and products on the quilting market, the format requires a minimum of time and material investment and they are truly fun to send and receive.  I joined with an on-line group of artists to form Postmark’d Art  in July 2004 and we’ve been creating and trading fabric postcards ever since. C&T Publishing Inc., released my book fast, fun & easy Fabric Postcards, Keepsakes You Can Make and Mail and I have enjoyed teaching.

Need a card to celebrate a special occasion or just say “you’re special?” Why not create a unique piece of art that will be treasured for years to come?

Here is a project to whet your appetite for 4″ x 6″ art:

Quaking Aspen Bark

We’re all thinking “green” these days. With a few supplies in your studio and a bit of laundry lint, you can create “bark” that resembles one of nature’s wonders, the Quaking aspen tree.  This project will yield 6 fabric postcards.

13″ x 13″ white felt and 3″ x 13″ white felt
12″ x 12″ white fabric for address side
12″ x 12″ fast2fuse double-sided fusible stiff interfacing
Dryer lint from 1-2 loads of wash, especially dark loads of clothes
Black wool roving
Pewter Lumiere paint by Jacquard
Small paint brush
Embellishing machine, such as Janome FM-725
Sewing machine
White thread
Rotary cutter, ruler and self-healing matt
Fine-tip permanent marker (I prefer Micron pigma 01)

Optional: Image of quaking aspen trees. For the image I used click here.

Creating Quaking Aspen Bark

Step 1. Place chunks of the dryer lint on the felt background fabric and punch.

Note: Some areas may be too sparse. Place another layer of the lint and punch it in.

A good first layer of lint is punched.

Step 2. Snip small pieces of black roving and place randomly. Punch.

Roving placed randomly.

Step 3. Cut wavy strips no wider than ¼″ from the 3″ x 13″ piece of white felt. Place one strip at the edge of the background felt and punch to secure.

Felt strip punched at the edge of background felt.

Twist the strip and punch 1″ – 2″ at a time.  Continue adding strips of twisted felt until you are happy with the look.

Note: If the strip breaks, place the end of the broken strip at the end of the line already punched and continue punching.


Completed piece.

Step 4. Trim completed bark to a 12″ x 12″ square. Fuse to the 12″ x 12″ fast2fuse.

Step 5. Fuse the 12″ x 12″ white fabric to the opposite side of the fast2fuse.

Step 6. Cut the 12″ x 12″ finished bark into 6 sections, each measuring 4″ x 6″.

Step 7. Use white thread to stitch about 1/8″ from the edge around each postcard.

Step 8. Using a small brush, paint the pewter Lumiere paint to seal the edge of each postcard.

Step 9. Complete the message and address using a fine-tip permanent marker. I prefer Micron pigma 01.  Use a self-adhesive postage stamp to mail.

Need more of a jump start? Check out the Postmark’d Art site and my book.

Warning: making fabric postcards is like nibbling a finger treat; once you start, it’s hard to stop!