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Fabric Postcards Received: I’m Still Trading!

After sharing my process for making fabric postcards and offering to trade, I’ve had requests to share the results. Hope you enjoy seeing examples of what arrived in the mail (and a couple other artful cards) as much as I have!

postcard received from Lora in Texas

Above, received from Lora in Texas, who wrote that she has a “zillion” postcards piled up and was so happy to trade. She also noted that this is a photo of her from grade school in her Halloween costume! It’s a great example of prepared fabric products that can be used for text and photographs.

Postcard received from Sherry

Sherry in Florida mailed me this one. The colors and fabrics together are so charming.

Postcard from Ray

This postcard is from Ray — I love the little swirl!

Postcard from Peggy

This wonderful postcard received from Peggy in Texas is great reminder to smile each day. She also emailed me after receiving mine: “Judy, what a fun surprise today receive your beautiful postcard. Am so happy mine arrived to you also… yours gives me much inspiration.
FYI, I’m the Membership Chairman for the Fiber Artists of San Antonio and just found out that one of our members, Carmen Goyette, used to frequent your shop when she lived in your area.” Carmen was a member of JAMs and everyone still misses her — turns out it’s a small world!

Peggy continued: “I was telling our group about your postcard exchange and we may be doing that amongst our members… we still can’t meet in person, but always fun to get mail. Before I found out about your exchange, I had just mailed out about 75 postcards to my family. friends, bead group friends and others.” Great job, Peggy!

Postcard from Suzanne

Suzanne Langsdorf, a favorite local Creative Mind that we miss seeing, made a star out of our WB174 Left Facing Scaled Fish Wood Block — plus I recognize other block prints in her embellished fabric collage postcard. While the other postcards featured here arrived as-is through the mail, as shown here, Suzanne handmade the envelope for hers.

Chris stitching in front of the postcard I sent her

When I wrote the original blog post, I mailed postcards to my staff and the volunteers who have helped keep us going during this pandemic. I was pleased to see Chris Vinh included my fabric postcard to her in her recent post about beginning to stitch on her new Sashiko cloth.

Postcard from Maureen

While not mailed to me, Maureen Erhardt did post this wonderful example to Facebook — she wrote that it was the result of “A black and white challenge with my sisters.”

Reverse of postcard from Maureen

Maureen included a photo of the back side of the postcard, which is pure art too!

Collaged card by Jocelyn Corderot

Not a postcard, but since I’m counting other mail art here: this #ShareonSat to our Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group was posted by Sharon McDonagh, who was spurred by my blog: “This is a gorgeous mixed media collage card made for me by Jocelyn Corderot. I can attest to what a day-brightener a homemade card can be!”


A homemade card by Diane Mularz, who posted it responding to a recent #ShareonSat that asked for artwork with birds after the great response we had with our fish theme.

So my offer is still good: send me a handmade fabric postcard and you’ll receive one in return: watch my Creative Clip for my challenge for those interested in trading!

Making Fabric Postcards: Want to Trade?

Updated July 9, 2020: Since originally writing this post, I’ve responded to a number of requests by filming a quick tutorial for you! Please take a look and read through my steps below — you’ll see this is an easy, fun fiber project that spreads some joy into the world!

I love to make fabric postcards… and not just make, but to use and mail. Watch my recent Creative Clip for my challenge to anyone interested in a fabric postcard trade!

Fabric postcards by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Some of us only get small moments in time to play with our fabric. I am one of those people. Because of that time crunch, I have developed a system to keep fabric postcards always in progress. When I get those small amounts of time, I can immediately get to work where I previously left off. And before I know it, I’ve produced 6-12 postcards at a time!

With the current global health crisis meaning that so many must stay home to safeguard their health, I’m stamping and addressing my postcards, in the hopes that they brighten someone’s day once found in their mailbox.

Fabric postcard by Judy Gula of Artistic ArtifactsIn addition to fabric scraps, I use the following supplies when creating fabric postcards:

  • Steam-A-Seam 2 (I prefer lite version) I like this fusible because it is sticky and allows me to lay small pieces/scraps of fabric and it holds them in place. If I want to move the fabric I can pull off and replace or move. I recommend you begin with a piece that is 12 in. x 18 in.
  • Pellon Peltex 71F One-Sided Fusible — I keep the fusible side for the card stock to be applied.
  • Non-stick craft sheet — such as a Goddess Sheet or the Bo-Nash Amazing Sheet. I use the largest size I have, so that it is both under and over my fusible
  • Thread
  • 4 in. x 6 in. index cards, or card stock cut to size

First, peel back one side the Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible. I don’t remove it all the way off — I peel it as I lay down fabrics scraps.

Judy Gula uses a variety of fabric scraps, selvages, orphan blocks and more to create her fabric postcards

I apply a variety of fabric scraps, selvages, orphan blocks and more. I do like to use smaller pieces to create a collage look on the Steam-A-Seam. Fill up the sheet with your fabric scraps as seen here..

Next step is the iron the fabric to the Steam-A-Seam, using your non-stick/Teflon sheet to secure the fabric.

Then, using a piece of Pellon Peltex 71F One-Sided Fusible inthe same size as your sheet of Steam-A-Seam 2, peel the last paper off the fusible and fit it to the non-fusible size of the Peltex.

IMPORTANT: make sure that you have your non-stick Teflon sheet (if you don’t own one, substitute parchment paper) under the fusible side of the Peltex or it will stick to the ironing board… Ask me how I know!

Free-motion stitching on Judy Gula's fabric postcards

Once the fabric collage is fused to the Peltex, I then have some fun at my sewing machine. Free motion stitch the entire front of your fabric collage. Note that there is a tendency for the glue to come off on the needle; it is sticky. It hasn’t caused me problems, but next time I’m going to try the Schmetz Super Nonstick Needles.

I use this stitching time to test out new freemotion “patterns” or to practice them. I also often follow the pattern in the patterns in the fabric scraps. This is also a great time to test out any fancy stitches your machine might have programmed. Sometimes I use one color thread, sometimes multiple — and specialty threads can be fun to play with too!

Fabric collaged sheet ready to be cut into postcards

Once my sheet is completely free-motion stitched (above), I cut it into 4 in. x 6 in. pieces for the postcards. I then apply the 4 in. x 6 in. index cards (or card stock cut to size) to the back side.

Zig-zag stitching the edges of the postcard

Stitch an open zig zag stitch around the four sides of the postcard. Don’t make the zig zag stitch too close, or you’ll perforate the card stock to the point that the edge could detach or pull off.

Detail, zig-zag edge of fabric postcard

If you have a postcard stamp, use it to dress up your back. If you don’t, simply write POSTCARD on the center top of the card. Write your recipients address and add a stamp on the right side of the postcard. First class postage is all you need! Then write your message on the left and drop it into the mail.

I’d love to trade postcards with you — watch my latest Creative Clip for my challenge!

Something Fishy…

Diane Herbort Poisson d' Avril art quilt

Fiber and mixed media artist Diane Herbort created Something Fishy, her fabric and paper collage pictured above, for Cloth Paper Scissors to illustrate her 2008 article about using disperse dye to transfer images to fabric. Since it was scheduled for the March/April issue, she chose a Poisson d’Avril theme and used one of the vintage postcards she collects as her focal image.

Detail, Blue Fish Quilt by Judy Gula

Vintage and fish… easy to see the connection with Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula’s Blue Fish quilt (detail pictured here). Visit Using Vintage Textiles in My Blue Fish Quilt for the complete quilt photo, plus details on how Judy created it.

To celebrate April 1 we posted Diane’s beautiful work in our newsletter as well as on our Facebook page. We asked members of our Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group to share their own “fishy” art, and we loved the responses, sharing them here for those who aren’t on Facebook. (Plus we wanted to keep this particular ‘school of fish’ together!) Enjoy the following (listed in alphabetical order by artist)… all are wonderful!

Susan Callahan fish quilt

Susan Callahan: “You asked for fish. This was my 2018 hand stitch exercise. Ten minutes a day for 365 days. Loved this piece!” It measures 17 in. high and 36 in. wide.

Mixed media fish collected by NiYa Costley in a JAMs swap

NiYa Costly referenced an exchange from a past Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) meeting: “Fish from one of our random swaps that I was holding onto… haven’t figured out yet how to display them.” See Linda Morgan’s piece below — she started it!

Fish cut from batik panels by Jaka center wonky log cabin quilt blocks by Judy Gula

Judy Gula: We began our “poisson d’avril” photo challenge by sharing two blocks that Judy made for a quilt tfeatured in her book Colorful Batik Panel Quilts. School of Fish is one of the projects in the book, using hand-drawn batik panels by one of our most popular batik artists, Jaka. You can see the complete quilt below, as well as in Judy’s introduction of her book.

Mahyar batik panel detail: hand stitching with Eleganza cotton by WonderFil

Judy traveled with a batik panel by Mahyar — the fanciful fish are detailed here — to embellish it with lots of hand stitching, using Eleganza pearl cotton by WonderFil Specialty Threads. The Three Sisters quilt was also featured in her book; learn and see more about it here on this blog.

Susanne Miller Jones fish quilt

Susanne Miller Jones: “Fishy theme you say: Gotta Eat.”

Bunnie Jordan fish quilt

Bunnie Jordan: “Just happen to have a fish quilt on my wall right now.”

Sharon McDonagh’s mixed media eye token as taught by theresa mARTin

Sharon McDonagh: “I enjoy Theresa mARTin classes so much I have taken them more than once. Her mixed media eye token class has always resulted in amazing student work since she generously shares so many treasures from her stash. I quickly grabbed the wonderful fish bead for my mermaid-inspired piece. I love how it turned out!”

Julie Hames Mehigan fish wall hanging

Julie Hames Mehigan: “A piece I made for a school auction. Kindergartener’s hand prints became fish. Bubbles are their initials. Made a lot of it when my Dad was in the hospital dying, so of course, I bid on it and bought it.”

We sought out Linda Morgan, writing that “we’re expecting to see the fish you made that nearly caused a riot during a JAMs exchange a few years back — talk about a feeding frenzy!”

Stitched fiber collage fish by Linda Morgan

…and she replied, “Artistic Artifacts, these guys were fun to make!”

Lynda Poole Prioleau fish bead fiber pendant

Lynda Poole Prioleau: “In keeping with the fish theme for today…Here’s a pendant I made using one of Judy Vincentz Gula’s small, dyed pieces. I added beads, a hand dyed linen backing, and, oh yeah, some fishies!”

Beth Richardson Coral Reef quilt

Beth Richardson: “For today’s theme, one of my faves. It’s called Coral Reef.”

Joni Seidenstein fish quilt

Joni Seidenstein: “Did someone say fish?” And when a fellow Creative Mind commented on the number of fish, Joni replied “I spent literal hours cutting these fish out to fuse onto this quilt. I did it when my daughter was at swim lessons. It felt quite apropos!”

Etta Stewart fish fiber collage

Etta Stewart: “I just have to add a fish or two…”

Etta Stewart fish fiber collage


…or was that more than two, Etta?

Betsy True fish art quilt

Betsy True: “This was my first art quilt, begun during a workshop with Ruth B McDowell at an Empty Spools Seminar at Asilomar, California.”

detail of art quilt by Christine Vinh

Christine Vinh: “For the fishy theme, this is a close-up of part of a quilt that was in Sacred Threads Quilts in 2017. Photos from a visit to Inle Lake in Burma and the one on burlap was done using Transfer Artist Paper. The silver fish charm was given to us by one of the children in a village we visited. The blue water is part of a silk scarf. Stitched throughout with Tentakulum threads.”

Batik panel quilt by Christine Vinh

Chris also sent us two of her quilts created using hand-drawn batik panels. Above, the focal panel is by Bambang Dharmo.

Batik panel quilt by Christine Vinh

Above, a panel from batik artist Aprat is the focal point in this modern art quilt by Chris.

We hope you have enjoyed the wide variety of fish themed art we are have shared here. We thank all who submitted their work, and hope you will thank them too — please leave a comment below!

We love when our customers and friends share their projects with us, via our Facebook page, the Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group, or by email for those not on social media, so we hope to hear from you!

School of Fish by Judy Gula, featured in her book Colorful Batik Panel Quilts

Beaded Embroidery Stitching on Panels

Cover of Beaded Embroidery Stitching: 125 Stitches to Embellish with Beads Buttons Charms Bead Weaving and More by Christen Brown

It’s Friday, April 12, Artistic Artifacts’ day to celebrate the publication Beaded Embroidery Stitching: 125 Stitches to Embellish with Beads, Buttons, Charms, Bead Weaving & More by Christen Brown!

Please comment on our posting of this blog tour — use the field at the bottom of the page and be sure to include your email address — to be eligible for our random drawing to win an e-book copy of this beautiful book from us!

Color Batik Panel Quilts by Judy Vincentz Gula

I have long been a fan of beading and have often incorporated it into my art quilts (you can visit past blog posts here and here for some examples). When Artistic Artifacts was selected as a 2018 Top Shop by Quilt Sampler magazine, our magazine exclusive project was a batik panel quilt with beading! Our Artistic Artifacts Quilt Sampler kit is available in several colors and includes a Hari Agung batik panel, coordinating Australian Aborigine Designed fabrics and our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batiks, plus beads, Silamide thread (my favorite) and a needle to embellish!

Colorful Batik Panel Quilts: 28 Quilting and Embellishing Inspirations from Around the World, is my first book and was published at the beginning of this year — here’s a link to my blog post about it (which also features beading). Colorful Batik Panel Quilts features a section on embellishing: “Beading on panels is one of my favorite embellishing techniques. Beads and crystals can add sparkle and texture to enhance the design of the panel and make it your own,” I wrote. “Single stitch and back stitch are two techniques I use most.”

Beaded Embroidery Stitching from C&T Publishing features 125 bead embroidery and bead woven stitches, and readers can search both stitches organized by type with a complete visual guide or the A-to-Z stitch index. There is a wonderful assortment of beautiful dimensional stitches that I thought would be perfect for my project.

Hari Agung batik panel quilt by Judy Gula

Above, my quilted batik panel quilt before I started beading. The center floral panel is another from Hari Agung. I gathered my other supplies, beads, beading needles (Tulip brand, which are in my opinion the best quality), a beading awl (useful to reposition beads or clear the hole of coatings so your needle can go through) and Silamide.

Beaded Pistil Stitch from Beaded Embroidery Stitching by Christen Brown

An obvious choice when working on a batik panel featuring flowers was exploring Christen’s Beaded Pistil Stitch. I enjoyed learning this technique and am thrilled with the dimension it adds!

The beaded pistil stitch adds wonderful dimension to the center of the flower in this Hari Agung panel

I wanted to try out her Feather and Fly Stitches to accent one of the leaves in my panel.

Fly and Feather Stitches from Beaded Embroidery Stitching by Christen Brown

Despite Christen’s very clear instructions, my attempt went a bit awry with this one — I told you I was used to freeform stitching! But even so, I love the way the bead embroidery enhances the leaf in my panel. Christen begins her book with explaining, and illustrating, how beads come in many different shapes and sizes, with seed beads are numbered from low to high: the higher the number, the smaller the bead. My preference is for mixing colors and sizes of beads together (that’s what you find in the Artistic Artifacts bead mixes I’m using here), but a uniform line of beads would also be perfect on my leaves.

Accenting flower petal edges with beading

Above, I added tiny striped beads to accent the edge of the petals.

Batik panel art quilt by Judy Gula, including beaded details

Christen’s chapter Where Do Designs Come From? (page 30) points out that a fabric with a strong print can be “used as the focal or base of an embroidered design. The embroidery and embellishments can follow the lines and shapes of the print and enhance any open spaces.” I offer the same advice about free-motion quilting — follow the lines of your fabric design — and one of the pleasures of beading a batik panel is that there is so much ‘guidance’ in the fabric. The above project from my book illustrates that point — as well as Christen’s belief that “Adding larger beads, charms, and buttons gives interest and definition to your project.”

Beaded brooches by Christen Brown and Judy Gula

Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge lover of vintage beaded textiles and accessories, so I enjoyed learning more about how these influenced Christen’s work. I used to create pins and brooches by the handful (see more here) so her Beaded Brooches project (page 94, one example above left) was of interest. Beaded Embroidery Stitching includes instructions on creating beaded edges, which as you see are beautiful on dimensional shapes!

Beaded Embroidery Stitching includes detailed diagrams

I’m thankful to Diane Herbort, who often teaches at Artistic Artifacts — she and Christen are long-time friends and Diane recommended us to her for this blog tour. Beaded Embroidery Stitching is a resource all embroiderers, crazy quilters, craft sewists, jewelry makers and more will want to add to their library. I was interested to learn more about how Christen achieves her beautiful work, and this book didn’t disappoint. The plentiful photographs are truly eye candy, and each project includes clear instructions, plus a photo ‘map’ so you can see exactly what stitch is used where (example here).

Christen Brown, author of Beaded Embroidery Stitching

Below is the complete Beaded Embroidery Stitching Blog Tour lineup — please visit each blog each day to see their reviews, how they have been inspired, and more. Follow each blog’s directions for how to be eligible to win — if you aren’t our winner, you have several chances to be someone else’s!

You can learn more about this beautiful book and order your copy on our website. Also by Christen Brown:

  • Embroidered and Embellished: 85 Stitches Using Thread, Floss, Ribbon, Beads & More. The complete visual guide to hand embroidery and embellishing and an essential embroidery reference for everyone from beginners to experts. This richly illustrated reference guide from embroidery expert Christen Brown covers everything you need to make beautiful magic with needle and thread.
  • The Embroidery Book: Visual Resource of Color & Design. A step-by-step visual guide to 149 embroidery stitches, motifs, and extras with robust color charts that take the guesswork out of choosing thread, buttons, and trims. Stitch classic seam treatments and stunning stand-alone designs as you go beyond the basics to learn what embroidery can do for you.
  • Embroidery Stencils, Essential Collection help you create unique designs to embroider: hearts, flowers, baskets, butterflies, spiderwebs, vines, feather stitches, and more using the 4 in. x 8 in. stencils that combine to create 90+ embroidery designs.

Remember, leave a comment and your email address to be eligible to win an ebook copy of Beaded Embroidery Stitching!

Beading supplies ready for the next session

Above, my supplies and tools are ready for my next beading session!

Hearts by Judy

Happy Valentine’s Day! I wanted to share with you all some of my art quilts that feature hearts. Below, this features crazy quilt techniques, embellished with found objects. You can see my signature on this: created in 2005!

Crazy quilted heart with embellishments: an art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I’ve always appreciated this sentiment from Liz Kettle, from her Plethora of Pinked Hearts tutorial she shared with us years ago: “When I was in my formative art years, hearts were passé, trite and so unsophisticated [but] Somewhere along the way I realized that even if they were trite in the ‘serious’ art world I had fallen in love with them! I make my art to please myself these days, so even if the sophisticated shock artists of the world roll their eyes and dismiss me as trite… I am contented with my hearts.”

Detail of crazy quilted heart with embellishments by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Love the locket half, and the fun beaded fringe.

Needlefelted and beaded heart Love art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

The charm titles this one: Love.

Detail, needlefelted and beaded heart Love art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Detail above: needlefelted heart that combines scraps of wool, cotton, silk and more, encrusted with beads.

Hanging heart art quilt incorporating vintage clothes hanger by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I’ve often used vintage wooden clothes hangers to hang my art quilts.

Details, heart art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Beaded details: left, the stripes on these yellow beads were perfect to enhance the vintage fabrics grid, and my blue flower beads were a near-exact match to embellish this border!

Needlefelted and beaded nine-patch heart art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Beaded blue wool hearts appliquéd to needlefelted bases, then stitched to a hand-dyed wool base that had been bordered with cotton and machine quilted.

Beaded detail of needlefelted heart by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Detail above: it’s fun to sneak in accent beads, like this ladybug, to see who notices.

Beaded details of needlefelted hearts by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Remember, Valentine wishes don’t have to be red or pink or lacy to be heartfelt!

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