About PostalThreads blog

PostalThreads blog welcome. photo prop yellow balloon ball, bunting, bridge and baby

About PostalThreads

Welcome to PostalThreads! A place where you will find what I love to sew & create--some of which is gift-able in the mail for friends and family! This is also the official blog of the Etsy shop, PostalThreads, currently featuring fabric balloon balls for stringing into custom garland, gifting, photo props or simple homemade indoor/outdoor on-the-go family fun.

Watch for "Sew Up A Storm" Alphabet Series updates, PostalThreads shop highlights, and hopefully some sewing tutorials!

So how did PostalThreads come about?  Read on...

I learned from a neighbor friend about a local craft show that had been going on in the area for over ten years, that I had never known existed. The thought of participating some day sounded exciting, so I applied, and they found a spot for my then non-existent "balloon ball booth" for the very next upcoming show.

Prior to this, I had so much fun sewing and mailing balloon balls (using USAV's pattern) for nieces & nephews one Valentine's that I thought, "I sewed 7; I think I could sew more without getting tired of this fun, bouncy, fabric creation!" So I...

  • Designed my own balloon ball pattern, based on a basic 6 piece sphere pattern, sizing it to optimize the number of balloon balls I could cut out per yard of fabric. I liked the clean, beach ball look element the hexagon shaped top & bottom pieces added, and I opted for a fabric slit rather than an exposed button hole, because I like the look better and I liked the idea of not exposing the balloon, and I really liked the idea of not sewing so many buttonholes!
  • Designed a basic 2'x6' booth display,
  • Then I cut & cut, and sewed & sewed, and made over 40 balloon balls,
  • Wrote a little poem about this clever reusable toy,
  • Packaged them up, and...

...sold nearly all of them!

I was admitted back to a later show--this time the big holiday show held in November. I had received the recommendation to plan on selling double the amount of inventory of what sold at the previous show.

I was also invited to highlight the balloon ball booth in a local television morning show clip promoting the craft show. That was fun and certainly promoted sales; I sold over 100!

This blog as well as the Etsy shop basically came about so I could have a space to direct craft show goers. You don't really know what all goes in to preparing for a craft show until you just do it. I think they are really fun, but I am also interested to see what a blog about sewing projects and and Etsy shop called PostalThreads is like too. Needless to say, it is a work in progress.

That's a little about PostalThreads.

Here is a little about me:

I'm Lisa. Now as a stay-at-home-mom, it is officially sewing season all year long, instead of only in an evening here-or-there or in the summer months. Formerly a middle school teacher of Family & Consumer Sciences for 5 years, I cannot say I ever truly "sewed-up-a-storm" until now. I was admitted into a local craft show, and one thing led to another. I started this blog with the thought in mind to document the projects I have enjoyed making in these past recent years, many of which have been inspired by everyday home & family living, and I needed an online space to send craft-show goers.

Interests: family & faith, children, home, fashion, sewing, fabric, paper, simple origami, thrifting, creating, beauty, festivities, helping, food, PostalThreads, balloon balls, real mail, gift giving, quiet book pages, sports, running, Estonian national flower--blue cornflowers, backyard fun

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the name of your Etsy shop?

PostalThreads, created in July 2015, emerged out of on-going creative projects & a love for sending & receiving real mail.  Current listings feature custom fabric balloon balls & custom d├ęcor balloon ball garland.

2. Why Fabric Balloon Balls?
Combining so many aspects I love into one just seemed to make sense:
  -Sewing & creating, especially things that are reusable, & the color scheme possibilities are endless.
  -Sending & receiving real mail.

  -Having played a lot of sports growing up as the only girl in my family with 4 brothers.
  -Festivities [hence the line of custom decor balloon ball garlands] & good old fashioned backyard fun.
  - Finding a little niche out there to contribute & participate in the home & craft blogging world that I have been enjoying for so long.
  -Sharing things I love to make, with others.

Originally, I decided to make balloon balls to send to nieces & nephews in the mail for Valentine's. But then I thought more people need to know about these & I would be delighted to make them. So I applied for a booth at a popular local craft show & was accepted. The balloon ball booth was successful so I put a little more focus into developing a shop on Etsy.  Many thanks to Amelia from the Etsy shop MarigoldRegards for the Etsy help!

One of the things I love most about constructing fabric balloon balls is the fact that the final step for balloon ball completion is left up to the recipient who blows up their fabric balloon ball for the first time, and many times more after that, ultimately reaping the giggles & fun memories made.  The reusable nature of the fabric balloon ball allows balloon ball fans to let the balloon ball come & go as they please. Perfect for indoor/outdoor use, packing in a purse, traveling light to the lake, camping, gifting near or far; the list could go on. I love sharing in the process of creating such festive, bright and bouncy, reusable toys and decor, providing instant backyard fun anywhere, any season!

3. Are you going to post only about Fabric Balloon Balls on your blog?

I am currently on a balloon ball kick.  But I would love to do more tutorial posts like the DIY Play Parachute tutorial. [---This tutorial is currently still on the former lillekenalisa.blogspot.com blog, but I will move it over here to PostalThreads eventually!..just haven't gotten to it yet.]  I would also love to create different series--like maybe an alphabet series highlighting sewing/craft projects I have completed (and enjoyed!). I would also love to use this space eventually to post special offers for PostalThreads shop and give-aways, and sponsor give-aways on other blogs as well!

4. What is the best way to contact you?
  --Conversation in PostalThreads Etsy shop or shoot me an email at lillekenalisa@gmail.com

PostalThreads.etsy.com

H is for... Hexagon Pillow

navy, aqua, gray & white color scheme; triangles are pieced together to form a hexagon, pillow used for plain desk chair cushion
H is for Hexagon/Triangle Pillow!

Not much of a quilter, but this little project was one I could tackle!

I love to sew, but I do not consider myself a quilter--I have not delved much further than this pillow. But this project was the perfect amount of piecing for me! :) Thanks to Kim at Retro Mama, and her easy-to-follow tutorial "'A cute' triangle pillow tutorial," complete with clear instructions and beautiful photos, here, I sewed a triangle/hexagon pillow!

G is for... "Give Thanks" banner

Loving the Banner Bandwagon!...Check out "A Few Notes About Bunting & Banners" below:


What I Did: Pulled together some Fall/Thanksgiving fabric from stash, along with a few odds-and-ends---scraps of lace, buttons, wooden beads, etc. Cut out the pennants, & burlap letters; sewed burlap letters to front pennants, then sewed them front to back, right sides together, flipped them, pressed each one, made "bias tape" with my bias tape maker--I just cut it on the crosswise grain, though; and pinned it to the pennants. I wish I would have over lapped them a little differently than I did, like left OVER right, instead, but oh well.

"Give Thanks" pennant banners in oranges, browns, yellows, with burlap letters and crocheted lace and button details
G is for "Give Thanks" banner!


What I Did NOT Know Until Long After This Project Was Complete!: Walmart carries di-cut alphabet packages of burlap letters!!! That would have been nice to know seeing as I found a font in outline form that I liked, printed it off, and then cut every single letter out of paper and burlap, individually!...oh well! [And! Just now, I learned they carry seasonal red burlap di-cut letter packages besides these natural color letters.] By the way, if you sew with these di-cut letters, realize they have adhesive, so don't let the gunk build up too much on your needle, and be careful getting it off.

Adhesive Die-Cut Burlap, Alphabet, Natural, 2 Packs

Adhesive Die-Cut Burlap, Alphabet, Natural, 2 Packs

A Few Notes About Bunting & Banners: I believe it was around the time of this project, or not long after that I came across my ALL TIME FAVORITE simple YouTube tutorial on making your own pennant bunting. Measurements in this tutorial are given in centimeters; if it bothers you, convert it to inches, but realize you just follow the same principle of doubling or halving. It will make more sense after you watch the 3:19 minute video. Also, if you are not adding any little "extras" to the pennants, then having your fabric right sides together to begin with saves time, by saving you from having to turn and match triangles.

And just for fun, I found this cute post on Miss Party, called "Buntings, Banners, Pennants and Garlands -- What's the difference?" here, if you're interested.

G is for..."Give Thanks" Banner....and garland, and grommets, and so on!

F is for... DIY Fairy Tale Theme Decor

The recycled egg carton toadstools are my favorite...

We hosted a "Fairy Tale Mystery Menu 'Breakfast For Dinner'" party for the 8-11 year old girls from church. I had fun making decorations. This is what came together:

  • The Seven Dwarfs, inspired by Tissue Tube Dwarfs at Disney Family [Thorough tutorial! Love it.]
  • Talking Doorknob, from Disney Family, here.
  • The cutest egg carton mushroom/toadstools ever! Inspired by a photo from this Egg Carton Gallery on Flickr. [Great way to use up an egg carton stash! Painted red with foam brush & applied white dots with cue-tips]
  •  Center Pieces: Each girl took home a dollar store butterfly "flower" (these came in bunches, so that worked out great). Crayons inside candle votive, with white beans. Crayons were for their fairy tale"place mats"--Printed at the local library--5 cents/page on 11x17 paper.
  • "Little Red Riding Hood" cape & basket from our Easter decorations box (Cape featured in upcoming "L is for... Little Red Riding Hood cape")
A good time was had by all!

collage of 7 dwarves tissue tubes, egg carton toadstools/mushrooms, talking doorknob, table set with coloring page placemats, crayons, Little Red Riding Hood cape & basket
F is for fairy tale theme decor!

F is for... Felt Bows--Perfect felt stash buster & links to free templates!

baby girl with yellow felt bow on elastic band, variety of felt bows in fall colors and two bow styles
F is for felt bows

No-Sew Felt Bows!

My cousin introduced me to these adorable felt bows. We made a whole bunch one afternoon. The two styles along with free templates came from the following places: Six Sisters Stuff, here, and KikiComin, here. Pull out your felt scraps and off you go! Enjoy!


E is for... Envelopes


Once you have made one, you might as well make all 14 for a countdown to Valentine's Day. These fabric envelopes are charming.



What I Did: I rounded up all the reds & pinks & whites or cream color fabrics I could find in my fabric stash. I also selected a few buttons from my stash. Then I splurged and bought some seasonal Valentine's fabric from the store, and a few more buttons. I used a stiffer fusible interfacing that I already had rather than the fusible fleece that the tutorial suggests (see tutorial details below). And then I went for it. Any time there is a project where you make the same thing over and over again, and whatever it is, is "soooo cute!" I seem to really get into it, and I begin to imagine grand schemes of making what ever it is, for every sister-in-law and friend or neighbor I know! Usually I do not get that far and am mighty proud of completing one finished project. So here it is!

Inspiration & Tutorial Details: Thank you, Bev, from Flamingo Toes who is the featured sewing contributor to Kristyn's blog, Lil' Luna.  Click on either blog link to take you to Bev's tutorial and beautiful photos! I love the ideas Bev shares for love notes or acts of kindness ideas to place in each envelope!

By the way, here, Martha Stewart also shares a version of a fabric envelope tutorial. However, it does involve decoupage, which may or may not suit your fancy!

D is for... Diaper Stacker--A Gift in the Guest Room For Only One Yard!



Do you have a cute yard of fabric you don't know what to do with?

We had a lot of family in town last summer. I made this diaper stacker for my brother & sister-in-law & their Little One, who occupied a tiny guest room. This was a perfect space-saver to hang from a hook on the back of their bedroom door. I found the dimensions for the project from my "new favorite" library book: Little One Yard Wonders (see details below).

Little one-yard wonders : irresistible clothes, toys, and accessories you can make for babies and kids
By Rebecca Yaker & Patricia Hoskins
ISBN: 9781612121246
Physical Description: 359 pages : color illustrations ; 22 x 23 cm + 6 sheets of patterns.

The instructions were easy to follow. And what's amazing is this only took one yard of fabric!

C is for... Candy Corn Costume--Sew A Halloween Costume For A Child

C is for Candy Corn Costume!
Baby was born in the fall. I could not pass up the opportunity to dress her for Halloween. And what is more special than making the costume yourself? I loved that her little white hospital hat was "the icing on the cake" to complete Our Little Candy Corn.

There are several images out there for baby/toddler candy corn costumes, but the resource and tutorial I found most helpful came from Jenni at Snippets Of My Faith, Family, & Crafting, here.  Thank you, Jenni!

What I Did: Baby wore a long-sleeve white onesie underneath. Then I used materials I already had--white, low pile, soft, knit fabric left over from a baby blanket, sewed a casing on the front piece & one on the back piece for the ribbon ties, and clean-finished the arm holes so the fabric would stop shedding the little pile fuzz; orange felt; yellow felt; and some orange and yellow embroidery floss to add a blanket stitch for a little extra detail. And as I mentioned before, we had her wear her little white hospital cap she wore in the nursery.

The grandparents LOVED the costume!

C is for Card Table Tents--Sew Your Own "Princess Palace"

Card table play tents are back!

Good old fashioned card table play tents have made quite a come back in the last decade. You can find really any theme you can imagine out there, from castles & pirates, or carnivals, to quaint little shops & home designs, or even a car wash!

Favorite Tutorial For Card Table Tents: My absolute favorite online resource for card table tents is found here at Old Days Old Ways blog by Wendy. She gives measurements for walls, and shows you how to create the roof, along with several ideas for variations.

What I DidInspired by the second tent Wendy features on her Classic Card Table--With Variations blog post, I up-cycled an extra shear curtain I already had, and some scrap fabric--leftover eyelet from another curtain for the trim, and some pink satiny remnants for the roof, to create what we, at our house call "The Princess Palace." You can use a dowel or a paper-towel roll, or cut down a wrapping paper roll to the correct height to make the roof stand up. The photos here show our tent, indoors, but I loved taking it outside in the summer and watching the shear walls wisp around in the breeze.

I love how quickly a space can transform into imaginative play with a card table tent. Simple card table tents sew up relatively fast and make for great gifts too! They are a great project to use up your fabric or up-cycle other pieces if you have quite the stash!

B is for... Butternut Squash Ghosts

Butternut Squash Ghosts--1) up-cycle white tights, 2) adhesive backed black felt scraps, 3) butternut squash


3 Butternut Squash Ghosts covered with leg pieces of white tights. Black felt for eyes. Easy storage decor. Displayed next to candy corn candy dish.What I Did: Inspired by a photo I saw in another library book (see below), I up-cycled an old, worn out pair of white tights by cutting the leg parts into into three sections and discarding the rest--three sections, since, at the time, I had 3 butternut squash on hand! Then I used sticky-backed black felt (found at most craft stores), to cut out "ghost eye" shapes. The templates in the back of the book were helpful in coming up with some of the eye shapes. Then I stretched a piece of stocking/tights over each butternut squash, stuck the eyes on, and set out my new decor! The stocking ghosts are so easy to store when the season is through. We love butternut squash in the fall so it's a given that we'll have some around.

Idea Inspiration: One day at the local public library, I came across Matthew Mead's Monster Book of HalloweenISBN: 9781603201056  Publication Information: New York, N.Y. : Time Home Entertainment, c2009. Physical Description: 256 p. : col. ill. ; 28 cm.
Cover image for Matthew Mead's monster book of Halloween.
 
This book is so fun. Every page is loaded with pictures, ideas, and brief descriptions. In the very back there is an entire section of templates from miniature jack-o'-lantern faces, bats, cats, ghost garland, a moon man, to candy corn, and more!

On page 129, I came across the "Gourd Warmer". It suggests embellishing, with black yarn stitches, an orange small, child-size knit hat to create a jack-o'-lantern face, and then to pull it over a gourd--looks to me like a butternut squash.

I thought, "I don't have an orange knit hat, but I have a pair of white tights I am about to throw out!" A few moments later I had three little butternut squash ghosts!

Try it! Your guests will be sure to comment on your clever gourd ghosts!

B is for... Baby Blankets

"B" is for baby blankets

Baby Blankets

 Basting spray was new to me at the start of this project. This project idea came from my cousin's wife who made a sweet blanket for her little one similar to the blue blanket here. She said she used basting spray to keep all the little flannel "patches" intact. Then you stitch around all the fabric patches--raw edges exposed! I did not stitch around every single patch individually, but rather I stitched a grid.  For the pink blanket, I stitched the grid through top part of the blanket and the batting, only, because it would have been too thick with what I used for the back. But for the blue blanket, I just used fleece for the back, so then I stitched the grid through all the layers.

It was fun deciding where the fabric patches would all go. Then sewing it up went relatively fast, especially for a "quilt". When the blanket is finished you run it through the washer & dryer similar to how you would "finish" a rag quilt, then trim up the fabric patch edges and then snuggle your precious baby. I do not recommend this as a quilt you would ever leave in a crib, in case of over-looked loose thread wads, but it sure makes for a soft "play mat" and cuddly blanket.

A is for...alphabet Fabric Stash Buster Alphabet Letters






Fabric Stash Buster Alphabet Letters


These are fun. You can find a bunch of tutorials out there. I do not recommend any specific one.

What I did: Sandwiched a piece of lightweight batting between two pieces of fabric. The fabric was facing "right" sides out. Machine straight-stitched around the letters, about a 1/4" away from the edge. Then I took pinking shears to them, all around the edges.

Tricky Part: Getting the pinking shears to cut inside the holes in a, b, d, o, p, q, and r was a little tricky.

Pattern: I used "quick letters", found near the poster board in stores, for a pattern for each of the letters.
My Little Spin on Things: I have soooo much scrap fabric! And I love fabric and I love to sew. So...I decided to associate each letter with a type of fabric, or other wise some fabric characteristic, which ended up, for some, being associated with the first letter of the color of the fabric I used. See the larger photo and list below!


Coordinating fabric characteristics & letters


A--airplanes on fabric
B--blue fabric
C--corduroy
D--denim
E--eyelet
F--felt & flannel
G--green fabric
H--hounds-tooth design
I--interfacing
J--jersey knit
K--knit
L--lace
M--muslin
N--netting
O--orange fabric (felt)
P--pink fabric
Q--quilted fabric
R--red fabric
S--stripes on fabric
T--twill weave
U--up-cycled an old soccer uniform
V--velvet
W--wool
X--black & white fabric--associate with 'x-rays'
Y--yellow fabric
Z--zipper

What Else? I decided to make the letter "z" have an actual tiny zipper pouch. I didn't have anything to follow. In the end I was glad I had sewn a little pull tab at the top of the zipper.

I wish I would have made a set of numbers while I was at it. I think I began in alphabetical order. By the time I got to the letter I--a simple rectangle--I thought why am I not making multiplies of these?? So I went back and made more.

If I did it over again, maybe I would follow Scrabble pieces as a guide, meaning: Scrabble tile letter distribution is as follows: A-9, B-2, C-2, D-4, E-12, F-2, G-3, H-2, I-9, J-1, K-1, L-4, M-2, N-6, O-8, P-2, Q-1, R-6, S-4, T-6, U-4, V-2, W-2, X-1, Y-2, Z-1.

Or depending on how you plan to use the letters, make sure you have enough of each letter to spell out phrases, words/names you will display.

What We've Done: We have a string above our kitchen sink, going across, and we use the teeny-tiny clothespins to hang up some of these fabric letters to spell out our family theme for the year. The rest of the letters, I store in a purse from the "dress up" bin. Our Little One loves 'in and out' right now. These letters are fun for her to hold and take out and put back, over and over again!

Introducing The "Sew Up A Storm" Alphabet Series







 

The "Sew Up A Storm" Alphabet Series is the way I have decided to visually present many of the things I have enjoyed sewing in the last few years.  [If you can believe it, I have actually enjoyed making other fun projects aside from balloon balls, although blog posts may convince you otherwise]. Yes, yes, you can find a variety of tutorials, photos, & inspiration for similar projects online, but the following things are what you will find here:
  • If there was a specific tutorial I recommend, or that inspired me, I will definitely add the link.
  • If I found the inspiration in a library book (one of my favorite places to look), I will of course give you the source.
  • I did it! I will share what worked (and sometimes what didn't work) for me, and give my little "Extra!" or in other words, a little bit of a "my two cents" blurb about my experience with the project, and hopefully inspire you!
  • Some letters of the alphabet will have several featured projects, others will have few. Without even thinking of doing an alphabet series ahead of time, I figured I have completed projects that I am excited to share with you, for all the letters except for e, x, & y. I have a few thoughts in the works, but if you have any suggestions, please share!
  • Right now the goals are these: 1) to present at least ONE project for every letter, 2) present in alphabetical order, and 3) get to "Z" before Baby #2 arrives in June! :) Whew! Let's begin!

Links to the Letters

Click on the photo to view corresponding post.
A is for...

Alphabet Letters























B is for...
Butternut Squash Ghosts
Baby Blessing Dress
Baby Blankets
Balloon Balls Banner













C is for...


Card Table Tents
Candy Corn Costume






















D is for...
Diaper Stacker





















E is for...


Envelopes













F is for...
Felt Bows
Felt Finger Puppets


Fairy Tale Theme Decor





















G is for...
"Give Thanks" Banner










H is for...

Hexagon Pillow






















I is for...
Ironing Board Cover

















J is for...


"J" Monogram Door Hanging


















K is for...
Kitchen Aid Bowl Cover














L is for...
"Let It Snow" Banner






















M is for...


Mittens

Moccasins




Mini Fabric Purse/Card-Holder
[Free Pattern & Tutorial for Mini Fabric Purse/Card-Holder]
N is for...


O is for...


P is for...
Play Parachute--Free Tutorial




















Q is for...
Quilt--Crib Size Triangle Quilt










R is for...

S is for...


Scrap Map














T is for...


U is for...


Up-Cycle: Men's Shirt Onesie


























V is for...

W is for...

X is for...

Y is for...

Z is for...