Keyword Exclusive - Fun thank-you note projects
Supplement to "The Lost Art of Writing Thank You Notes"
Teach your children well
How to make fabric postcards
Teach your children well
by Kathy Witt
What are the best tips for parents to begin a lifelong habit in their children for writing thank-you notes and making genuine expressions of gratitude?
According to Marja Barrett, author of Business Manners for Success, who conducts classes year-round on social poise, the rule with children is to make it simple and encourage creative self-expression. Bring out the ruled or construction paper--any type of paper will do-and let children draw pictures (a picture of the gift in question is a nice touch) and copy a simple thank-you note if they don't yet know how to write.
When children are too young to pen their own thank-you notes, Barrett recommends sitting down with them and role modeling the act of writing out thank-you notes.
"It's the thought and getting the mindset of gratitude; children will notice what the parents do."
"Teaching children at an early age to write thank-you notes is a very important life lesson," adds Stevens. "Hopefully parents can instill in them that the gift is not fully theirs until they properly thank the giver. When children receive thanks from others, be sure and talk about how special it makes them feel to reinforce wanting to do that for others."
"Ask the child, 'How do you feel when someone sends you a note thanking you for the gift you gave them at their party?'" suggests Barrett. "Children love learning about etiquette: writing thank-you notes, holding the door open for their teacher, using table manners."
In fact, during the dining etiquette programs Barrett teaches, she has children write their thank-you notes to their parents for bringing them on the spot. Afterward, she gives children extra notes to take home and have on hand so they can send a thank-you note to someone else.
To learn more about Barrett's classes and seminars for children and adults, whose topics include dining etiquette, business manners, executive etiquette, effective client entertaining, self-presentation skills, communication skills, and international business manners and customs, visit www.marjabarrett.com
Barrett is available to present two- to three-hour sessions, custom-designed and geared to children (ages 8 to 12) to your community organization, club, or church group that can include etiquette how-to's like writing thank-you notes, making introductions, and maintaining eye contact, or conduct an etiquette luncheon during which children will learn all about table manners.
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How to make fabric postcards
by Bonnie Browning
Fabric postcards are fun and easy to make, and the design can be anything you want. You can use traditional quiltmaking techniques like piecing, applique, crazy patch, or you can print photos to make the front of the card.
Most fabric postcards are 4" x 6" and can be mailed using one stamp. Keep your fabric postcards 1/8" or less thick to stay within weight limits; if your card is 1/4" or more thick, it may require additional postage. You can make your fabric postcards larger and thicker, but they will require more postage.
Just like a quilt, the fabric postcards have a decorative top layer, a filler, and a backing.
I use a photograph for the design on the top layer. There are a couple of adjustments you will want to make to the photograph before you print.
* Crop your photo 1/4" smaller in both directions, so you finished image is 3-3/4" x 5-3/4". This will give you 1/8" around all of the edges for you to stitch a decorative stitch to enclose the edges.
* Adjust the saturation (+) to lay more ink onto the fabric, and adjust the contrast (+) to make the darks darker because they tend to lighten a bit when printed on fabric.
Print your photograph on fabric that has been treated: I use EQ Printables, Premium Cotton Lawn Inkjet Fabric Sheets, but there are many other brands of pre-treated fabrics that you can use with your inkjet printer. I use an Epson RX680 printer with DuraBrite inks. Be sure to test your printer on one piece of fabric before you proceed with printing.
On one 8-1/2" x 11" piece of fabric, you can print three fabric postcards by placing two images vertically, and one horizontally across the bottom of the page. You will need to keep 1/2" between the postcards for cutting them apart.
There are several fillers that are fusible that you can use for the center filling.
* Peltex II Two-sided Fusible Ultra Firm Stabilizer
* fast2fuse Double-Sided Fusible Stiff Interfacingï¿½use the regular weight for postcards, as the heavier version will cost more to mail
* Timtex Interfacingï¿½you will need to add a fusible web to adhere the top and backing to this product.
* Flannel, thin batting, or fusible fleece will also work, but the postcards will be softer and may be thicker. You will need to add fusible to some of these products.
Cut the filler into 5" x 7" pieces to give yourself some leeway when you assemble the fabric postcard. You will trim the postcards after you have pressed the front and backing to the filler.
Print the back of the postcard, using the same fabric as the front. Lay out the back of the postcard using a 4" x 6" space. I type the backing, placing a line vertically to divide the address from the message on the card. You can then either write your message with a permanent pen or type it before you print the card. I always include my Web site or Blog address and my name on the left bottom of the card. You can print three backings on one piece of printable fabric too. Instead of a fabric for the back, some people prefer to use card stock for the backing.
ASSEMBLY OF POSTCARD
Cut out the front:
After you have printed your photo, cut out the front images leaving as much white fabric around the edges as you can. Using a rotary cutter, ruler, and mat will make it easy to make sure you are maintaining the same white edge around each of the postcard fronts.
Iron front design to filler:
Iron the front design to one side of the filler. Since the back side of the filler is also fusible, after pressing the top, immediately lift the card from your ironing board. You can use parchment paper or a pressing cloth to cover your ironing board so the fusible will not stick.
Add the backing:
Align the backing piece to the front, centering the vertical line on the backing with the center of the front design. Use straight pins to pin it place until you get it to the ironing board to press the backing to the fusible filler. Press both sides thoroughly until flat. I always press the front last so you can adjust any bubble that might form on the front of the postcard.
Use a rotary cutter, mat, and ruler to trim around the edges of the postcard; trim from the front, leaving 1/8" around the front design on all four edges.
FINISH THE EDGES
Using a decorative stitch or a zigzag stitch (that is not as tight as a satin stitch), stitch around all four edges. Remember to make sure your needle is on the outside edge when you get ready to turn the corners. If you have a needle up/down feature on your machine, use it. Set it to needle down and the needle will need to stop on the outside edge, then you can raise the presser foot, turn the postcard, drop the presser foot, and continue sewing down the next side.
When I use a decorative stitch, I make sure a straight line of stitches falls on the edge of the postcard. You may need to mirror a stitch to do that on some stitches. The blanket stitch, feather stitch, and the slanted two-step stitch make good choices for the edges of the postcards. Test the stitches before you begin on a real postcard. I usually take one card that didn't turn out, test the stitches, cut that part off and I can test another stitch. You don't want to practice on the good ones.
You can also add a traditional quilt binding to the postcards, but I wouldn't get many made if I did that, so I prefer the decorative stitches for the edges. Besides it gives us a chance to use many of these great decorative stitches the manufacturers put on our machines.
WRITE YOUR MESSAGE & MAIL
Since the postcard will go through the United States Postal Service, be sure to use a permanent pen to write your address and message in case it comes in contact with any moisture along the way. Take your postcard to the post office for mailing --they usually cause a stir at the post office so don't be in a hurry, and yes, it will mail without placing it into an envelope. You can also run them through a postage meter--just make sure you make a sample postcard to try it out first to make sure you get the postage in the right place.
Once you start making fabric postcards, they are like popcorn, you can't stop making them. Have fun making your own fabric postcards to say "thank you" in your own creative and special way.
Copyright 2009, Bonnie K. Browning, BKB Designs
To read the Kentucky Living December 2009 feature that goes along with this supplement, go to The Lost Art of Writing Thank You Notes.
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