Saturday, January 31, 2015

Love Note Mailbox Tutorial


For each day in February leading up to Valentine's Day, I am going to be writing my husband and kids a little love note and figured I would need a cute container to hold my notes.  Hence the idea of  the Love Note Mailbox was born!  I have literally been planning on doing this project since last year, so with February starting in just a day, I figured today was the day!

To make this mailbox you will need:

 - a total of 22 charm squares
8 for the exterior shell
8 for the interior shell
2 for the front
2 for the back
2 for the flag
scraps from you squares for the front closure

- 1.25 yard of heavy weight interfacing 20" wide
cut (4) 9.5" x 16.25" rectangles
cut (6) 5" x 5" squares

- about 20" of velcro

 First, chose your charm squares.  I decided to use pink/red/white for the exterior and blue/white for the interior. Arrange your squares, and piece them together in 2 rows of 4. 



Trim the pieced rows to 9.5" x 16.25".


Iron two 9.5" x 16.25" heavy-weight interfacing rectangles onto the back of each of your exterior and interior pieces.  Place the exterior and interior rectangle panels with RST and sew a 1/4" seam around the entire perimeter, leaving a 6" opening on one of the short sides. Make sure you backstitch at the start and finish.


Clip the corners, being careful not to cut through the stitches.  Turn right sides out and press flat.  Tuck the fabric at the opening in 1/4", press, and sew a 1/8" stitch down the opening.




On this same side of the panel, sew a 1/2" line all the way down.


On the opposite side of the panel, sew a straight line down the seam to the left of the first charm squares.  These 2 squares will serve as the bottom of the mailbox.



Cut a piece of velcro about 1/4"-1/2" x 15.5".  Iron or sew on (follow the manufacturer instructions) to the outside edge of the interior fabric of the bottom of the mailbox.


Attach the other side of the velcro to the opposite side of the panel on the exterior fabric.


The shell of the mailbox is now finished!


To make the front and back of the mailbox, place the shell on top of the wrong side of the charm square that you will use for the exterior.  Trace around the shell to get the approximate shape you want.



Layer the other charm you will use for the exterior and the 2 charms you will use for the interior under the marked charm and fold them all in half vertically.  Cut the charms with a 1/4" seam allowance around the marks that you drew.


Iron two layers of 5" square heavy-weight interfacing onto the wrong side of the front and back pieces.



With RST, sew the exterior and interior front pieces together with a 1/4" seam, leaving a few inches open at the bottom.  Backstitch at the start and finish.  Repeat for the back piece.  


Clip the corners and the curves, being careful not to cut through the stitches.


Flip the front and back pieces right side out and press flat.  Tuck the fabric at the opening in 1/4", press, and sew a 1/8" stitch down the opening.



Using a zig-zag stitch, sew the straight edge of the font piece onto the bottom of the mailbox shell, making sure that the exterior fabric is right-side up.  As always, backstitch at the start and finish!  Repeat to sew the back piece onto the opposite side of the bottom.




Now to make the closure piece for the front of the mailbox.

Cut two pieces of fabric 1.75" x 2.5".  I just used scraps from when I cut my exterior and interior charm panels.


With RST, sew 1/4" seam around the rectangles, leaving an opening on one of the short sides. Make sure to backstitch the start and finish.


Clip the corners and turn right side out.


Fold the fabric on the open side in 1/4", press, and sew a 1/8" line down the opening.


Attach a 1/4" x 1" piece of velcro to the side that was just stitched on the interior fabric.


Center the closure piece on the exterior fabric of the front mailbox piece so that about an 1"-1.5" is hanging over the top.  Pin and sew the closure piece onto the front piece.



With the shell of the mailbox folded, mark a rectangle on the exterior shell where the other piece of velcro needs to be attached to chose the front piece.  Unfold the shell and attach the velcro.

To make the flag, put the charm you want to be most visible under the charm that will show on the back side with WST.  I cut my fabric as indicated in the picture below.


Iron on two layers of heavy-weight interfacing onto to wrong side of each fabric.


With RST, sew the fabric with a 1/4" seam around the perimeter of the flag, leaving an opening on the 2" side or 3" top of the flag.  (In this picture I left the opening on the 1.5" bottom of the flag, and it was pretty hard to turn right side out! Don't make my mistake and make sure to leave the bigger side or top piece open!)  Clip the corners and turn right sides out.


Press the flag, making sure to tuck 1/4" of the opening fabric in.  Sew an 1/8" line down the opening.


When the flag is attached to the mailbox, this is the side that you will see, hopefully minus the sad little tear in the fabric I made when turning this right side out :( .


Sew a 1" x 1" piece of velcro onto the bottom of the opposite side of the flag.  With the shell of the mailbox folded, mark the fabric where you want to put the other piece of velcro.  Unfold the shell and sew the other 1" x 1" piece of velcro onto the exterior fabric.

You can now attach your flag to the side of the mailbox, indicating if there is mail inside . . . 


 . . . or not!


The last step in making your mailbox is to sew up the back.  With a needle and thread, blind stitch or whip stitch the back piece onto the exterior shell fabric.  Make sure the shell is folded and the velcro is fastened together.




And now you have a cute little mailbox to hold all the love notes you will be writing!



I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and find time in your busy crafting life to make this! I think it could really be a fun way to show your loved ones just how much you care!

Friday, January 30, 2015

A Matter of Focus

Hello, readers!  I've taken quite the hiatus from blogging over the last two months!  With the holidays and just life in general, I really needed to take a break from cyber land.  While taking this break, I really thought a lot about where my blog is headed and what I want it to be.  Although I have loved the Share the Love posts that I committed to blog weekly, I have found it has been taking too much of my precious family time to blog every week.  I know it my sound silly, but it has been a stress to find fresh new projects to share weekly, and blogging was becoming a chore instead of something I was enjoying.  I will still probably continue to share projects from others quilters, but they will happen less frequently.  Instead, I hope to be able to use this blog mainly as a way to document what I am working on and my finishes.  I think that this will help me focus on and enjoy what I am able to accomplish instead of comparing myself to other bloggers/quilters.  I have very much appreciated all the support that I have gotten from my followers and people that read my blog.  I hope you will all understand and continue to follow me on my creative journey!