In Winter ... especially THIS Winter ... I love that Valentine's Day breaks up the season. Who cares if the groundhog sees his shadow ... for me it's all about pink and red and white and glitter! I loved it as a kid when it was time to make valentines to exchange at school. I'm sure mom didn't though ... remember the chunky glitter we used to use? It went everywhere! Now that I have to clean up after myself, I'm a little more conservative in how much I use ... plus I've switched up to that snobby fine glitter that glistens like snow. So pretty!
At the turn of the year, Pat Sloan and I were chit chatting and she brought up a harvest banner exchange I had done a number of years ago. And of course, our thoughts immediately went to Valentine's Day! It didn't take long to decide on a managable word and then I went off to pick four more friends to join us. I chose two from the east coast, two from the west coast, and two of us from the middle. The idea of our packages criss crossing the country as we mailed banners to each other amuzed me!
The way this worked is that our banners were all the same size, and each of us was assigned a letter to make for so that they spelled out B-E-M-I-N-E. We each made six ... one to keep ... five to share.
Sherri Falls from This and That had the B. She's from on the other side of the Twin Cities here in Minnesota. We never see each other!
Pat Sloan from Pat Sloan & Co had an E. Pat is from near Washington DC. We scheme a lot.
Suzanne Zingg from Strawberry Patches Quilt Shop had the M. Suzanne owns a darling quilt shop in Bakersfield, California that I love.
Pam Vierra-McGinnis from Pam Kitty Morning had the I. Pam lives near San Franscisco but has strong ties to Minnesota so we consider her one of us. And she drinks coffee each morning on her blog. Her coffee cups are darling!
Eileen Hull had the N. Eileen is a designer in the paper industry but I especially love her because she designs for Sizzix ... and you know how I love to die cut! I've personally contributed to Eileen's pocket money over the years with the purchase of her dies. Eileen and Pat live in the same town!
And I had the other E.
Click on our links above and we'll all have something to say about our banners, and you'll get a pattern for the letter we each had ... BECAUSE ... we know you're going to want to gather your friends to do a swap, too!! Read along for more instructions.
In order for them all to be the same size, we had to start with the same pattern. Take a piece of paper and draw a line that's 6" long. Find the center of the line ... 3" ... measure down 8 1/2" from there and make a dot. Draw a line from the dot to each corner of the 6" line to form the sides of a triangle. There's your banner! You can also find a pattern here ... Download Be Mine banner pattern.
The only other conditions we had were that we would stay in the traditional Valentine's Day colors and that we would make a hole in the corners and attach ribbons or fibers so they could tie to each other. They could be made from fabric, paper, or a combination of both.
I used fabric for the front of my banner and the E. The back of my banner is cute scrapbook paper. I fused my banner fabric, cut out the banner shape, and then fused it to the paper.
I used my 1/4" foot to stitch along the cut edges. When you sew thru paper one thing you should do is increase your stitch length a bit. If it's too small it could rip later. I used my OLFA rotary cutter to trim off the paper after so it looked nice and straight.
I put fusible web on the back of my letters, too. Remember ... when you do that you need to reverse the letter! I've already done that for you on my pattern and I placed it on the banner too so you could see where it should go. After they were fused in place, I headed back to my sewing machine and stitched in the center of the letters ... I followed the curves of the letter so it echoed the shape.
I love crepe paper so I die cut three layers of white and then set my stitches to BIG on my machine to gather them up. If you don't have crepe paper, you can use tissue paper, or lace, or fabric. No rules here!
When the crepe paper was gathered tightly, I lined it up with the top edge of my banner and used big paper clips to hold it in place. And yes ... those are some of the clips we made at our Pinterest Party on New Years Day. So handy! I layed a piece of pink rick rack over the gathering line to cover it up and I sewed through all of the layers.
My banner was dressed up with layers of hearts made from glittery paper and a little bit of bling in the center. I put another tiny heart on the E. I used my Crop-A-Dile to punch holes in the corners to thread my fibers through for ties. Then I bagged them up and headed to the postie ... and then waited. It was exciting to get fun mail for a change ... I'd open each one up and lay them out and it was a lot like playing Wheel of Fortune! "I'd like to buy an M, please."
The most amazing thing was that even though we were all working on our own and not coordinating them, our banners look great when they're tied together! We had such a good time that who knows ... maybe there'll be more banners in our future. Find a group of friends and play along ... it's such a nice way to get yourself through Winter!!