“I Wish WE All Could Be California Girls”

And the hits keep coming…

This postcard comes to us all the way from New York State. I dare you NOT to have this tune in your head all day.

Yvonne writes

The basic design of this piece is a nod to the California Arts Council’s special license plate.

Growing up in the northeast as a teen, like the rest of the country, we were in love with the Beach Boys music! When their big hit ‘California Girls’ debuted, we were so excited that the first line was about us! During out college dance parties we’d sing the lyrics along with the song but would always change it to ‘I wish WE all could be California girls!!’ and bellow it at the top of our lungs.

Decades later I was blessed to have my own California girl when my son married a sweetheart from California.

Yvonne finished the back of her postcard by turning the excess linen to the back and gluing on a piece of the same gold wool that she used for her sky on the front. Her text is printed on paper and sewn between two pieces of plastic and glued to the gold wool.

California Girls Lyrics

Well East coast girls are hip
I really dig those styles they wear
And the Southern girls with the way they talk
They knock me out when I’m down there

The Mid-West farmer’s daughters really make you feel alright
And the Northern girls with the way they kiss
They keep their boyfriends warm at night

I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California girls

The West coast has the sunshine
And the girls all get so tanned
I dig a French bikini on Hawaii Island
Dolls by a palm tree in the sand

I been all around this great big world
And I seen all kinds of girls
Yeah, but I couldn’t wait to get back in the states
Back to the cutest girls in the world

I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California girls


Computer Labels

Here are the instructions for printing a label onto cotton fabric to sew onto the back of your completed postcard.

Supplies needed: freezer paper, cotton fabric (pre-washed to remove sizing), ruler, sharp scissors, ink jet computer printer, iron, sewing thread and needle, pins, pencil.

1. Iron (cotton setting) a piece of freezer paper (shiny side) to a piece of cotton fabric. I used muslin. Be sure to pre-wash to remove any sizing.

2. Using your ruler, measure a rectangle 8 1/2 by 11 inches and draw with a pencil.

3. Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut the fused cotton/freezer paper to 8 1/2 by 11 inches. Do not cut the cotton or freezer paper to size before fusing.

4. Meanwhile, using your word processing software (I use Microsoft Word), create a document and type all the information that you want to appear on the back of your postcard. For this challenge, I’ve asked you to include the following:

Postcards from California Challenge 2012
Your Name
Your Address
Title of Postcard
Location of the scene

You may add any extras that you want. Please note that the back of Cai’s postcards include a priceless postage stamp that is a rug hook. She also dedicates all her postcards to a friend or family member and the dedication is printed on the back of her postcards. I haven’t tried color yet, but I’m sure that you could add colored pictures to these labels too. Be as creative as you want. As you can see from my sample above, I included the bare minimum.

Since I wanted to use a 1/2 seam allowance all the way around my label, I only had room for one label on and 8 1/2 x 11 inch piece. For this reason, I centered my typing. However, in retrospect, I realize that I could have spaced it differently and made some smaller labels for other purposes.

5. Place the fused piece of cotton/freezer paper in your printer’s feed tray. Make sure that the cotton fabric is on the print side. For my printer this means that I place the fabric side down. Your printer may be different. Hit print.

6. Peel the freezer paper off the cotton.

7. Place the shiny side of the paper over the printing and iron again to heat set the ink.

8. Cut your label to size. For a 4 by 6 inch postcard, you would need to add 1/2 inch all the way around which means you are cutting a piece 5 by 7.

9. Fold 1/2 inch seam allowance to the back of your label and iron in place.

10. Hand sew your label to the back of your postcard.

Note: I started having problems with my printer not being able to feed the cotton/freezer paper duo, so I googled freezer paper/cloth and printer problems and found a solution to this problem. It is counter intuitive to my way of thinking, but it works. Cut your freezer paper/cloth smaller than a sheet of paper (8 1/2 x 11) and clue it (a glue sticks works well) to a piece of printer paper. The printer is now able to pull the entire 3 layers through without getting jammed.

Another Note: When my cotton/freezer paper duo jammed I noticed black smudges that were made from the rollers struggling to pull the package around and through the printer route. I cleaned these rollers using a rag and rubbing alcohol. This worked like a charm. I have not had any problems at all since cleaning the rollers. In addition, I have printed many pages of photographic paper without incident.


“Grizzly” is the title of this postcard from Cai King. I read Cai’s description of “Grizzly” with tears in my eyes. She epitomizes one reason why I wanted to celebrate California in fiber. She talks about our State’s past glory with such pride and our future with such conviction. Our public education system was a main reason that my parents chose to move to California with their growing family in the 1950’s. My dad used to say that each of his children would have the opportunity to go to college in California. He was a teacher with four children and he knew without public higher education his children wouldn’t be able to afford college. He was right. All four of us graduated from college by going to community colleges, state universities, and the University of California. When we were going to college in the 1970’s and 1980’s community colleges were basically free and the state university system had a very nominal fee structure. The University of California was a little more expensive, but was nowhere as expensive as private colleges.

Cai writes….
“The mythic California Grizzly Bear embodies so many of our state characteristics. A gigantic animal, the Grizzly was independent and without peer but maintained a ferocious guardianship of family. California, too, is a state without equal who at one time boasted a state revenue greater than all but a few countries, a public education system the envy of the world, and a transportation infrastructure unparalleled. It was road related jobs that twice enticed my civil engineer dad to move his family to California. The second stay lasted 35 years for him. Sadly as the California Grizzly has faded into legend so have many of our state’s accomplishments. I believe, however, that the Bear Republic heart still beats loudly among us–immigrants and native-born alike–and that another golden era for California looms on our horizon. We remain a force to be reckoned with.

The template for Grizzly was resized from the Bear Republic flag found online. It features mohair & metallic fabric hand-woven by my little sister Kirsten. Although it was rather fragile to hook with it had the perfect attitude to depict the grizzly’s fur. Other wools, hand-dyed and found, were used from my stash in cuts #6 and #8. I didn’t want to recreate the state flag so I featured the bear with a simple outdoor scene–blue sky and green grass. The tiny eye & tinier teeth took many attempts each to get the detail I wanted without overwhelming the entire bear. The linen is probably dangerously worn in those areas! While hooking I had my youngest brother Barry in mind. He is the only one of us four kids to own the distinction of ‘Native Son of the Golden West.’ He is also a force to be reckoned with.”

Finishing Small Pieces

There are numerous ways to finish small mats and this is just one way.  Please use the method of your choice.  Here is one way to finish small mats and it may be used for finishing your postcards.  The photos I’m using are for some mug rugs that I’m in the process of finishing.

Draw a line around the outside of your finished mat (approximately 1 inch from last row of hooking).  I use a ruler that I lay next to the last row of hooking.

Zigzag stitch around the mat just inside your drawn line and then stitch across corners.

Next, cut your backing off on the drawn line.

Pin foundation fabric to the back mitering corners in the following order:

a) Fold corners to back

b) Fold sides to the back

c) Pin (Back and Front)

Whip edge.

Stay tuned for the next post on how to attach fabric with labeling to the back of your mat.

The “Grain Elevator Project”

I’ve been asked about what I plan to do with the Postcards that I receive.  My ultimate goal is to have them exhibited in galleries much like the mats hooked for the “Grain Elevator Project” that I read about in an article by Rita Smith in “A Needle Pulling Thread.”  The Heritage Rug Hookers of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada sought submissions for small pictorial rugs depicting grain elevators.  They wanted to document the disappearing grain elevators that dotted the prairies.  Their plan was to seek galleries that would exhibit this collection of work.  For more information on this project, see http://saskrug.blogspot.com/2009/07/grain-elevator-rug-project.html.

I want to celebrate California in a similar fashion and hope to receive enough “Postcards” to create a display that could be taken to rug hooking guilds, camps, and shows in the State and, perhaps, interest galleries to exhibit this fiber art display.  After these events are completed, the Postcards would be returned to the artists who created them.  I also hope to write an article for a rug hooking publication to further document the postcards.

The first showing of the “Postcards” is scheduled for The Monterey Fiber Jam at Asilomar, February 12-17, 2012.

Postcard Previews

Laura from Petaluma, CA sent me pictures of two of her California postcards before finishing them.  She plans to frame her postcards using photo mats.  Laura’s first postcard is of one of California’s missions, San Juan Bautista and shows the “campanario,” or bell wall.

The next postcard is called Dawn at Little River; a beautiful spot along the coast in Northern California.

Thank you, Laura, for sending these pictures.  If anyone else has photos of postcards in progress, please send them to me or post them when you make a comment.

The Postcards

Southern California

The first postcard arrives!

The first postcard arrived in the mail today from Fresno, CA.  It is pure CA and it made me glad that I started this challenge.  The photo speaks for itself.  I dare anyone not to get a warm feeling when they see this postcard.  The back is as perfect as the front. ( I’ll be adding posts about finishing small pieces in the future.)

Here is what the artist has to say about “So Cal.”

A plethora of images played dodge ball in my brain as soon as Gail announced her Postcard Challenge, and many of those have or will get hooked, but when I actually sat down, with canvas, wool, and hook, this was the image that was Technicolor-fierce & unrelenting.  I hooked it as I saw it–two iconic images that define California globally:  our beloved Mouse & stately palm trees.  Without being too literal, I think the perspective and placement of the images hints at the awesome-ness of our state–that which we come by naturally and also what the human mind & hand have created.

Stay tuned for more information about “So Cal,” including how it was hooked, finished, and what the artist learned from this experience.