Make-It + Mail-It #3: Upcycling + Madewell!

Hey you guys! It’s time for Make-It + Mail-It Challenge #3! Sure hope you can join in.

For those new to Make-It + Mail-It Challenges, it all got started here when I was the recipient of a bunch of cards that really touched my heart. It was like getting a big huge hug from all around the world! I wanted to do something to encourage people to make cards and send them so others could feel that way too. So, the challenge is pretty simple:

  • Make a card (or anything else!)
  • Mail it, then
  • Link back here so that we can all enjoy the happy mail that’s going out around the world! (I’ve found that a challenge gives me a little extra motivation to get things mailed. Are you the same way?)
  • After all the links are in, I’ll randomly pick a participant to mail a card to. So fun!

I like to make a whole batch of cards to send out when I’m doing a mailing — the more the merrier, right? Plus I like to get my supplies out and make a big mess, ha!

I have a theme for each Make-It and Mail-It, but that’s just my theme — you can do whatever you like! For this challenge, I was inspired by this Electric Ikat Top from Madewell, check it out:

I love the colors, and how the pattern looks kinda watercolor-y, don’t you? (Love Madewell so much, the one near me is just a bit down from J.Crew and across the street from Anthropologie and the Apple store. Plus there’s a tea room on the same street with amazing teas, scones, and other treats. It’s all very dangerous!)

For some reason it reminded me of the Sweet Threads Antique stamp from Hero Arts. I guess because it’s very graphical?

I embossed the stamp with white embossing powder on white cardstock, broke out some watercolors, and…

Ta dah! Looks pretty cool, don’t you think?

The paper was pretty wrinkled after it dried, so I ironed it. Since it was embossed, I placed it face down on a paper towel — that way the embossing powder wouldn’t melt all over my iron or ironing board and make a mess. And! When the powder is removed it leaves such a nice look — almost like fabric!

While I was trimming the papers MORE Madewell inspiration struck! I’d been saving the bag to use it for something — didn’t know what — but those bag handles seemed to go just perfectly.

(Hope that people don’t start calling me The Bag Lady after this, but I just can’t help upcycle bags. Check out this bracelet that I made from J.Crew bag handles, and this card from a Paper Source bag. Ha ha!)

I decided not to stamp a message on the card so as to make the painting the focal point. The cards came together pretty quickly after that!

Love how each card is a little different — just love that about watercolors!

Resources: Hero Arts Sweet Threads Antique stamp, kraft notecards from Paper Source, and bag handles from a Madewell bag. All watercolors by Cotman. I used some awesome digital resources from Katrina at Pugly Pixel to create the inspiration graphic: yellow grid paper and washi tape. Thanks so much, Katrina!

Now it’s your turn to Make-It and Mail-It! (And you can upcycle bags if you want to. I won’t call you a bag lady if you don’t call me one. :)

Let’s make some mailboxes happy!

27 Replies to “Make-It + Mail-It #3: Upcycling + Madewell!”

  1. Wow Lisa! What a gorgeous set of cards! I have an obsession with anything ikat or ikat inspired. I love the colours, they remind me of batik fabric as well. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I love ikat too! So far I don’t own anything with it though, can you believe it? :)

  2. *GASP!* These are STUNNING, Lisa! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them!

    1. Thanks so much Sarah!

  3. You made the cards look just like the top! This is so fun! I’ve been looking forward to another Make-It Mail-It challenge and now it’s here! Yay! Hope you’re doing well, sweet Lisa! Hugs to you! :)
    Barb :) recently posted..Flourishes Winner!

    1. Hi Barb! Doing better — knee is slowly on the mend, whew! Hugs back! :)

  4. GORGEOUS!! It’s funny I did a similar take on cards like yours–except I used distress inks!! It’s so fun to play emboss resist, isn’t it? Thanks for the idea and challenge!

    1. Oh cool, gotta check it out!

  5. Stunning cards Lisa – I love that batik look with your watercolours!
    I can’t wait to play with your challenge. I have a couple of cards I need to mail this week so I’ll be sure to share when I’ve got my tape-to-paper. That’s like putting pen-to-paper, only it’s the crafty girl’s way of doing things ;)
    Ruth S recently posted..Christmas card already

    1. tape-to-paper, I love it! Can’t wait to see your cards, Ruth! :)

  6. I love the colourful swipes of colour with that background stamp, simple and gorgeous!
    Sue McRae recently posted..Least Favourite Colour

  7. Sharon D from Canada says: Reply

    These are fabulous, Lisa – relatively simple technique and yet a total WOW result! Love them!

  8. barbara lassiter says: Reply

    These are so neat! I really love using watercolors, too! I had to laugh when I saw the bag handles. They reminded me of the trim I just used on a card. It was made from the tie-belt of an old worn pair of summer slacks I discarded. It looked just like the bag handles. I’m forever saving bits and pieces like that and isn’t it fun?

  9. wow! this is super cool, Lisa! love love how you make the background. thank you so much for sharing this technique! fabulous set of cards!
    Alice W. recently posted..Day at the Beach

  10. WOW! What colorful cards you have made with this resist technique! Love that you used the bag handles for the “ribbons”!
    joy recently posted..JUNE CCC

  11. You make me smile soooo big! Ironing your paper? I don’t get the iron out for ANY reason now that I am retired. Sorry, girlfriend. Love the look of this technique – very retro ’60’s – just delightful! I need to gather my bags and put on my thinking cap. Maybe make my thinking cap out of a bag? Such fun – thanks so much!
    Maureen Morton recently posted..Giraffe on Film!

  12. Beautiful! Very cheery!
    This just inspired me to do something with that Anyhropologie bag I was holding onto.:)

  13. Beautiful watercolor…I’m so inspired by this design, Lisa! Now I’m looking around for something to upcycle.
    NancyK recently posted..Orange Home Grown Farmers Marketanother fun day at work!

  14. ohh they are very very nice ! love the colours

  15. lisa! if i didn’t know any better, i would’ve thought these were store-bought. these are PERFECT.

  16. gorgeous set of cards!!! love how you upcycled the bag!

  17. I love these cards! Beautiful colors. You’ve inspired me to look through my collection of shopping bags.

  18. love how you upcycled the bag handle! i keep all of the nicer shopping bags too not knowing what i’ll do with them so it should no problem for me to make something out of the bags.
    ivy recently posted..busy busy

  19. Love, love, love these cards, Lisa! The colours and watercolour effect are just gorgeous! I’ll definitely have to try that technique! Hopefully I’ll get to make a “make-it + mail it” card in the next couple of days!
    Heather Maria recently posted..Wedding bits and pieces and gift box tutorial

  20. Lol, I got a bit carried away with the Make-It+Mail-It Challenge this time! Thanks again for all the fun:)
    Heather Maria recently posted..Ribbon Bandage Dress

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