Some of my fondest childhood memories are of times I stole away to our attic where my grandmother stored boxes of quilting appliques - small parts of cotton fabric shapes - she used for creating flowers, birds, and other patterns onto quilts. I would spend hours laying the pieces out on the attic floor, never realizing I was planting seeds for something that would bloom 40 years later - Kalico Kards!
More than 50 years ago in Pennsylvania Dutch farm country, which is the area I grew up in, most homes had tea towels, aprons, curtains, tablecloths, napkins, even clothing created from recycled feedbags! The feedbags originally held seed for planting or feed for the animals. Moms and Grandmas would carefully take out the seams and have a yard or so of fabric to stitch together for whatever the need was presently. These printed feedbags were called "calico cottons" - relating to the small prints printed on them! It's what Kalico Kards are all about "calico cotton fabrics"! I changed the "C" in calico to a "K" and did likewise with the "C" in cards. Every Kalico Kard has a bit of fabric in the design - most designs are all fabric!
Twenty-two years ago when the first Kalico Kard was created, its design was very simple - as they evolved, they expanded - not only in quantity but in design also - I've added embossing, hand painting, embellishments, charms were added to some, and my hand printing also took on a style which customers call calligraphy. It's not really calligraphy, it's just an italicized printing . As my hands grow older my printing is changing again - but I am always complimented on my style. I love listening to the giggles and comments made as two friends together browse through my large display of cards - it is so gratifying to know the long hours spent ARE appreciated.
It doesn't take much to inspire a Kalico Kard - a haunting melody, a nostalgic image, a billboard ad, a catchy phrase, a quote that speaks to my heart - - - are just a few of the ways a Kalico Kard takes shape. Once inspired, I hop to it - if I don't, my thoughts discourage or change it in some way - I use the inspired energy to create that first one - the rest is just work. Sometimes the design is inspired, but mostly it's the cards words. I have two notebooks categorized with words and phrases which I call messages - they're not "verses" or poetry but messages of affirmation or encouragement or sympathy or appreciation or congrats - that say a lot in just a few words! A customer will ask "did you make all these cards?" I tell them "yes - but not last night" Their next question is "where do you get all your ideas?" What can I say? I'm a card person - be careful what you say, it might just be turned into a Kalico Kard!
I am a one person show - I work at home in my studio - designing the card, cutting the fabric, creating and embellishing the card, printing its message and taking them to the craft shows or to shops or online to sell, or I'm shopping for the resources needed to do these. I work seven days a week sometimes 10-12 hours a day because I enjoy what I do. I have a 10x12' room that is lined with shelves full of cards, all categorized in alphabetical order. Each card has a specific name and a place in that room - some card designs are "keepers" - like the heart/doves wedding card I've created so many times over the years. It is still my best seller! I personalize the card with the bride and grooms name and beneath that hand print the date of their marriage. Only the message inside has changed over the years.
I'm not really a dreamer, but if I had my life to do over again I'd do what I love to do right from the beginning. I've met so many wonderful people along the way who have boosted my self esteem and uplifted my spirit in so many ways.
Simply Neutrals Tuesday
2 years ago