Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hello Denver!

Have you ever had to hold onto a juicy secret? Each time you wanted to share it, it would bubble up inside of you just wanting to burst out of your mouth and escape as a giggle instead?

Well I haven't been able to blog for some time because I've been burning the midnight oil between reality and a secret project. In May of this year, I was invited to {giggle}.... be a Craftsy Instructor!

OK, let me be the first to admit, initially I was really hesitant. I'm an introvert, shy away from having my picture taken, and stutter introducing myself in a community garden meeting. When I asked myself why I'd even contemplate putting myself through something I'd usually run away from, my main reason was because I could SHOW my methods better than I could explain it with photos in a book. I could demonstrate what goes wrong and how I deal with it on the spot.

When the pilot light went out in our water heater, we dutifully followed the robotic instructions in a dank crawl space, and failed 3 times. It was YouTube that showed us how to do it properly just once. How could I not go on this daunting adventure? I've been asked on this blog to show what I do in video, and now it would be done professionally!

So in August, I said hello to Denver! The class will be available later this month, so stay tuned for more. Sign up for my newsletter and be the first to know about what I'll be showing in my class!

In the meantime, let me show you the "mile high" city, named so because it's exactly a mile above sea level! They were having a heat wave during the week I was there, but obviously their hibiscus loved it.

Our first breakfast was at Snooze, at Union Station. No matter who I spoke to in Denver, they ALL gushed and agreed that it's just SO GOOD to have breakfast there!

We cooled off by having some Little Man Ice Cream. Look at the size of that milk canister! The size of their scoops were like a meal!

Grand architecture abounds in Denver. How can a simply thing like a string of lights be so romantic?!? Can't wait to show you more soon!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to make a Paper Sunflower

My neighbor was just about to chop down his first sunflower plant last year, when I asked him why he wasn't saving it for the seeds. He was surprised when I showed him where they were hiding. He gave me a bag after they were dried, but actually they were kind of too small to bother eating. I thought it would be intriguing to make a paper sunflower from those seeds.

I first glued about 4 of them side by side and waited until they dried. Then I stuck them on top of an adhesive backed foam dot (used for holding CDs in place). Row by row, I layered the glue and another set of seeds. It's key to step away and do some other task before gluing the next row (yes, I'm talking to myself here). The foam dot is really just to mound the center so it gets a bit of height.

As I got near the rim, I placed it on a yogurt lid and slid seeds in below. The glue does not stick to plastic and using a flat surface for the last rows ensured I would have a flat item to glue to my final surface.

I made the petals from crêpe paper ribbon from a dollar store. After wadding up a few layers, I freehand cut some petals out.

The crêpe color was a bit too lemony yellow for my taste and luckily I have markers from my college days. Holding the petal base with my finger tip, I lightly dragged the marker across the petal, lifting it off partway – more of a flicking motion. 

The markers are slightly dried out, which is perfect because it allowed for a streakier, lighter coverage of the translucent wrinkly petals. I think the two tones helps add more depth to the petals. Then I cupped the petals by pulling in the middle slightly. Crêpe paper is well known to take on that subtle sculpting nicely.

For the backing of the petals, I cut a circle of paper smaller than the seed circle so it ensured the backing would be covered completely. The petals are quite transparent and I didn't want anyone to see how they all got stuck together – which was simply using glue stick, one row at a time, one petal at a time.

I covered all the seeds with more white glue and stuck it on top of the petals, completing the flower. To ensure all the seeds are extremely secure, I used a fine tip glue bottle and squeezed deep within the mound, just to be sure nothing ever dropped out over time.

This is being placed into a shadow box as a memento gift to someone special. If you give this paper sunflower a try, I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thank You Card for a Nurse

I needed to make another thank you for card for a nurse again, but felt the need for a change from the ones I've quilled in the past (1 and 2). So instead I used my much neglected die cutter to cut one that I could shape and sculpt instead.

Starting off with her initial, I shaded the edges with an ink pad and adhered foam dots on the back, just to give it a bit more dimension. Everything was cut from metallic paper, so you'll notice a hint of sheen catching highlights. Adding the sculpted die punched flowers at the top left was easy, and just gives a bit of character to the initial.

It's the stethoscope that I enjoyed making most. I envisioned a doctor hanging their stethoscope around their neck or on some equipment, signifying they were done for the day. So that's what I did on the corner of the letter. Letting the tube wrap around itself was pure fun. It's hard to see here, but the circle holding up the heart is raised a bit because I added some hole punched circles under it.

Dotting glue in targeted locations is the key to making it seem like it's just swaying. It's the overlap of the tube that I placed the most amount of glue to really secure it. A tiny dab in the remaining touching areas was enough to secure the loose ends, yet let it still be airy.

Yes, it's subtle, and does one really notice? But it's these little things that I enjoy making most because it gives a lively sense without using a sledgehammer.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Pretty Quilled Cards - 1st Anniversary

One year ago, my book was officially released.

To make that happen, I was inspired by all the kind comments on this blog, which I re-read whenever I needed a boost.

I was given the free hours to write, test, and develop patterns by my hubby, who also had to console me when things didn't work out the way I imagined. I had three awesome quillers by my side, testing and giving feedback along the way. I had friends and family helping and cheering me on as I developed each design or sorted out technical challenges.

After it launched, I had the gracious help of amazing quillers provide reviews. They gave me their precious time and provided their perspective in book reviews. I sweated bullets, wondering how my thoughts and techniques would fare, as I had admired each of them for quite some time.

When I think about this past year and everything that has happened, one word that sums up how I feel is "thanks". I'm so grateful to everyone who helped make the planets line up for me, from my editor who saw my potential to paper enthusiasts all over the world. I'm grateful my friends and family put up with my paper fever and nod along as I prattled on with my passion.

To celebrate this anniversary, I thought I would quill a card to you all, to give you my thanks.

I'm very aware that I haven't been blogging in the last few months. I don't normally talk about personal things on this blog, but feel a need to explain why I've been so quiet lately. I recently changed to a more demanding job and I am also devoting time to a loved one who is ill. My mind has been very preoccupied and it doesn't feel the quiet space it needs to allow papery-goodness to flourish.

To thank all my supporters for the above, my plan is to make this simple word into a tutorial pattern. It would be the same as the others - with templates to show the length, where to glue, and step-by-step photos and tips along the way. I've been making this word again and again, trying different materials and thicknesses until I know what works best.

I look forward to talking about it more when it's ready, and I thank you in advance for your patience as I find the zen to amass all the details.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pretty Quilled Cards - Review by Irena

I had the pleasure of meeting Irena a few years ago on FaceBook. She recently did me the honor of reviewing my quilling book and there is no better sense of a complete circle when I see someone making a quilled item from my book, Pretty Quilled Cards.

The first project she tackled was the baby rattle card, because she was enjoyed the inner flourishes. In a single glance, I can see she has such great control of her paper. Her tension is so evenly matched. I'm grateful she gave me permission to showcase some of her work on my blog.

Thank you for giving me your precious time, Irena! 
I'm so happy to read your kind words about my book.
Your reaction is everything I had hoped for, as I wrote it during that year.
~ Cecelia

 I quite enjoyed her pine needles and Christmas bells card, shown here. That's a keeper for sure!

I like her lilac card more than the one I made, because the fullness of the petals gives the true sense of a 3D shape. Sometimes more is more, and especially in this case!

A project that has been taking up Irena's time is her butterfly. Isn't it exquisite? I don't think I have this kind of patience!

You can see more of Irena's work on her Kiddo's Blog.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bride and Groom Party Favor Boxes on CTV!

I was so excited to have my bride and groom wedding party favor boxes be shown on CTV (a local TV station) wedding segment for local Etsy sellers. Unfortunately, they ran out of time to showcase it in detail.

Here's a closer shot - can you see them?

...and as you can see, they just missed being in the frame. Oh well, it was still nice to have my designs on TV! You can catch the full video here:

Bride Groom party favor box

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking back on 2014, and looking forward to 2015

I awoke this morning to read an email from Dana Byerwalter, of All Free Paper Crafts. I was so pleased to learn my Pretty Quilled Vase and Teacup was part of their Top 100 Projects of 2014! There are many great projects on this list, so it's quite an honor to have been part of this group. My wonderful accolades seem to come to me this way - without me knowing it was something to strive for. I'm extremely grateful to see my work being enjoyed by paper enthusiasts.

Another source of great pride comes from my neighbor's niece, Sarah, who visited them this summer. She took one look at an example of my quilling and asked her aunt for my book, Pretty Quilled Cards. I am simply amazed with her work. Just look at her snowman card! I rated it 4 out of 5 for difficulty, and she just started quilling recently! A handmade Christmas card like this shows such thought and love for the person she gave it to. Here is more of her wonderful work so far. I can envision her making her own designs quite soon.

To be really honest, I had some fears my unusual way of quilling might put off some experienced quillers, or that my explanations were too out there to get across – but gazing at her work reassures me that I have made a body of work that inspires others to give quilling a try. This gives me the most satisfaction of all - knowing that I've inspired someone to discover an all-consuming craft and talent. Thank you for giving so much back to me, Sarah!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Last January, I eagerly announced I had become an author – a bucket list item I didn't realize was in my reach. I'm indebted to all who agreed to review or spotlight my book and graciously gave their time and thoughts.

Since then, I have received photos from other quillers who have been inspired to take up quilling as Sarah has: Cupcakes by Anna,  Mother's Day by Carrie Finson, and Quilling for the first time by 7th Graders.

Another compliment I received was from Craftsy who pronounced my snowflake grid to be their top paper pattern design of 2014. I received an invaluable time capsule of quilling supplies courtesy Aunt Berni's generous family. I was given the opportunity overcome my fears of public speaking, by teaching quilling at Precious Memories. A blog hop spot was offered to me by Pritesh of Quilling Me Softly.

This year I showed examples of my photo booth set up, how I store quilling paper strips, and even to tame a rat’s nest of tangled quilling strips. I gave tutorials for a Mustache Valentine Card, I <3 U card, a new "Cut Coil" quilling technique (and a 2nd), using Letraset Studio Tac, cutting your own quilling strips, 3D soccer ball card, quilling a monogram, and a not-so-great DIY Electric Quilling tool.

My own personal projects included: an Easter Egg Spaceship, Easter Egg Planet, a DIY Mason Bee Hive, and a quilled poppy (my largest quilling project ever). I managed to launch a couple more quilling patterns in my store for cupcakes and champagne flutes. My die cutting exploits included: a hand drawn birthday cake card, party favor boxes for a ladybug, turtle, snail, jack o’ lantern, and bumble bee.

Whew! I'm actually shocked by this list. I have received and given so much this year, and I'm grateful for all of it. Of the above, of course it's my book announcement that is most memorable, and yet it's my Ladybug box that I had clutched in my hand as I fell asleep after making it – so content that it turned out exactly as I had imagined.

What's my plan for next year? Well...I won't be able to post as much. I want to apologize for not being able to keep up the frequency I've had in the past, but I have taken on a new full-time job, and it's been all-consuming to tackle their projects and learn about their industry. I still itch to play with paper, and this will never go away. I hope you have patience and check in on me once in a while. I re-read your comments, which remind me there is a readership out there who sees the nuances of what I do, and wants to know about the little details that I document – I am more grateful to you than you will ever know. Thank you all for your enthusiasm and words of encouragement. I hope to continue earning it in 2015 with some key projects that I have in mind.

May you all have a paper-filled Happy New Year in 2015!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Quilled Stethoscope Card

quilling stethoscope nurse doctor heart

Hi there, I haven't been able to blog much lately, as I have a new job and a family member needs medical care.

This card reminded me why I love quilling – I can make something special just for the recipient and plus, I can't buy this in a store. I put a heart at the bottom of a stethoscope to thank a nurse for her care. It just says so much with so little.

Sorry I don't have measurements for a tutorial, because I just had to make it and go, but I'll explain what I did. I started off with a gray strip, loosely placed over my card to judge the length needed, leaving some extra length for the ear pieces. After coiling the ends, I glued them closed leaving long tails and crimping at that join. Gently rubbing in the middle and a bit of distance from the ends, I formed the curves needed for the earpiece.

After making two red teardrops, I glued them together to form a heart.

Next, I folded a long strip of black in half. I glued the point of the heart into the black fold, and continued gluing all around the heart, meeting in the middle at the top. Then I glued the black strip together, about halfway up, leaving two ends free to be glued onto the gray earpieces.

Making two matching pink same-sided scrolls on either side simply adds some embellishment and motion. In this case I wanted the whole thing to be asymmetrical and added a gentle curve to the black, just to give the entire piece some motion.

quilling stethoscope nurse doctor heart

Monday, November 10, 2014

Winner of 2014 Craftsy Pattern Design Awards - Paper Crafts Category

quilling snowflake grid

Wow, Christmas came early! I had no idea Craftsy held an award for top pattern designs and am delighted my Quilling Snowflakes Grid  won this year.

Using a grid is essential when quilling snowflakes because our eyes can detect when just one arm is a tad off. I used mine to create these snowflakes many years ago (one day I'll update all those credits I made when blogging as Crafting Creatures) and keep meaning to make a pattern one day. Until then I hope you'll make your own unique snowflake with the help of my free grid.

Craftsy Pattern Design Awards - Paper Crafts: Winner

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Book Review: Paper Play by Shannon E. Miller

I've been asked to do my first book review! Shannon Miller is a DIY designer/writer and since her book is about paper, of course I was itching to play.

This 160 page book is jam packed with 40+ paper projects, perfect for a beginner to explore different ways of using paper. The projects are broken up into 7 sections (Fold, Cut, Sculpt, Quill, Stitch, Draw & Paint, and Collage). The step-by-step photos are well lit with great close ups. It can be a daunting world for a beginner to paper crafts, and this book is a great way to learn about the myriad of possibilities.

The tools are clearly listed and don't require much investment to get started. Most of the projects shown can be made in an afternoon and offer many ways to create projects ranging from cards to wreaths to jewelry.

Each project starts off with a list of materials, followed by step-by-step photos and directions, making every example achievable.

Here is a fun wreath created simply by zigzag folding the pieces. I like that she shows an atypical example of red so one can imagine using a wreath throughout the year, not just Christmas.

Since I have an affinity for quilling, this section obviously appealed to me. I like her example of using corrugated cardboard to create fern leaves, so one can see you don't have to have to standard quilling supplies to get a taste of how fun coils can be.

I've never been a button fanatic, but this project has possibilities. I can imagine making it out of red for Valentine's Day or even in the shape of an elephant. I like the mixture of materials here.

Here's another example of how Shannon replaces the usual materials, using paper instead of fabric to create an embroidered card. Hats off to her for creating a fun intro to how many ways one can play with paper!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bee Party Favor Gift Box (SVG, PDF files)

I've been a busy bee, making the latest creature in my party favor box collection, based on my first Ladybug.

His stripes are all held together with just two brads on the side.

My favorite part is how the vellum wings stick up all on their own.

As with all the boxes in this series, the bee is a good fit in my palm. He's now available in my Etsy shop.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Jack O' Lantern Pumpkin Party Favor Box

Who has their carving tools ready? It's still a bit early to start digging in for Halloween, but this Jack O' Lantern doesn't need any gutting.

His perky stem comes with spiralling vines for extra fun.

There are three friendly faces to choose from, and when cut from yellow paper, appear to have an inner candlelit glow.

The pumpkin itself offers a decent size for ghoulish treats. It's easily cut from just two sheets of 8.5"x11" in green and orange, attached simply by two orange brads. So fun to assemble with little ones. It's now available in my shop.
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