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.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Snail Party Favor Gift Box

I'm having way too much fun with these box ideas right now - I can't seem to stop the ideas. Here's my latest, a snail box, complete with slime trail too!

This idea came to me when I bought my first ever box of brads by Recollections, called Metallic Mini Circles. The gold one came tumbling out and boom! I thought of shells.

Even though I rounded the antennae up for the ladybug box, I found it didn't really add much nuance to the box. In the case of the snail though, the added googly eyes really makes it!

I really wanted to capture the spiral of a snail's shell. It seems so simple and obvious that all it took was inserting the brad into each flap – quite fun to make them come together.

And one last detail that just could not be overlooked - a trail of slime, made of clear plastic.

It's a good hand size for storing treats for your guests. The Snail Box is now listed in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Turtle Party Favor Gift Box

After making the ladybug box, it just seemed logical to make this turtle box, complete with accented mole. I think my nephews would prefer making this guy, as the ladybug is likely too girly for them.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

A blog hop with a difference!

I was flattered to be asked by Pritesh to be part of her blog hop, originally started by Hussena

I love Pritesh's infectious enthusiasm for paper crafts and the ideas that flare up between us all. She shares many tutorials on her blog and I can tell we're cut from the same Type A cloth. Her work is precise, and varies widely from a tiny ornately detailed piece of jewelry to a staggering 5.5x3 foot panel – all from quilling paper. She'll analyze a paper challenge using her chemistry background, then present her lab results and findings so we all learn and grow alongside her.

And now, on to the Q&A of this blog hop:

1. What am I working on? 

My love of paper is focused on two genres, quilling and die cutting, and am most intrigued when both those worlds collide.

In quilling, I am working on a series tutorials for letter/alphabet/monogram projects and plan to progress from easy to advanced projects. Stay tuned for more!

In die cutting, I'm currently debating between more (left) or less (right) details within a dragonfly's wings.

I am also trying to mimic quilling by cutting my wings in that style, but it doesn't always work well because the details are so intricate – but when there's a will, there's a way and I'm sure I'll figure it out if I keep trying.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My quilling tends to be very airy and open. I initially went down this path to be frugal with my supplies because it was difficult to buy locally. I started to enjoy this minimalist look and found it to be more expressive with less strips.

Although I enjoyed origami as a child, I preferred making things that were not only decorative but also served a purpose. With my die cutting, I strive to make designs that fold well with minimum effort, with the least glue or cutting needed. My Halloween coffins are my highest achievement of this because the coffins fold together with great strength, without the aid of glue. My desk looked like a cemetery with months of partial attempts.

In some ways I find myself avoiding using more strips or glue because I shy away from more work - in essence being lazy. My co-worker said "The laziest people in the world are the most efficient people in the world because they find ways to get the same work done with less effort." So I'm not lazy, I'm just efficient!

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

It's an itch. I have to scratch at that idea, drawing it out on paper and then watch it come to life before my eyes. I sit there stunned it looks just like imagined – or I sit there and wonder where it went so wrong? If I don't scratch the itch, it'll persist and give me no relief until I try it out. It also gives my fingers and mind freedom to play. It's all a type of playing, free as a child who forgets to eat or put on a jacket. I never want to lose that wonder of discovery and trying.

This invite is a combo of die cutting and quilling. I deliberately did not glue down quilling strips fully, allowing their playfulness in the mid-air express themselves in the shadows.

4. How does your writing/creating process work?

When I saw a beautiful poppy photo, I was immediately drawn to its lines, tonal values, and expression just by being there as itself. I wondered if I could recreate that beauty with just paper and have it express the same beauty but in a different way. After sketching out the image, I imagined how to make it out of the paper I have and start to amass the colors and materials, placing them side by side to assess how well they go together.

After cutting the necessary elements, I experimented with the shaping and coiling of each element before gluing permanently. There are times mid-way through the process I feel like I'm working on a gangly, pimply teenager who is at an awkward phase but shows promise. I push through that doubt because it's simply faster to finish it rather than deal with how I'll feel if I don't find out how it ends, even if I'm not pleased with the final result.

I would say 75% of the time, my final result comes out as I imagined, and I feel the planets lined up and the world is turning as it should. It's a feeling of complete satisfaction, even if it's something as small as figuring out paper pollen can be made from a cheese grater. When it turns out the other 25%, my poor hubby has to console me and remind me I'm only human and to give it another try.

This is the part of the blog hop where I'm supposed to list two other quilling bloggers that readers could hop along to. I asked several of my peer group, but my timing seems to be quite off because they all happen to be fulfilling commitments already and had to respectfully decline. So rather than list quillers you likely know, I'm going to list some blogs/podcasts I follow for reasons other than quilling. Although these topics don't relate to quilling specifically, I have found listening to podcasts while commuting or working to be a source of camaraderie and growth.

I currently work full time as a graphic designer and wonder if a career working with paper is possible. It seems dreams can become reality following the wonderful tips and insights of Abby Glassenberg, While She Naps. Abby sews toys and is quite a pioneering voice when it comes to issues like copyrights or other challenges crafters are facing. I value her opinion greatly and am learning how to improve myself in so many ways.

Another podcast I enjoy is by Monica Lee of Smart Creative Women. She delves into the stories of many creative women who follow their passion and share what they've learned along the way.

Thank you for reading about my work and process. I love reading all your comments and gain much inspiration to keep realizing my hopes. I hope you'll enjoy the two innovators above as much as I do!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How to organize messy quilling strips

This "before" shot is so typical of our quilling supply box, isn't it?

Here it is all cleaned up (on the right hand side). Past blog readers may recall my quilling storage box custom made to fit my Ikea drawers. After inheriting Aunt Berni's quilling supplies, I realized I didn't have enough spare room in my box and needed to condense it in my existing box trays.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Precious Memories Class: 3 Styles of Quilled Flowers

I'm going to teach another class at Precious Memories on Thursday, Sept 25, from 6:30-9pm! For this class, I plan to show several ways to quill flowers, from traditional teardrop shapes, to my open-petal style, and finally to 3D die cut fringed blossoms.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Tribute to Aunt Berni

I received a message through FaceBook from Kirsten the other day, whose Aunt Berni passed away a few years ago. While cleaning out her belongings, Kirsten and her mom found a box of quilling supplies and wanted to find someone who would appreciate and use her supplies. I was the incredibly lucky person they found, and I wanted to express my gratitude by writing a tribute to her aunt by showcasing her work and tools.

Berni (Bernice Spencer Wilmeth) enjoyed quilling flowers and created this lovely bouquet full of a variety of blossoms. There's something about ovals that frame a bouquet nicely. Kirsten tells me the quilling is on top of olive green raw silk - can you imagine using that in your craft room? I've never thought about quilling on top of fabric. My favorite is the blossom near the middle, shown from the side in a range of pinks. A similar, smaller bud is just to the left of it.

Here is a basket of flowers she made. Can you see all the layering involved here in the basket weaving and overlapping flowers? Can you imagine the patience it took to place all those elements? They didn't have Zig glue back then!

I now know how archeologists must feel, with fingers tingling to peel back the years, uncovering treasure. Her box of half-made shapes were safely stored in a hosiery box. Unopened strips were .49 cents for 50 strips, purchased at American Handicraft.

This is the slotted quilling tool Berni used - Hazel's Quill Quiky! Don't you just love this retro teal? My mom had a hand blender in this color. There is a hand cranked slotted tool and a disk with circle template. Turn the disk over to uncover a storage area for pins. They're used for making eccentric coils and maquise shapes. I think they took more care back then to ensure they were very even.

The slot is similar to ones I've seen for making paper beads. One hand holds the strip in place and the other cranks the lever on the opposite side. Even though the turning isn't smooth anymore (perhaps needs cleaning or from disuse), the tension is extremely even!
She had 4 books from the 70s, some purchased from F&W Smith for 1 dollar. The basic beginner shapes are similar to the ones we have today. They used a corsage pin as a needle tool back then.

And oh, the paper! Sigh, just look at these gorgeous colors! They are earthy without being drab, vibrant without being bright. Can you see a hint of texture? They are also ever so slightly thicker than our usual fare and I look forward to trying them out. Wish I could buy this kind of paper today!

Was it kismet that my neighbor had 4 nieces visiting from Norway and Canada, and they asked for a quilling demo? Of course after making some simple hearts, they were asking where to buy supplies. They were leaving in a few days and wouldn't have time to shop while fitting in time with relatives. So I gave them the majority of the paper, in hopes that quilling may now be rekindled abroad.

Beyond quilling, Berni's talents lay in oil painting, sewing (clothes, quilts, purses), cooking, decorating, and flower arranging. She always wanted a little store – in today's world of Etsy and e-stores, I think she would have had quite a successful business. I'm so grateful to Kirsten and her family for letting me showcase Berni's quilling and supplies!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cut-Coil Quilling A Reverse Monogram

This 2" thumbnail is from my sketch book. At first I had planned to make quilled teardrops surround a letter shape, then remove the letter and allow the negative space be the monogram. Then I realized the Cut-Coil technique could be something better to experiment with.

I do enjoy the stately look of serifs, and placed my previously made cut-coil flower gift tags underneath a letter E to help imagine how it might turn out. I felt the serifs would cut into the flowers too much, so opted for a sans serif font instead. The one I chose to use is Amaranth, Bold, at 500 pt (a free font from Font Squirrel).

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Die Cut Star for Birthday Gift Topper

So I bought a birthday card. GASP! I know, I know. You have to cut me some slack though, as we've been ripping out carpet to install wood flooring. Besides, the card was about aliens and have glow in the dark sticker eyeballs for him to play with, a great compliment to our headlamp gift.

Anyway, as I went to write our nephew our birthday wishes, ink came splooshing out of my Sharpie marker. Why? Because I read that if you have a dry marker, let it soak up rubbing alcohol and it'll be revitalized. Well it was so full of life it couldn't wait to leave it's mark.

Silhouette to the rescue! I grabbed some metallic silver vinyl and cut out the first letter of his name. I then added some more vinyl stars around the card to make it look on purpose.

Of course since my beloved cutter was already on, and I needed a bow to top off the wrapped present, I decided to make the star G much larger, in the form of a tent card.

Adding rectangles to the bottom and overlapping the top and bottom star points, it allowed me to connect all the tent card pieces together and quickly add this on top of his gift, a great foreshadowing of what's inside.

It was supposed to be a quick gift wrap session and let me get back to "home-work", but happy accidents like this make me grateful I was delayed.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Business Card Holders (via digital die cutter)

For my first quilling demo, I had wanted to bring along and display business cards so attendees would know where to find more tutorials on my blog. I searched for existing DIY business card holders out there (SVG files for digital cutting machines), but they were either meant for carrying or displaying, not both.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DIY Electric Quilling Tool

Before anyone goes out to buy this, I'd like to say that I won't be using this to quill! It spins so fast, I can't keep the strip edge even. However, I'll explain my "just because" experiment.

Quilling by 7th Graders

My brother-in-law is a teacher and was subbing for a class of 7th graders. He decided to engage them in a way they'd never been before, by showing them how to quill. I gave him a quick one hour lesson of the basics the night before, using toothpicks and .5" strips of white photocopy paper we cut by hand on a guillotine cutter.

After showing some examples, they started quilling. Both boys and girls got into it, but the girls took it to another level with focused and larger pieces, varying from the examples they were shown. I was astonished at what they achieved in just one hour! They grasped the basic shapes immediately and started creating their own unique pieces without any patterns.

Some girls decided to stay and finish their quilling during recess. I just love the bird (top right) and wonder if she felt it was finished? As an adult, I think I over-process new things to my own detriment. I loved hearing how the kids dove right in unimpeded. I've got lots to learn!
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