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.

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!

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