Saturday, 27 February 2010

Two more quilled paperweights

I've just made two more of the clear resin paperweights with quilling inside. I'm learning how to polish them using 'wet and dry' abrasive paper and jewellers' rouge - it takes time, but if you use progressively finer grades of abrasive, it's possible to get a really smooth finish which then can be buffed to a shine with the 'rouge' liquid. This method seems to be very effective at removing rough edges caused by air bubbles which inevitably collect around the base edges while the paperweight is setting in the mould.

The paperweight with the coffee cup in it is a gift for my friends at the cafe. I cut out the photo of the cup from one of their menu sheets, and mounted it on some 'coffee and cream' coloured coils to match the picture.

Quillings like this need to be spray varnished before embedding them in the resin. Making these paperweights has been a bit of a learning curve for me, but I'm getting the hang of it now. Just as well, because I received an order yesterday from a friend who wants a paperweight with sea shells in! I'll be choosing some pretty shells for this next week ...

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Words of wisdom

Quilliance has been a bit short on 'words of wisdom' lately, so here are two gems that I just came across today:

"Perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well" - attributed to Angelique Arnauld on a packet of tea bags that I opened this morning!

"Live the life you love and love the life you live" - quoted in a clothing catalogue I received from

How it all began

Well, everyone has to start somewhere! And I've just found the very first piece of quilling I ever did - back in 2006, when I was inspired by a chapter I had read in a card-making craft book. I bought some strips, got a little black plastic slotted tool, and tried my best to create some half-decent coils ... I can well remember how frustrating I found it at first! Here's what I made: a 'not very good' Christmas tree. If only I'd had a pattern to follow, it might have looked better - but at least it was a start!

For some reason, I found it very difficult to roll coils in those early days, so I quickly moved on to alternate side looping and started making butterflies - and that's when I really got 'hooked'. I used the butterflies to decorate the woven paper bags and purses that I sometimes make, like this one:

I don't make many bags these days, although I'd like to get back into it - such fun to do, using recycled magazine pages and gift wrap. There are plenty more examples on my Flickr page, if anyone is interested!

I'd love to hear about other people's first attempts at quilling.  I'm sure it would reassure beginners to know how much easier it gets with practice!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

A feast of filigree!

I was in the mood for lots of quilled coils today, and decided to experiment with various different shape and colour combinations. I've been quilling so much on photo backgrounds lately that I'd almost forgotten how good quilled motifs can look on a plain colour background. To remedy this, I created a couple of new card designs with pink as a base. However, I could not resist using the lovely photo of an English country church in the snow that you can see in the middle picture, enhanced (I hope!) by coils in different shades of purple. Oh, how I love this craft!!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Adding colour to quillings

I've recently discovered Charlotte's excellent blog, The Art Of Quilling, and was inspired by an article she'd posted there about highlighting sections of quilling with coloured blending chalks. You can find it at Keen to try it for myself, I went along to my local craft shop - but there were no chalks to be found! I thought that maybe I could order some on eBay, but was then struck by the idea that I could try using the brush marker pens that have been gathering dust in my craft room for months - and they work really well!  I applied colour using the thick end of the marker, holding it sideways on. This was the technique I used to deepen the yellow on the inner sections of the quilled flower petals on this card, matching the natural colour gradation in the photo. Thanks, Charlotte for the inspiration!

This card is one of a batch I've just made this weekend for a new outlet, which I'm really excited about. A cosy new French cafe has recently opened in our village, and the owners have given me the opportunity to try and sell some cards down there.  So I'll be going along tomorrow to deliver them ... and maybe take time to savour a cup of hot chocolate whilst I am there!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Music to quill by!

Quilling and making up these cards has been an absolute joy for me today, whilst listening to rock music on my iPod!  The first four were all special orders for individual customers; the last one features a photo of the wonderful Valentine's chocolates that my husband gave me on Sunday (had to take the photo before eating them!!)  I'm quite pleased with the double-strip flowers on cards 2, 3 and 4 which I made as an alternative to the usual quilled 'fold-over' roses. Please click on the photos to see more detail.

Does anyone else like listening to music whilst quilling? What are your favourite tracks?

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

My first snowdrop card!

I couldn't wait to start using the photos that I took in the snowdrop woods on Sunday!  Here's the first card that I've made.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

In the beauty of snowdrops comes the promise of Spring

Today I visited a truly magical place: the snowdrop woods of Welford Park in the English county of Berkshire. At this time of year, the wooded grounds of this elegant country house are literally alight with a pure white 'carpet' of wild snowdrops - the very first flowers to appear at the end of our winter, heralding the new season of spring.  This winter has been particularly cold and depressing for us here in England, and so the arrival of the snowdrop flowers has truly lifted our spirits.  And it is hard to imagine a more majestic sight than that which we witnessed today. Take a look:

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Tree bark and butterflies

I was so pleased with the photo I took of the tree bark (see earlier post) that I couldn't wait to use it in a card design. So here's the result: a photo panel background and some quilled butterflies. I made the butterflies a while ago - they were just waiting for the right place to go, and today I found it! 

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Must get back to some quilling ...

... but in the meantime, I'm really getting hooked on this resin casting craft! Following on from the paperweights I've been making (see earlier posts) I thought I'd have a go at making some jewellery, too.  Here's a pendant cast in a mould that I created myself using a sea shell pressed into a lump of plasticine.  I mixed gold glitter into the resin before pouring it into the mould, and inserted a drinking straw into the plasticine to make a hole for the leather thong to go through. I think it's turned out well - in fact, I'm wearing it right now as I type! Can't wait to make some more of these ...

Sunday, 7 February 2010

More fish!

Here are my latest fish earrings in lavender and pink, as requested by a customer at our market.  I hope she will like them!

Perfect camouflage

This moth was in my kitchen a couple of days ago, and I was amazed by the beauty of its markings.  Then, this morning, I was walking in the countryside and took a photo of this fabulous tree bark from a fallen fir tree.  (I'm going to use it as a photo background for some quilling on a birthday card, as the colours are so lovely.)  It made me realise how hard it would be to see my moth against the pattern of the bark - the camouflage is perfect.  The colours and patterns of nature are such a source of inspiration!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Another resin paperweight

No quilling this time - I just decided to create a sparkly one by sprinkling glitter between the layers of resin!


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