Thursday, 28 April 2011

Quilled butterflies for my friend's birthday

I'm going right back to basics with this one! My quilling habit first turned into an addiction a couple of years ago when I started putting quilled butterflies on to photographs of flowers, and I haven't really looked back since! However, the original, simple ideas are often still the best - and I hope my friend Anne will be pleased with this classic 'Quilliance' design.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Quilled greetings from the bluebell woods

Bluebells are in full bloom here in England right now, and on Saturday I took my camera to photograph them in a beautiful stretch of Hampshire woodland. They seem to like shady places, and these ones thrive beneath the bright green canopy of ancient beech trees.

I've used two of my photos in the background for this card, and my first instinct was, of course, to quill a bluebell for the central section. But then I recalled all the other delicate white flowers which were growing in profusion in amongst the bluebells, complementing them perfectly. You can see them in the photo below. For me, quilling is all about complementing the subject of a background photo. So I decided to make my central quilling one of these instead!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Lovely lilac!

Camera image

The photo on this card is a close-up of a lilac flower - and there are so many different colours in it!

When you look carefully, you can see pink, mauve, purple and magenta - and all shades in between. I tried to echo this in my quilling, using combinations of strips to make my coils. Some are crimped, some plain ... and some with sparkly metallic edges.

Following my success with scanning (see my previous post) I thought I would try scanning this finished card too.

The picture above was taken with my camera, but the one below was scanned. As you can see, the scanned image is straighter and squarer, but there is loss of sharpness on the 'Happy Birthday' lettering due, I guess, to the thickness of the quilling. Also, you cannot easily see the edges of the card. On the other hand, the camera picture is sharply in focus throughout but darker and not quite straight. However, I could probably have lightened it in Photoshop before posting it here.

Which do you think is best?

Scanned image

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Q and A

Question: What do you get when you scan a piece of quilling instead of photographing it? Answer: A brand new header for my blog!

I quilled the letter 'Q' for Quilliance using black 3mm strips which are edged with gold. On a whim, I decided to place the motif on to the flat bed of my computer scanner, which provided a nice white background for the piece. The result was even better than I had hoped: I ended up with a well-lit image which shows the gold edging very well - and there is some great internal shadowing to add depth to the quilling. Plus I didn't have the normal challenges of holding my camera steady and straight! (Maybe this will be a better way to capture future images of my cards?)

Anyway, I was so pleased with the result that I pulled the 'Q' image into Photoshop and added the text before uploading it to my blog as you can see above. This then prompted a complete re-vamp of my blog design ... it's a good thing I had plenty of free time in which to play around today! So Quilliance now has a whole new look, and I really hope you like it ...

Friday, 22 April 2011

A quilled flower to complement lazy summer days

We're having glorious weather here in the UK at the moment - in fact, it feels more like high summer than Easter time! This has prompted me to look back at some of the photographs I took in various gardens last summer - and my latest card carries a background image that I've transformed using the 'Charcoal' sketch filter in Photoshop to set the scene for a colourful quilled flower.

I formed the large teardrop shapes for the petals from rings which were created by winding quilling strips around a 1cm dowel. I quite like this 'open' style of quilling for a change, as it gives you so much scope for putting other shapes inside. Maybe I'll experiment a bit more with this technique now that the Easter holiday weekend is here.

Meanwhile, I had a successful trial run last night for the quilling demonstration that I have prepared for my women's group next month. The two friends who came as my 'practice audience' were fascinated by their introduction to quilling and seem very keen to try some more. I had provided slotted tools for them to try making coils with, but in the end they both preferred winding strips around a simple cocktail stick which surprised me - but it just goes to show that you can't make assumptions about people's preferences. Anyway, it was a fun evening and definitely time well spent. Now I'm looking forward to my 'public debut' in three weeks' time.

And finally ... I had a successful time at the market this morning, where I sold two pairs of earrings and several cards. I bought a new card display rack earlier in the week, which came out for the first time today, and I'm really pleased with it. Each shelf is slightly angled so that the cards don't tip forward as people look through them. The rack is lightweight, too, and easy to put together. In case anyone is interested, there's a link to the supplier here. Sharp-eyed followers will recognise many of these card designs (below) which I've posted on Quilliance at one time or another.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ...

Thursday, 21 April 2011

A quilled pansy

While I was making that quilled violet earlier in the week, it occurred to me that I could easily adapt the pattern to make a pansy flower - and here it is! I decided to put this one on a plain background, with just a little note of the Latin name, as you might find in a reference book of flowers. Who knows - maybe this could be the start of a series? So many projects ... not enough time!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Which flower is the star?

I thought the photo on this card was a really dramatic picture. I took it on Sunday during a visit to a lovely country garden, and was amazed by the deep red of these tulips which actually look more like poppies! But, although the tulips are centre stage, I decided that the real stars of this shot were the tiny little blue forget-me-not flowers that sit quietly in the background providing contrast to the splashes of red. So that's why I decided to let the tulips speak for themselves, paying homage to the forget-me-nots with a little quilling - plus a tiny hint of purple, too.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

A quilled violet

I have my husband to thank for the background photo that I've used in this card. He was in Cornwall last week, and took some lovely photographs for me of the wild flowers that he found growing along the edge of the coastal path. This picture features violets and wild garlic (the white flower), and it immediately got my creative juices flowing!

I 'feathered' the edges of this oval image in Photoshop Elements, before adding a few additional violet flowers just to balance the composition. (Bet you can't tell which ones!!) Then I had a go at quilling a violet after studying the little white markings and the petal formation. Now I'm thinking I could maybe create a pansy flower in a similar way. Watch this space ...

Monday, 18 April 2011

Who's counting?

Who's counting? Well, I am as it happens ... because last week I gained my 100th follower for Quilliance - an achievement I would never have dreamed possible when I first started my blog 16 months ago. So this card is intended as a very special 'thank you' to all of you wonderful people who visit, comment and make me feel so welcome in the world of blogging. You have enriched my life more than words can say ...

Meanwhile - and still on the subject of numbers - here's another card I have just made for someone who's just a little bit older than Quilliance at two years old. His grandma wanted 'a chick, rabbit, cat and butterfly' on a rainbow background, and I'm pleased to say she was delighted with this card.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Here's one I made earlier ...

I'm not sure whether the title of this post will mean much to anyone outside the UK, but it's a catch phrase from a children's television show called Blue Peter where they always used to demonstrate craft projects in the 1960's and 70's (maybe even later - I'd stopped watching it by then!!)  Whenever they got to a stage where a project had to be put aside for a while - maybe for the glue to dry - the presenter would always continue by reaching under the table and pulling out "one I made earlier" in order to finish the demo. To this day, you hear it on cookery shows when a dish has gone into the oven: "... and here's one I made earlier" the presenters say, to a ripple of laughter, as they reach for an identical dish that has already completed its cooking time.

Anyway, my excuse for telling you this is that I've nothing much new to show you on the card design front today, as I've been so busy replacing some of my best-selling cards to refill my display box! I sold lots at the fashion show evening and also at yesterday's market, and it's clear that certain designs are particularly popular - so of course it makes sense to re-create them. The photo backgrounds may be the same as on the cards I have sold, but I do try to vary the quilling a little bit so that individual cards retain at least some of their uniqueness. So, in best Blue Peter tradition, I'd like to present " one ... no actually two ... that I made earlier" - same photo backgrounds, new quilling:

Thursday, 14 April 2011

It's bluebell time!

We've had such beautiful warm weather here in the UK over the last couple of weeks that the bluebell season has arrived early! The photo background for this card was taken a couple of years ago in one of my favourite Hampshire bluebell woods where the purple/blue sheen of the flowers contrasts so perfectly with the bright green leaves of the beech trees.

I started out thinking that I'd make a butterfly for this card using a combination of mauve and white strips for the wings.  So I set up the pins on my quilling board, and started creating the first wing - only to find that I had no more white strips left. (Ordered some more in a hurry!!). Being the impatient soul that I am, however, I wanted to finish the card - so I turned the one 'wing' into a bluebell flower instead. (Many of our native English bluebells do in fact have little white markings in them when you look at the flowers closely.) Hopefully the bright, bright green I've used for the stem and leaves will go some way towards echoing the vibrant green that appears in our beech woods at this time of year. Can't wait to walk through those woods again ...

Meanwhile, I was thrilled yesterday to discover that the two articles I've had published in the December 2010 and February 2011 editions of the on-line crafting magazine Papers and Pixels have been referenced on the 'Notes from the Archivist' page of the Spring 2011 edition of Quill America (the quarterly newsletter of the North American Quilling Guild). Grateful thanks are due to my friend Paula for tipping me off about this. They've also mentioned two quilled card designs that I've recently had published in Papers and Pixels, too.

Not being a member of the NAQG (yet!!) I haven't ever seen Quill America, although I do of course receive regular copies of Quilling Today from the English Quilling Guild. Anyway, Quill America's editor very kindly sent me a copy of the archive page from the current edition - and I was so impressed! They actually present the article references in the kind of style you would normally see in a scientific journal, and the format is exceptionally professional. This has prompted me to check out the NAQG via their website, and it looks like a very proactive and well-run international organisation (not just for North American quillers) - so I have decided to join. I just sent off my membership application today, so I'm looking forward to seeing the whole magazine!

Anyway - back to the card making! Tonight I'm taking part in a fashion show at my local Women's Institute, and they've asked me to bring my cards along to sell as there should be a large audience in attendance. When I say 'taking part', I'm actually going to be modelling some of the clothes (three changes of outfits - it's going to be chaos in the changing room with 10 of us all trying to get dressed at once!). So I'm having to leave my card boxes with a kind friend who will be 'out front' dealing with the customers. I'm hoping to sell quite a few tonight, and also at my regular Friday market tomorrow morning. That's why my quilling tools have been working overtime this week!!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Blue sky thinking

We've been blessed with clear blue skies and warm weather here in England for the past few days, so I thought I'd get my 'four squares' card format out of retirement and pay homage to springtime with this new card. The photo I took of the sky a couple of years ago has been so useful as a background for various quilled butterflies.  Today, however, it sets the scene for a bright spring flower!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Crazy for colour!

Isn't it funny how one thing just leads you on to another? Yesterday, I stopped by to comment on Eeenzy Beenzy's fabulous card with a zebra-pattern background (so striking!), and I vaguely remembered seeing a similar background graphic in the Photoshop Elements library, along with a leopard skin pattern. I'm a real fan of bold animal prints, so I decided to check these out.

Well, I'm so glad I did! I had never properly browsed through the Photoshop backgrounds library before, and was amazed to discover an absolute treasure trove of images I could use for my cards. (If you've got Photoshop, stop by and have a look - I'm sure you'll be impressed!)

Sure enough, the animal prints were there, but so much else besides ... landscapes, textures, sandy beaches, sports pitches, flower patterns - all of them just crying out for the application of some quilling!

I stumbled across one image that simply blew me away.  It's called 'Crayons' and is simply a photo of the tips of a set of wax crayons shot from above. I love this kind of image - vibrant colours set against a dark background - so I simply had to grab it and make it into the backdrop for a card.

I made a long vertical panel of the crayons image, added another Photoshop swirly sun graphic in a separate layer, and then set about adding some abstract quilling. This design is perhaps a bit too bold and 'off the wall' for many people's tastes, but I really like it as it somehow reflects my personality. And I guess that's exactly what individual creativity is all about.

Monday, 11 April 2011

A quilled engagement card

I love using photos on my quilled cards, as you know, but I often have to remind myself that simpler plain backgrounds can sometimes look just as good if not better! For this engagement card, I just printed a plain purple heart and added some quilling! I'm pleased with the effect of the red quilled hearts and mauve/purple filigree against the purple background. I've also used a small section from one of my favourite copper metallic strips for the ring.

I spent all day yesterday preparing a presentation on quilling which I have been asked to give to my local Women's Institute group next month. I'm going to talk a little bit about the history of quilling, and then discuss tools and the various quilling shapes. I've decided to prepare a lot of closed loose coils in advance so that people can try pinching them into teardrops, marquises, bunny ears etc, and then I will take the shapes they have made and assemble them into a butterfly and a flower. After that, I will show them how to roll their own coils and hopefully produce quilled flowers to mount on to gift tags which they can take away. I'm looking forward to doing this presentation, as a lot of people have already said they are interested and I think it will be fun to do a bit of teaching. I'll let you know how I get on!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Floral inspiration

For me, flower pictures and quilling are perfect partners. Here are two more cards that I made this week, in which I have tried to honour the beauty of nature in quilling:

I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Nature's glories

Here's another of my photo montage cards which always seem to be popular. Nature provides the real artistry, and I just provide a little quilling to embellish the white space:

The photos on this card are: an English wild flower meadow; a peacock butterfly (how perfect is that?); lily pond in a country garden (can you see the frog?) and a carpet of bluebells in a Hampshire beech wood. As the song goes: "These are a few of my favourite things ..."

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

A slice of spring ... with a quilled butterfly!

It's true to say that I don't usually sit down to my craft with a clear creative plan. Instead I tend to start out with a vague idea and make things up as I go along. This really is such a joy after decades of working (writing) for other people in my former marketing career. Anyway, when I started extracting the flower photographs that I featured in yesterday's post, I played around with placing the blooms on a colour -filled shaped background in Photoshop - don't ask me why I chose a quadrant shape, but I did - and it ended up reminding me of a decorated slice of birthday cake! So I decided to use the image in a birthday card - and here it is:

Having printed the card, I decided to quill a butterfly with wings that would echo the wonderful orange colour that outlines the narcissus centre. I'm on a bit of a 'huskings kick' at the moment, so I made the top wings utilising the same pin formation as I had used for yesterday's flower petals, starting off in the centre with a crimped strip section in an even brighter shade of orange.

I'm hoping this card will sell at the market on Friday, and that the person who eventually receives it will savour this particular little taste of spring.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Spring flowers and Photoshop

The more I learn about the capabilities of Photoshop, the more excited I become! Over the weekend, I took some photographs of some of the gorgeous spring flowers that are now brightening up our lives here in England - and I had a try at 'extracting' the blooms digitally so that I can use them in card layouts like this one.

I managed to extract a single yellow primrose flower and duplicate it, and then did the same for the pink flower (whose name I don't know, but it's lovely!) Using Photoshop, I have been able to layer and arrange  these flowers to make a frame around the single bloom of a stunning white narcissus, which I also extracted from a photo.

Then I decided to try and echo the beauty of the flowers in quilling. I've created four little huskings for the petals of each of these flowers, using the alternate side looping technique which makes a change from coiling - and looks quite elegant, I think. This idea would work quite well for an Easter card, too!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Feathery fronds ... just right for quilling!

This card features another of the exotic plants that I photographed during my visit to The Eden Project in Cornwall last month. I love the feathery look to these flowers and the different shades of yellow you can see in them.

Of course, I always like to 'echo' some element of a photo with quilling for my card designs, so this image was a perfect source of inspiration!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Some new earrings for my Russian friends!

As you may have noticed, I've got one of those 'Life Traffic Feed' gadgets on the side of my blog, and I'm always quite fascinated to see where all the wonderful visitors to Quilliance actually come from. A few months ago, I was flattered to see that a post I had written about some quilled earrings had been picked up by a Russian fashion blog called Lafemmod, in a feature about quilled jewellery. There were quite a few hits on Quilliance from that source at the time, but then everything went quiet again ... until today!

When I checked the traffic feed this morning, I found there had been loads more hits on the same post, and it looks as though the link has been published once again in a digest version of the blog. It's certainly generated lots of interest from people in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and all around that region ... how exciting!

So today seems like a good day to publish another post about quilled earrings.  Here's my latest design in two different colour versions, which I created using a combination of plain, crimped and metallic-edged strips, wound around pins on a quilling board using the technique of 'alternate side looping'.

I'm planning to offer these earrings for sale very soon over on my 'selling blog', Quilliance Marketplace where I've already got some other earrings posted.  If you've arrived here from Lafemmod and would like more information, just e-mail me at or leave me a comment below!


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