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Saturday, October 8, 2016

A New Chapter

Well, I'm getting ready to start a new chapter in my life . . . my husband I are planning to move into a senior independent living facility in the spring. Both my husband and I have reached the point in our lives where yard work and snow shoveling are beyond our physical capability. I'm looking forward to not cooking, and not working on my hands and knees in the many gardens on our property. (I don't have any trouble getting down but getting up is a whole different story.)  I have been choosing things I want to bring with me and selling, passing on, or giving away those things that won't make the move. I've sold off my private stash of quilling paper but have a box of essentials to bring with me. (I'm willing to bet they have no quilling classes in their current craft programs! I'm hoping to introduce quilling to my future neighbors.) My son, Stephen, is doing most of the work (fulfilling and shipping all Whimsiquills' orders) so I will be able to focus more on the web site, the blog, customer service, and hopefully stay in touch with my quilling friends.

On a totally different note, I finally got a look at Alli Bartkowsky's newest book Quilled Mandalas. All of our inventory now goes to Massachusetts so Stephen got to see it before I did. What an awesome book ! It's fun just looking through it. I tried the current so called "stress relieving coloring" mandalas. NOT for me. But the quilled mandalas are gorgeous; these shaky old hands may have to give it a go.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Which is better, using a tool or finger rolling?

I decided to update and repost this topic since we have so many new quillers contacting us. How you roll your quilling strips is really a matter of personal preference. I don’t believe there is a hard and fast rule, although many quillers have very definite opinions about the subject.

Slotted tool- When I first learned to quill, I learned using a slotted tool. You just ‘thread” the beginning of a strip into the slot and then turn the tool until the strip is completely rolled. Let the strip fall off the tool and then pinch into desired shape and glue. Depending on the slotted tool you use, there will be a small opening in the center of your tight rolls (the size of the hole is determined by the size of the shaft of the tool). There may also be a tiny fold in the strip where you first inserted the strip into the tool. This little fold or “hook” is offensive to some quillers. If this is a concern for you, the hook can be eliminated by reversing the tool before releasing the roll. It can also be eliminated when you pick up the roll with a tweezer.

Today we have a much wider selection of slotted tools with different size shafts. We even have a battery operated tool. (T33023) The newest tool in our collection (QCT323) is one with a wide handle that doesn’t move in your hand. It rests in your palm and you only turn the slotted part. This new tool makes a really small hole in the center of the quill. Another “newer” tool is a double sided tool with a very sharp needle on one end and a slot on the opposite end (T26216)

Pin or Needle tool-I know that many of the early “1970’s” kits came with a corsage pin. When you use a pin or a needle, you roll the paper around the pin (instead of turning the tool), the hole in the center will be smaller and there will be no hook.

Finger rolling-When finger rolling your strips, it helps to soften the paper a little by running it over your finger nail, much like you would with curling ribbon. I usually have a damp washcloth nearby and dampen my fingertips so it is a little easier to get the roll started. Your finished roll will have a very tiny center opening.  I also find that my rolls are a little “tighter” when I finger roll. After using a slotted tool for many years, the repetitive motion began to bother my thumb, so I forced myself to learn to finger roll. I quickly realized this was also easier on my tired old eyes since I was no longer required to ‘thread’ my slotted tool. Now I finger roll most of my strips but still use my slotted tools for rolling fringe flowers and curling back the corners on my rose petals.


I do have a funny story about finger rolling.  A few years ago I did a taping for the DIY (Do It Yourself) network demonstrating quilling and how it can be used for scrapbooking. I had to fly from Connecticut to Tennessee for the taping. With all of the security restrictions on the airlines I thought it best to put all my quilling tools, tweezers and scissors etc. in my checked luggage. Of course my bags were opened and inspected. The next day as I prepared to do the taping, I opened the box with all of my tools and realized I had no slotted tool! Thank goodness I knew how to finger roll! The DIY folks were pretty impressed with my finger rolling although it was harder to tape. (I was only allowed to move my fingers a tiny bit so the camera could zoom in.)  At any rate we got through the taping and when I packed my bags to fly back home, there in the bottom of my suitcase was my slotted tool! When they inspected the bag they just didn’t put everything back where they found it. And I am sure they had no idea what they were looking at.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Framing your work (updated)

When I look at a frame, the first thing I check for is the depth of the frame. The space between the lip where the 
glass sits and the back of the frame is called the rabbet.  The rabbit needs to be at least ½” deep, in order to
accommodate fringe flowers and/or roses. The ideal frame would have a double rabbet, one to put the glass on, and a second (lip/rabbet) a minimum of ½”back. This is where the quilled mat and whatever backing you use would rest. (The majority of framed pieces I sold were wedding invitations or baby frames. I like to have a frame where the invitation could be taken out and replaced with a wedding photo, or the baby photo could be updated. This was particularly important when my work was purchased in a store. The customer had to be able to do this for himself). The mats and backing would be held in by metal flex tabs that would lift up so it would be easy to remove the mat and change things like photographs in the quilled mat. The mat size in a double rabbet frame will be slightly larger than the glass size, so the mat sits on the second rabbet and doesn’t “fall” against the glass. You may be able to find double rabbet mouldings in some frame shops, where they can make up a frame for you in any size; they are however, very expensive. Oh well, let me tell you what I am doing for frames now.

Once again, I try to find a moulding that I like, (I prefer something that looks like a conventional frame rather than a straight sided shadowbox.) and check for the depth of the rabbet. If I have only a half inch to work with, I will try to work out of the back of the frame. This means I cut my mat to lay on the back of the frame, once again, this means cutting the mat slightly larger than the glass size so it doesn’t fall into the frame and against the glass. I usually leave about ¼” of the back of the frame showing all around the mat. After I have completed my quilling, I put a strip of double sided tape (framers call this ATG tape, it is made by Scotch and will say Adhesive Transfer Tape) on the back of the frame. This tape is paper backed so it is pretty easy to work with; don’t take the paper backing off until you are ready to put your mat on, because it is really sticky. You might want to mark on the back of the frame exactly where you want your mat to be; if the mat doesn’t go onto the frame back nice and straight it gets a little tricky moving it back off the ATG without tearing the mat. If you have done this correctly, you will have about ¼” of the frame back showing around the edges of the mat. I generally put a second strip of ATG over the edge of the mat and right out to the edge of the frame. I then cut a piece of brown craft paper to cover and seal the back of the frame. (This is also available at frame shops and craft stores that do framing; it looks like the paper from brown paper bags but is a slightly lighter weight) I then trim the craft paper to fit the back of the frame exactly with a razor blade. If the paper seems too loose you can lightly spray it with water, when it dries it will fit nice and tight. Then add your hanger (I use saw tooth hangers) and plastic bumpons to keep it from marking the wall and most importantly your card or sticker on the back. I print out a business card size sticker with an explanation of quilling and all of my contact info. 

FYI we now have a 5" x 7" unfinished frame that is perfect for quilling,The back is finished nicely, the glass slides out so all you have to do is anchor your quilled mat in place and slide the glass back in. To see the frame, just click on the link (item # 9184-76).

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Trinket boxes for quilling

Well for the first time, we are offering some of Stephen’s work here at Whimsiquills.  As I have mentioned before Stephen (who is my son) does some gorgeous woodworking in his shop in Massachusetts. He has designed two little trinket boxes with recessed lids. The round boxes are 3” and 3 ¾” high, and about 2 1/2” across, the lids are recessed 1/8” . . . perfect for quilling. The taller one stands on a short pedestal base. (Item #'s WS01 and WS02) These little trinket boxes are hand turned on Stephen’s lathe. Because they are handmade, we won’t  stock large quantities, but will always have some on hand. I've pictured them here with some quilling just to give you an idea of what they look like. (If you are interested in seeing more of Stephen's work or reading about the process, check out his blog Wolfwoodstudio.com)  I've also included a little locket (QC166) that I put a graduation hat and diploma in for the graduates in your life. I think it would make an adorable gift in one of our trinket boxes. Happy Quilling everyone!
                                                                                  





Monday, March 14, 2016

Whimsiquills Lives On!!

New products from Quilled Creations. Color Blend vellum strips (with different shades on the same strips) ; these are NOT graduated or dark center strips-very unusual. I can't wait to see what you all do with them. Also a new Savvy Slotted quilling tool with a very narrow slot; it is smaller than I expected, (about 4" long); it fits in the palm of your hand so only your fingers turn the slotted end, definitely easier on the wrist.





I finally have gotten up the nerve to write about this. This last year has been a real struggle for me both personally and professionally. I had to give up doing my custom work because of severe hand tremors and have been going through a battery of tests to find out why I have become a "frequent faller" (you don't get miles for being a "frequent faller", just bruises, black eyes, broken bones and concussions.) But all is not lost! Whimsiquills lives on! Just when I was ready to give up after thirty-five years of "growing" Whimsiquills, our children intervened. They built ramps to make it easier for us to get in and out, installed a stair lift to lessen the odds of me taking a header going down for inventory.Then our son Stephen stepped up and asked if he could help by warehousing the inventory and handling the orders and shipping. Stephen does some beautiful woodworking and said he would handle Whimsiquills in between his woodworking projects. So all of our inventory has been moved to Massachusetts. I am really happy that we can keep the business in the family; we have such a special relationship with our customers and I know that will continue now that Stephen is involved.

So to explain how this works, you can order on the web site just like always; our shipping times are pretty much the same. Orders that come in before noon generally go out the same day. If the order weighs less than one pound we will ship it first class unless you request Priority. We have built the inventory up and added Quilled Creations shades packs, their new color blends and of course we have always carried all of their tools and kits. So now we have Lake City, Paplin, J&J specialty papers, and Quilled Creations all in one place. I am still here to answer questions and can be reached by phone 1 877 488 0894 or email Whimsiquills@cox.net. I don't generally work weekends any more but do check on messages and emails. If I don't answer the phone during business hours 9-5. Monday-Friday I am probably at physical therapy or the doctors, but I promise I will get back to you. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

Phone 1 877.488.0894


Monday, November 23, 2015

Maude White's Paper Art

For those of us who love to work and play with paper; here is a special treat. One of my quilling. friends (Marianne Fassett) sent me a link to this web site. http://bravebirdpaperart.com/ the artist's name is Maude White. She doesn't quill but what she does is outstanding. She hand cuts her designs using a surgical knife; I thought quilling was time consuming! Be sure to visit her web site; some of her work will blow you away. In the meantime here are just a few of my favorites.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It just keeps growing and growing . . .

 We are very excited here at Whimsiquills; these are pictures of our new distribution center which is run by our son, Stephen, in Massachsetts. When we first started selling quilling supplies we sold only Lake City papers with the encouragement of Malinda Johnston (You can read the long version of our story by clicking on the two links.) My "inventory" at that time fit on backs of two doors. but then we started to grow. Our inventory spilled over into and finally took over the basement of our home. We expanded inventory to include kits and tools from Quilled Creations, Lake City ad of course the kits I designed for our friends over at Paplin Products. We were bursting at the seams. A few weeks ago our son Stephen came up with the brilliant idea of warehousing the inventory. He has taken over the fullfilment and shipping of the orders leaving me to do the less physical side of the business; the blog, web site etc. Thank goodness, because four days after the move I fell and broke my collarbone and am looking at a lenthly rehab. But here are the pictures of Whimsiquills new digs!