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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy New Year!

Seasons Greetings! I hope you are enjoying this festive season of holidays. I am spending some quiet time planning for 2009. For years, I have been quilling for my customers; this year I would like to try working on some projects just for the fun of it. I sell so many wonderful papers and hardly have the time to experiment with them myself. I have been spending some time visiting other quillers’ sites and blogs and am just amazed at all of the neat things I am finding. It is hard for me to even remember how isolated I felt as a new quiller in the 1970’s. Through the internet I have been able to reach out to quillers all over the world. Each of them has their own distinctive style; viewing them is truly inspirational and challenges me to start rethinking my own work. There are so many ideas out there that would never have occurred to me had I not been able to see them on my computer monitor. I have been pleasantly surprised to find a lot of moms who are home schooling their children and discovering quilling and sharing it with their children. This is surprising to me, since many elementary art school teachers are not familiar with quilling at all. These moms are researching new ways to keep their kids inspired and finding quilling. What a great way to keep little fingers busy! This also means there will be a new generation of quillers to “carry the torch” and hopefully pass it on to their children. But to get back to my plans for the new year. I will be reaching out to some of these quillers and asking their permission to feature them (and their work) on my blog. I am really excited about this, it will be a fun project, a way to meet some new quilling friends and perhaps inspire me, and maybe even you, to try some new projects. I wish you a Happy, Healthy, New Year!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quilled Borders

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful day surrounded by family and friends . . . and once everyone has gone home and you recover from all that turkey, you’ll probably start thinking about all of that quilling you wanted to get done before Christmas. I have finally finished all of my special orders and can now concentrate on quilling some fun stuff. I have been working on a really special piece for my best friend, but I'lll save that for another day. What I wanted to talk about today is borders.

I recently had someone ask me about doing borders. Borders are usually placed around something, a verse, a photograph, a wedding invitation, just to name a few. There are lots of ways to do borders, you can run a border across the top and bottom of a piece, on opposite corners (one of my favorites), or all the way around the item you are “framing” with your quilling. Judy Cardinals book B5987 Quilled Borders & Motifs demonstrates borders using themes. An example of this is one of her baby borders which includes quilled baby bottles, rattles, and safety pins. Claire Choi’s book The Art of Paper Quilling has a whole section on borders. In the section on cards, she uses borders (mostly floral) to surround the sentiment on the front of the card, like “love”. The borders she uses on some of the framed pieces are usually in opposite corners. When working on opposite corners, you can keep the quilling symmetrical, using the same flowers or shapes in the same colors so they are “mirror images” of each other. The roses and calla lily border is one of these as is my top and bottom designs, while in the piece with the quilled ribbon the flowers are done in different colors and placed without regard to “matching’ the design on the opposite corner.

I think the borders that are the most daunting, are the ones that go all around the opening or the edge of the frame. I will tell you how I plan these out. If I am working with a rectangular border, I start in the corners. I usually make some shapes and “play” with them while they are dry to decide how I want the border to look. Then I start to work in from towards the center, adding shapes to complete the border. In this way, if your spacing is a little off and you have a gap in the center, you can just add one additional quill. Another tip: if the piece is a rectangle, I do the four corners first and then start working across the top and bottom at the same time; once the top and bottom are done then I start working on the two sides. This is particularly important if the design is complex.

If I am working on an oval border, I start at the centers (top and bottom, left and right) and then work inward. I have included some pictures here, these are fairly simple borders, but if you want to see totally awesome all around borders you need to go to Quillin From the Heart Clareen Bankhead’s borders are incredible! Her work is so delicate and beautiful that I just enjoy going over to her site to admire it all.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Blog/Old Blog

New Blog/Old Blog
I have decided to move my blog from "my space" over to blogspot. I have no issues with myspace, but I think blogspot will be more flexible and easier for me as well as my readers. I am no "computer whiz-kid" so easier is definitely better in my book, besides, I am supposed to be quilling not reading up on computer stuff! This new location will not require anyone to "register" unless they want to and I will finally be able to put pictures right in my text. We have spent several days updating the blog topics and moving the graphics into the body of the text. Debbie is also adding more links so it will be easier to find related items on the web site. Debbie has already moved all previous blog topics over to the new site and will be able to list all of the topics so it will be easier for my readers to find what they are looking for. So keep checking back, I am pretty excited about this and hopeful that I will do a little more writing if I don't have to waste time trying to figure out what I really want to do. Make sense? I hope so.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Quilling Christmas Cards/Christmas Patterns/Designs

Quilling Christmas Cards/Christmas Patterns/Designs

I spoke with a quiller the other day who told me she wanted to make some special Christmas cards for her grandchildren. She wanted to put some quilling on the card that could be removed from the card and used as an ornament. It made me think back to some of the first times I put ornaments in cards. Apart from the obvious, not wanting them to get squished in the mail, I tried a few different ways of making and mounting my ornaments. My first attempts were just putting the ornaments in or on the cards gluing/taping the hanger to the card. But that allowed the ornament to kind of move around inside the envelope while it traveled from me to its destination. That was kind of tough on delicate type designs like snowflakes. Then I found these really neat clear plastic disks. I glued the ornament to the plastic disk and quilled a pretty border around the edge of the disk, but once again there was damage in transit. The glue just didn’t hold the quilling to the plastic; once it got bounced around in the mail some of the quilling just came loose. Next I cut 3” disks out of mat board because I knew the quilling would not come loose from the mat board. Unfortunately there is a front and a back to mat board, so I had to cut some kind of decorative paper to glue on the back of the mat board . . . and then of course some kind of decorative border to cover the cut edges of the mat boards. . . BUT they didn’t fall apart, in fact I still have a few of them.

In my conversation with this quiller, she told me she was using designs from one of the kits I had designed for Paplin products. She said she liked them because they were pretty basic and easy to do. She didn’t want to make very complicated or intricate snowflakes because she didn’t think the younger grandchildren would appreciate them. I went back to my web site ( and realized I didn’t have any Christmas designs up in the free pattern section . . . so I whipped up a few for anyone else who was looking for simple Christmas card ideas. (Just scroll down on the home page and you will find a link for free patterns or you can click here) I used the circle border punch Dancing Daisy for the background; the tiny punched out daisy reminded me of a snowflake, but any circle border punch would look nice. These will be attached to the cards with a removable adhesive called “Dotto Glue Dots” so they can be easily lifted off the card and hung on a tree or in a window. The designs can be assembled right on the background. If you do not plan to use a background, assemble them on a piece of waxed paper. When dry, just peel the waxed paper off the back slowly and add a thread or metallic cord for a hanger. If you click on the image you can see how the design will look on one of our colored cards. To be sure they don’t get crushed in the holiday mail you can put them in a protective mailer. I have a few other I ideas I hope to add within the next couple of weeks, so be sure to check back. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

New Husking Cards

New Husking Cards

Here is some exciting news for those of you who love husking, but don’t want to design your own patterns. Elizabeth’s Creations has just introduced new husking cards; these are 3” x 5” laminated cards with pre-designed husking patterns. You use them with your own work board and pins which keeps the price down to a reasonable $5.00 each.

For those of you who may not be familiar with husking; it is an interesting technique. Instead of rolling the paper the paper is wrapped around pins. Starting with pin #1, wrap it around the pin several times or to make a tiny glued loop around the pin, then wrap around pin #2, back to #1, around #3 back to #1 and so on. It is optional as to whether you want to put a dab of glue each time you get to #1, but you might want to the first time out. Once the shape has been completed,, I suggest that you twist the pins to remove them (just in case they got any glue on them) and then gently lift the finished piece off the board/card. Husking with pins has the advantage of making all of the shapes exactly the same size. It is especially pretty when done with specialty papers like two toned or graduated strips. You really get to see both sides of the strips because husking is much more “open” than traditional quilling. I also like to use gilded edge strips when I make husked snowflakes (I actually like gilded edge strips on my regular quilled snowflakes too); I like to used the blue gilded edge on white for my husked snowflakes.

Of course you can “do it yourself” with a piece of graph paper (on which you mark your pattern), waxed paper, a work board and pins. When I teach this technique that is what I use rather than having students invest in materials for a technique they may or may not enjoy. The down side of drawing your own designs on graph paper is that it wears out pretty quickly; the holes get larger and kind of sloppy. The laminated cards eliminate that problem; if you don’t feel like reinventing the wheel the pre marked pattern cards are a good idea.

We have carried Elizabeth’s Creations wooden husking boards for years, our customers have been very happy with them, although sometimes they have trouble deciding which one(s) they want. The laminated cards are 1/3 the price of the wood ones so you can get a bigger “bang for your buck”, no small consideration these days.

These cards have multiple sizes of each design on a card eliminating all of the guess work. Mary Elizabeth has 10 cards to start with more to come. Designs include: T001 Butterflies, Dragonflies and Flowers which includes 4 sizes of each petal/wing, T002 Classic Hearts in eight sizes, T003 Original Hearts in 7 sizes, and T004 Primitive Hearts with 10 sizes. (Mary Elizabeth says “These hearts are fun to make and can be used for many different designs . . . angel wings, flower petals, borders, butterflies, and oh yes . . . hearts) T010 the Snowflakes and More cards have three styles of snowflakes. There are five “nothing but holes” T005, T006, T007, T008, & T009 cards each with a different scale (i.e. 4 holes to an inch, right up to 8 holes per inch). The more dots per inch the smaller the grid, we do still carry that wonderful Dutch book “Quilling for Cards” by Janetta van Roekel-Wolters that has instructions for 21 husked designs. The book is written in Dutch and English; it is a great companion to the nothing but holes card.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sister Consolata & Quilling

Sister Consolata

I had a very good friend who used to tell me “What goes around, comes around”, I was never quite sure what he meant but have finally found an example which illustrates this point. As most of you know, anecdotal history tells us that quilling was “invented” by nuns centuries ago. The story as I heard it was that nuns cut off the gilded edges of old manuscripts to decorate religious artifacts. The result looked much like metal filigree. Recently, I was contacted by a nun, Sister Consolata, who asked for a catalogue of our products. I sent her our standard “info pack” which includes our order forms, color chart, samples of some of our specialty papers, and an informational letter which includes information about the quilling guilds (here in the USA and in England) and information about some of the online quilling groups. Several weeks later, I received a lovely typewritten letter from her; I would like to share some of it with you.

“Dear Miss Caputo,
While going over the material that was sent to me by Whimsiquills some time ago, I came across you very kind letter which was included with the material. I am very sorry that I somehow overlooked your letter when I first opened the envelope. Today, I determined to write to you.

I am a 94 year old Notre Dame Sister, and I have done quilling for about eight years. At one time I had some gift tags which were being sold in a shop here in Omaha. A dear lady was interested in them and obtained my address. Her name is Jan. She wrote to me and asked if I gave lessons on this craft. I wrote back and told her that I did not give lessons, but would teach her what I knew about quilling. I learned by using two books that a dear friend had given me.

So this lovely Jan came out to our convent and we became good friends. Jan far surpassed me in quilling. I told her “because of her nurse’s fingers,” you have become and expert in this craft. We had so many interesting times together and Jan gave me many materials to help me in my work. I am very sorry to tell you that lately Jan sent me, through a friend, much of her quilling paper. She has been very ill and cannot do any quilling.

However, I now have a little boy of Omaha, who is my new pupil. His grandparents, when touring our building, noticed me working on a quilled picture down in my art work room. They told me about their eleven year old grandson who is very talented in art and music. When they left our convent, these good people stopped at a craft store and purchased a book and some quilling tools. The next week, this dear grandmother brought young Spencer to me in order to learn about quilling. He is such a dear lad and I know he will do some beautiful work. In fact, I just learned that his teacher wants him to teach her to quill!!”

Her letter went on to tell me a little more about herself, she is a former teacher, and she “still make(s) many gift tags which sell well. I do tire easily so I cannot work as fast as I once did . . . but I want to keep on quilling as long as the Good Lord gives me the strength and ability to do so.” What a delight! Oh yes, she said in her letter that “I am the only nun in the community who does quilling . . .so far.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Quilled Card Making Techniques Continued

Quilled Card Making Techniques Continued

I’ve toyed with the idea of trying some other techniques with my quilled cards. The first technique I tried was paper pricking (piercing). That’s when you prick out a design on the card with a pin (or a special pricking tool). The design can be pierced from the front or the back of the card or a combination of both. It’s really quite pretty and combines well with quilling especially if you use the pierced design as a border. I felt it was way too time consuming to use on a card; I used the technique to make some very pretty background piercing on handmade paper (which I bought, I did not make it). Then I quilled bouquets of flowers which I put on the background and framed. I have since discovered (well I didn’t really discover it, but I found out about it) a tool called the pounce wheel. This wonderful little gizmo will do a pricked border in a jiffy! You can’t use it for everything, although I did do a very nice scalloped border, but I use it to give a pricked edge on some of the papers I use for my cards.

I also bought a book on parchment craft . . . and parchment . . . and tools. However after sitting down and looking at the book, I decided I was not ready for parchment. It seemed very involved and rather complicated. What I have found though, is a book called The All New Compendium of Cardmaking Techniques by Search Press. It came up when I was doing a search for new quilling books. It has a 27 page section on quilling; the designs are some of the ones found in Diane Crane’s Quilled Greeting Cards. What it does have is very basic information for a number of other techniques. “Thread Cards” their term for paper embroidery is just one of them. While I might not want to make a whole thread card, that might be an interesting technique to use for the vase of quilled flowers. I always have to think about what design to use for a vase; making a “threaded vase” might give a whole different look and texture to a piece. It would be pretty small if I were making it for a card but might look pretty neat in a framed piece as well. Hmm . . . There is a section on watercolor cards, which I almost skipped right over . . . I don’t enjoy painting anything, furniture, walls, NOTHING! But . . . there is an interesting section on creating a wash for a background and getting some really neat looks using spattering and salt, of all things! The “Quick Parchment Cards” section has made me rethink the whole parchment thing, especially when I saw some of the border designs and saw it used on color cards. When I got to the silk flower section, I just substituted quilled flowers in my mind. The section on beaded cards combined paper pricking and lace. I am not trying to read the whole book to you but it does have some good basic information so if you are interested in trying any of these techniques, I think it is a pretty good starting point. I have a whole bunch of small quilled pieces that I had made for the 2009 Accord calendar and of course that project got scrapped. So I think I will take a look at them again and look through my books and maybe I can really dress them up. I don’t usually send cards out for Halloween, but some of the designs are really cute Halloween designs, so maybe I will just surprise my family with Halloween cards this year.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Glues & Fixatives Part # 2

Glues & Fixatives – Part 2

Here comes the part about fixatives/sealers etc. Just like with the glue, everyone has an opinion or favorite. Here we will be discussing my favorites and some of my “not so favorites”. I think most new quillers worry about how to “preserve” their work. Of course paper filigree is more fragile than metal filigree, but it is surprisingly strong especially when rolled and glued on edge. I don’t use a sealer or fixative on anything but pieces that are free standing or are not protected by glass. I don’t use anything on pieces I put on scrapbook pages or greeting cards, paper is much stronger than most people realize. I have one of the very first pieces I made, a Sunbonnet Sue, which I made to hang in my daughter’s bedroom. It is done on a wood plaque, it has not been sprayed or coated with anything and is not under glass. It still hangs in my studio 34 years later and still looks the same, (except for the dust).

One of the very first quilling books I bought was written in 1974. It was called “Quilling Paper Art for Everyone” by Betty Christy and Doris Tracy. It contained a wealth of knowledge, (no color pictures), and I still like to leaf through it now and then. It’s a little dog eared, especially since one of my dogs chewed the corners when he was a puppy, but it was the first quilling book I bought and it still has a special place in my quilling library. (Partially because I have met Betty Christy, and spent time with her at several quilling conferences. She is quite a character.) However, this book recommends spraying your finished pieces with a clear plastic or acrylic spray. I have tried many different sprays over the years, and found that even the ones that say non-yellowing have a tendency to yellow the papers especially on white snowflakes. Some quillers recommend coating the pieces with a thinned mixture of white glue, I find that when the glue dries it leaves a shine, making the paper look almost like plastic. If I take all the time necessary to make those little rolls and coils, I’ll be darned if I want it to look like plastic. I’ve also heard of quillers who use, lacquer, varnish, and even nail polish! YUK!! Still plastic looking not to mention the smell! But of course, that’s just my opinion.

The first product I found that I really liked was a product called Petal Porcelain put out by Plaid. I have no idea why I tried it, maybe because it said the finished look was like porcelain (which beats plastic in my book). This came in a little jar, was quite thick; it had to be applied with a brush and it was PINK! But . . . it dried to clear bisque like finish and it did not change the look of the paper at all! I used it a lot when I was making and selling quilled earrings (about a hundred years ago) and it worked really well! It protected the paper from the oils of fingers and even survived my accidentally dropping an earring in the glass of water I used to clean my brush. The downside was that it was thick and if you were coating a large piece it took a long time.

When I made the quilled tea cup and saucer I knew I needed to find something that I didn’t have to brush on or the coating would take as long as the quilling. That’s when I found Stiffen Stuff by Beacon products. It was originally intended for stiffening ribbons (you know like the kinds you put on baskets etc.) I tried it out on something other than my first tea cup and was very pleased with the results. Because it is sprayed on, it is quite wet, so several very light coats are recommended letting it dry between coats. It dries pretty quickly, but if you are in a real hurry you can use a hair dryer on low. Also, I learned that you really need to rinse off the spray top of the bottle after each use or the Stiffen Stuff will clog the spray hole. For several years, this was the only product of this type I could find although now there are several other brands available. The problem seems to be finding it. When I first purchased it, I found it a Wal-Mart and have since seen it at Michaels. But a number of Whimsiquills customers have told me that it is not available in their Michaels or Wal-Mart’s, so we have brought it in as an item on the Whimsiquills web site in case you want to try it but are unable to find it.

PS I have an interesting little anecdote which kind of relates to flowers looking like plastic, porcelain etc. I had a young woman come to the Whimsiquills studio to choose a design for a wedding gift she was giving to a very special teacher/mentor. She came with her mom, and we spent considerable time picking out colors, style of quilling, and which flowers were to go in the finished piece. When they were ready to leave and were walking down the hall, where I have many quilled pieces displayed, her mother turned around and asked me, “but where do you BUY these flowers?” Needless to say, I turned them right around and gave them a little impromptu demonstration!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Glues & Fixatives with Quilling

Glues and Fixatives

As those of you who follow this blog know, I have been quilling for 30+ years, actually it is almost 35 years. Two of the questions that keep popping up are about what kind of glue should be used and does the finished piece need some kind of fixative to preserve it. Let me start with the glue.

Glue can be a sticky subject (just kidding); everybody has an opinion and/or a favorite; this is my opinion. In general terms, white glue that dries clear, is water soluble for easy cleanup, and one that is non toxic and has no fumes is preferred. Since every coil you make will either have to be glued shut, glued to a surface or another coil you want to be working with a product that is safe and easy to use. Having said that, one of the most important things to know is that “less is best” when it comes to gluing your work. Even though the glue will dry clear, that doesn’t necessarily make it invisible. If you are using excessive amounts of glue, it WILL show either as a shine or as a shiny glob, clear but obvious. When I started quilling, I used white glue put out by Leewards, it was inexpensive, it didn’t smell, and it dried clear . . . then I actually had a bottle go bad and turn an ugly brown color (I have no idea who the actual manufacturer was). Then I tried Elmer’s and Sobo. I didn’t like the Elmer’s, I felt it was too “watery” and it took too long to hold. I was more satisfied with the Sobo. One year I decided to put my quilling on glass Christmas balls, what a joy that was! I had quilling sliding down the sides of the round balls, YUK!! That’s when I tried Aleene’s Tacky Glue which solved my “sliding” problem. Before long, I was using the tacky glue for all of my quilling; I guess I am just not patient enough to wait for a thinner glue to “set”. Recently, we started carrying pearlized and metallic finished papers here at Whimsiquills and my impatience reared its ugly head again. I hate to glue a coil shut and have it “pop” open the minute I set it down. I especially hate it if I am placing it directly on a mat (which is my usual way of working), if it moves, it leaves a smear which is really tough to remove. So . . . . Now, I am trying Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue. I don’t like it for everything, but it does work well on those shiny coated papers.

How do I apply the glue? When I first started quilling I would put a little blob of glue on a piece of waxed paper and apply it with a toothpick. That works pretty well, but you do get a buildup of glue on the toothpick so it needs to be cleaned frequently; the glue on the wax paper starts to dry out and needs to be replenished. Boy was I thrilled when I tried my first fine tipped glue bottle! The first ones I bought were from England; it took me a long time to find a company that manufactured them here, but I have been sold on them ever since. We usually send our bottles out with two tips, one finer than the other so they work well with thick or thin glues. The glue bottles give so much more control when applying glue to those tiny pieces of paper we are so fond of. But there are times when the glue bottle might not be your best option. If you do your work on a work board and then transfer it to a mat or other surface, you may find you need to dip your pieces into the glue. What I find works best for me is to spread out a thin coating of glue on an easily cleaned surface like a plastic lid from a yogurt container or a “Glue Spot” (I’ll explain about them in a minute). Then pick up the quilled piece with your tweezers (I used a bent nose tweezers) and very gently let the bottom edges of your piece touch the spread out glue. If you get too much glue on the piece, tap off the excess by placing it on another piece of plastic and then lifting it off. The excess glue will stay on the plastic and you can place your piece on your mat. This is the method I always use when placing flower stems on a piece.

To get back to the “glue Spot”; this is a nifty little item patented by my friend and fellow quiller Molly Smith (She is the author of “The New Paper Quilling” ). She gave me one at our NAQG quilling conference and I have been using it ever since. It has a great plastic like finish that you can spread your glue on. After you are done working you just peel off the dried glue remnants and toss them. We will be carrying them at Whimsiquills, keep watching the NEW page on the web site. Next topic Fixatives (there was a lot more to say about glue than I thought) so long for now. (If there are any errors in this blog, it’s not my fault. I had to take 75 mg of Benedryl in order to keep breathing today!)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Quilled Greeting Cards & More

Quilled Greeting Cards & More

Handmade greeting cards have been very popular "across the pond" in England for a long time, and now they seem to be growing in popularity here in the United States. Let's face it . . . the cost of cards, like everything else, continues to rise. With gas prices out of site, and in a few months, those of us who live in colder climates will be dealing with the outrageous cost of heating oil, I don't think there is going to be a lot of extra money for $5-7 greeting cards or much of anything extra. In my last post, I wrote a little about quilled greeting cards; I thought it would be a good idea to expand on the topic.

I have just received an advanced copy of Alli Bartkowski's new book 50 Nifty Quilled Cards. I don't know about you, but I always enjoy looking through books because they stimulate me and give me ideas about what I would like to try. Coming up with ideas for fifty cards can't be easy, but Alli managed to do it. The quilling is relatively simple, but is dressed up by stacking different papers together to make the background for the quilling. For example: one of her cards used embossed vellum over plain card stock, a pearl on each of the 4 corners and a ribbon tied around the whole thing. Where was the quilling? A circle was cut out of the vellum with the cardstock showing through. Alli made two tiny birds (using a shaped teardrop for the head, and a larger shaped teardrop for the body) that look like they are "kissing" beak to beak; and above them two tiny teardrops make a heart. It's adorable! And easy! She has also added things like bits of ribbon, decorative embellishments like buttons and charms, decorative papers and gems. There are cards for holidays (I love her tiny angels) and for any occasion you can think of. It's a fun book and should be available in September.

Another fun book about card making is Marie Browning's New Concepts in Paper Quilling. In this book Browning actually shows you how to make the card blanks, liners, and envelopes. I generally stick with the card blanks we sell, we have white cards with rectangular, oval or heart shaped windows; we now have color cards and envelopes which are fun to work with as well. When using the window cards, I usually use a contrasting paper behind the cutouts and then place my quilling inside the cutouts.. I enjoy making cards using various border punches and quilling strips, but am intrigued by some of the ideas in this book as well. I like the look of the cards when different papers are stacked or layered. The cards in this book are quite elaborate although the quilling itself is not too difficult. The theme for the card is also carried over to the envelope which is another nice touch to the cards in this book. Some of these cards are almost too pretty to be cards and would certainly be appropriate for framing.

Of course, you might not want to send quilled cards to everyone on your greeting card list, so in my next post I will be discussing some other ideas for handmade cards. Then again, you might have people on your card list who wouldn't appreciate a handmade card. When I taught a workshop on dressing up your quilled cards at North American Quilling Guild Conference in Rhode Island, we had quite a discussion about who should get the fruits of our labor. One of the quillers said she would never send her sister a quilled card because she knew it would just get tossed; other quillers agreed that that sister didn't deserve a handmade card. I made my mother a set of quilled note cards several years ago because she always enjoyed getting my notes. When I visit her, they are still sitting on her desk, she wouldn't dream of writing on them and sending them off to someone else. I guess Moms are just like that. Here are a few other books to look at when making cards with quilling: Whimsiquills Book Review PageB171 Greeting Card DesignsB173 Quilling for Scrapbooks & CardsB5988 Quilling for CardsB352554 Card Making Techniques

Friday, June 20, 2008

Quilling Greeting Cards

Quilling Greeting Cards
I’ve decided not to buy greeting cards anymore. I’ve decided to make them . . . for a lot of different reasons. First of all I find it very difficult to find a card that says exactly what I want it to. For example: I didn’t actually meet my biological father until I was fifty five years old. He left to go off to the war when I was just a few days old. When he came back, both he and my mother were very different people and their marriage became a casualty of war. When I “found” him, I learned that I have a brother! Hallmark just doesn’t have a card that says what I need it to. I can spend hours, literally, reading through every card on the rack and then either leave empty handed or settle for something I’m not really pleased with. It didn’t really leave me much choice. Then of course there is the cost! It seems the only cards that appeal to me are the ones that cost megabucks.

Since I am a quiller, I would occasionally quill a card for a special occasion, (I always quill gift cards), and then worry about it getting squashed in the mail. Of course we all know how time consuming quilling can be, so I began to look for ways to “dress up” my quilled cards, to make them really pretty without having a lot of elaborate time consuming quilling. I started paying a little more attention to card making and scrapbooking books. Well, my worries are over; as card making grows in popularity here in the United States there is more and more information and ideas at your fingertips. We carry several books here at Whimsiquills specifically geared toward card making. My first cards were on plain white cardstock, and then I started trimming the edges of the cards with fancy edged quilling strips in matching colors. (I would cut the wide quilling strips with those decorative edge scissors.) Then I moved on to some tri-fold cards with decorative cut outs like hearts, ovals, and rectangles. I liked the openings because they “framed” the quilling, I would use a contrasting color as the background in the opening.

My daughter, who is into scrapbooking, told me about the decorative borders she used in scrapbooking, so I started looking at borders and border punches; it was just a logical progression to start using some of these ideas in my cards. Since I was enjoying using these, I decided to include them in the Whimsiquills line. Funny how things happen. One of my suppliers, Paplin Products, asked if I would be interested in seeing some cardboard mailers . . . perfect for mailing quilled greeting cards! Of course I was interested! Then they asked me what I thought about a line of colored cards and envelopes. At first I wasn’t sure about how the quilling would look on the colored cards. But I remembered doing some Easter quilling for Family Circle magazine several years ago. The cards they sent were colored . . . I got a lot of calls about those colored cards. At the time, I checked with Family Circle and they told me they had bought the cards at a little boutique. Paplin sent me some samples and I really enjoyed working with them. I used some circle border punches to “frame” the quilling on some of them. Circle punch On others, I combined some of the border punches to dress up the cards. The small designs I had created for the Accord quilling calendars were perfect for the cards. Combined border punches. There are tons of samples on the cards and scrapbook link .

Of course after you make your pretty handmade card, you have to decide what you want it to say. There are some great sites on the internet like and These are just a couple of sites, there are tons more out there. You can print out a verse in a pretty or fun font and attach it to the inside of your card. Of course if your handwriting is nice or if you know calligraphy you can write your verse. I use a removable adhesive called Dotto to attach the “verse” to the inside of the card. The verse can be removed and the card can be recycled! How about that!! You can have your own line of “green” cards, save gas by making them at home, save money by not buying the fancy commercial greeting cards, and your cards can be recycled!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Digital Quilling

Digital Quilling

Actually, I can’t take credit for finding this site, Debbie, my right arm, did. She saw a picture and the caption “A box full of Quilling paper filigree pieces new in the Shoppe”. She printed it out and ran upstairs to show me. My initial thought was that it was a kit of some sort, but then I thought, how can that possibly be? It said there were 230 quilling pieces . . . in several different color combinations ready for you to be creative with them and arrange them into patterns for corners of photos or frames and pages.” I probably reread that caption three times before I realized that I had missed the words “on individual files” . . . then I realized I was looking at DIGITAL QUILLING!!! HI-TECH QUILLING!!!!! How cool is that! I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around it! Of course, my next step was to try and learn a little more about it. I sent an email to “Blushbutter” the creator. Her name is Vanessa and she, as it turns out lives in Australia. She told me she started quilling about 11 years ago when her oldest child was 4 years old. Vanessa said after studying graphic design 6 years ago and having two more boys, she found little time for quilling. She finally decided to make a digital quilling kit. In her email to me she said, “I am sure you can appreciate the skill taken to digitally cut the pieces out of the backgrounds of my cards which has taken many hours of patience, but it’s been worth it as a lot my customers who have adored the quilling craft in their younger years but don’t have the fine motor skills of their fingers either from arthritis or swelling anymore can now do the craft digitally.” Actually, I can only imagine the skill it must take to do this as I am totally clueless about digital anything.

My scrapbooking, like my quilling, is the paper and scissor variety. I wouldn’t know where to begin trying to create a digital page combining my work. I did have a very interesting conversation recently with Paige Meeker, a fellow quilling guild member, and she was telling me a little bit about digital scrapbooking and gave me a couple of sites to check out. My daughter, who is an avid scrap booker and a not-so-avid quiller has also volunteered to help educate her poor-over-the-hill mother in the ways of all things digital. (Did I tell you she used 1/8” navy blue quilling strips to pin stripe the pages of her New York Yankees scrapbook?) I will keep you posted as I learn more about this! Here is a link so you can see for yourself. Take some time to browse; there is lots of interesting stuff . . . even if I don’t know how to use most of it.

BTW Here is another interesting link; this is a blog whose author/artist creates a skull a day! That’s right . . . a skull a day! I have no idea why, but the interesting thing is that one of the skulls is QUILLED! It’s really neat . . . I had to add my comment when someone referred to quilling as an “old lady craft”, little do they know that not ALL of us are old ladies, although I did acknowledge that I am well on my way. Here is the link Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Quilling & Home Schooling

Quilling & Home Schooling
I came upon a mention of quilling in a site recently and was surprised to learn that it was a site for home schooling. I was an "at home" mom during my children's early years and enjoyed all of the activities we shared together, but I can't imagine the energy and dedication it must take to home school them. It is obvious that our educational system in this country leaves something to be desired and that the needs of many young children are not being met: I guess that's why so many parents have decided to home school and why so many magnet schools are popping up. It is the exceptional teacher who can keep the subject matter fresh, new, and exciting. But I digress! I thought it was exciting to see quilling in a study unit, especially when so many art majors and teachers have never heard of it. I contacted Amy Pak and told her that I was a quiller, a member of the North American Quilling Guild, and how happy I was to see quilling included in the study program. I am always happy to see quilling being introduced to a new group of potential enthusiasts. I also told her about the blog and that we had free reference materials and patterns on our web site. Amy told me "We included quilling in the program as it was an art form that had carried over from Europe to the colonial era of America. It is important to us to share various forms of art for the children to try and experience!" Amy said she hadn't actually tried quilling until she did the Colonial Life unit, but she said "It was a joy to do!" She went on to say that her sons, 9 and 11 years old, enjoyed their quilling experience as well creating "scenes that were totally their own, by using the shapes to fit as they needed."

I took a few minutes to browse through some of the information on the Colonial Life unit and saw other "hands on" activities like punch tin, reverse painting, making a rope bed and straw tick. I thought back to when I was in high school; I hated history and didn't understand its significance. I took US history in summer school so I wouldn't have to sit through a whole school year of history classes. I probably would have felt differently had I had a more "hands on" experience and learned what life was really like in colonial America; I know I would have enjoyed learning about quilling. Let's see; I learned to quill when I was about 30, if I learned in school, just imagine how much more "stuff" I would have made by now!. It is certainly food for thought!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Quilling Comfort Zone

Quilling Comfort Zone

Today I’d like to talk a little about punches. Many quillers use punched flowers in with their quilled flowers. I actually bought a book on punched flowers at one of AGM’s I attended. But as I sat and read the instructions, I felt like this was a wholly different thing that what I love to do. I never even attempted one flower from that book. I’ve also seen some pretty neat leaf punches, but there are so many different ways to make quilled leaves, that I just never even tried the punched ones I do sprinkle a few small punch flowers in with my work, some simple flowers made with ¼” hole punches or heart punches. But the bulk of flowers I use are quilled.

Like everyone else, I find that sometimes I get into a rut and make the same flowers over and over in different colors. I am in my comfort zone and it is definitely easier to make what I know than it is to think up new flowers and experiment with them. That’s where books come in. On a quiet day, I make a cup of tea, and sit down with a stack of quilling books and just browse. There are all kinds of ideas and techniques to try, even in the books I am not particularly fond of. The next step is to play around with my quilling strips and try some of the “new” flowers. Some come easily and others seem like they are more trouble than they are worth. That seems like a strange thing to say considering how many roses I make. I make the kind made with rectangular pieces of 3/8” paper. Each petal is a separate piece of paper, and I fill the centers with gently curved ¼” holes. I make them using 3 different shades of the same color making the centers darker and the outer petals a lighter shade. What could be more trouble than making these roses? Well, that’s just it; I don’t consider them trouble because I do them easily and I do them well, but some of the other flowers can be a real challenge for me. For example, I love some of Claire Choi’s flowers in her book “The Art of Paper Quilling.” She has a flower on page 44 of her book which she simply calls “yellow flower wrapped in white strips”. She starts out with two yellow half moons and then places an orange four looped wheatear (or she calls it a vertical husking) between the two half moon and then wraps the whole thing with a white strip several times leaving some space at the tips of the petals so she can pinch it to a point. I LOVE this flower. There are several variations of this flower in her book. Do you think I can make one? NOT!!! This one is so far out of my comfort zone it might as well be at the South Pole. But, I will keep trying; I think I might be trying to make it too small . . . but I LIKE small flowers . . . oh well. There is another book, just out called “Quilled Border and Motifs” by Judy Cardinal. She does some really neat flowers, she calls fantasy flowers. Again . . . talk about comfort zones . . . I tend to try and make my flowers look like “real” flowers while she is having fun. Hmmm . . . I think I need to take a good look at this whole comfort zone thing. Well now that I have completely gone off on a tangent, I really didn’t talk about punches at all but I will next time. Next time I will talk about punches that I have come to love, border punches . . . in the meantime, here is another new book Quilled Wild Flowers by Janet Wilson to give you some more food for thought. Maybe I will sit down with Claire Choi at out next AGM (Annual Guild Meeting) and ask her to show me how to make those flowers.