Sunday, November 27, 2016

Touching a Legacy and a Tiny Mystery

A fantastic book - a favorite
I've already reviewed here
on the blog.
I was very saddened to learn today that quiller Malinda Johnston passed away just a few days ago, on Thanksgiving, November 24, 2016.  I was one of a huge number of quillers that found her work to be inspiring.  Her books simply made me want to quill, and then they did a great job of showing you just how to do it.  She has left behind an incredible legacy that will positively impact paper quilling and quillers for many years to come.

I've already reviewed her book "The Book of Paper Quilling: Techniques and Projects for Paper Filigree" here on this blog.  It will always be a favorite.  I remember opening up the book and flipping through the designs for the first time.  I was particularly impressed by the Halloween design (after seeing me post my own Halloween Sampler here on the blog, I'm sure you are not surprised by this.)  The little pumpkin on that page is so perfectly made, and the swirls in the ghost show impeccable technique.  I decided that no pumpkin could possibly be better than that one, and have rather consciously tried to meet that standard on every pumpkin I've quilled since.

And then years later ...

Pages 78 and 79 of the book, showing the little pumpkin
that I became somewhat obsessed over.
I blogged about attending the North American Quilling Guild Conference that happened in May of this year.  One of the things I didn't mention was that at that meeting, everyone had the chance to walk away with a piece of quilling history.  A number of older pieces of quilling had been contributed to the guild, and we were all given the chance to pick one out for our very own.  I didn't know this until late in the meeting, and so by the time I got to the display there weren't many left.  I walked down the table ... and couldn't believe my eyes.  There was the pumpkin!  The ghost!  And I was able to take them home for my very own!  They are a bit worse for wear over the years, but I am thrilled to have them in my collection.

Actual in-my-hard art is
above, and the book's
image is below.
So that is me with a small touch of a great legacy.  So what is the tiny mystery, here?  It is this - the question of who quilled this piece is not easily answered.  You'd think it would be easy, because on the back of the piece there is a post-it note saying "Designed by Eleanor Baxter for LCC Book of Paper Quilling pg. 79."  But.  When you read the acknowledgements in the back of the book, Eleanor Baxter is credited with the Valentine Heart, also shown on page 79.  (see picture of two page spread, above.)  In fact, no one in the acknowledgements is credited with the Halloween design.  So I'm wondering, did Malinda do this herself, and did the post it note get moved to the back of the wrong project?  Or was there a mistake in the acknowledgements for the book? 

Another picture of book with
quilled art.  Love it.
I suppose I might never know the answer to those questions.  It does not matter to me from one perspective - that I now own this awesome piece of quilling that has always meant something to me.  But it does matter to me because I'd love to give credit where it is due.  In any case, Malinda Johnston created a great book that included this and many other wonderful designs.  And she did a great deal more for quillers everywhere.  I still look forward to quilling designs from Lake City Crafts.

Image Credits:  My pictures of books and quilling that I own.  The Halloween design?  Well, it appears in the book, and could be from either Malinda Johnston or Eleanor Baxter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What a little quilled name tag can do ...

I spent last weekend at a women's retreat organized by my church.  It ended up being a wonderful time, but I started the weekend not knowing anyone at all.  I was concerned that, what with having social anxiety, I'd be afraid to meet anyone, and would spend the time alone.

Still, I went to the event with an open mind and lots of hope to meet other local women and perhaps start some new friendships.  I noticed on the agenda that one of the first things we were going to do was "Make Your Own Name Tag" so naturally I brought along my travel quilling kit with some extra cardstock.

The name itself had been provided for us, so all I had to do was pick some pretty paper, glue things together, and then do a bit of quilling.  I chose something simple because I was nervous, and because I wanted to be sure the glue had time to dry before I put the tag on.  Flowers, can't go wrong. 

The first thing that happened was that the array of colors of the quilling paper attracted some attention. "What is that?" one woman asked, and of course I was thrilled to give a quick quilling demonstration.  Another woman walked over and said, "Oh, my mom used to do that!  I forget what it's called."  And so a different conversation got started.  By the end of name-tag-making-time, I had several people sitting around me, talking, making tags, and asking to use some of my supplies.  It was great.

The rest of the weekend people kept coming up to me and remarking on my name tag.  It was absolutely the best conversation starter.  I had no idea it would attract so much attention, but was glad that it did - I met so many wonderful people that I probably would have been too shy to approach myself.  At the end weekend one of the organizers said I should consider doing a quilling workshop for the next year's retreat!  I certainly hope I can say yes to that request - I'll have to see what my schedule holds, but it was so nice to be asked.

I will certainly be quilling more things like name tags in the future.  It turns out to be the perfect way to get a conversation going and to meet new people!

Image Credit:  My pic of my own nametag, my quilling and design.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Sampler - Projects #8 and #9

This is the last post for the Halloween Sampler!  Finally ... I hope these instructions are of some use, and that you have fun making a few of these little projects, or the whole sampler!

I particularly hope you have fun with the projects that are a little more unusual - there are lots of patterns for pumpkins, but vampire fangs and skeleton keys are a little more hard to find.

This post covers projects #8 and #9 (out of nine).  I've already posted the general instructions, the mat board cutting instructions, as well as projects #1 - #7 and a bonus project!

First post -  Halloween Sampler
Second post - General Instructions and Mat board
Third post - Bonus Project and Project #1
Fourth post - Projects #2 and #3
Fifth post - Projects #4 and #5 
Sixth post - Projects #6 and #7 
Seventh (and last) post is this one! - Projects #8 and #9

And remember, if you want to download all the instructions right now in one go, then head over to Craftsy where I have them posted for $3.99.

Project #8:  Vampire Fangs

- bright red, 2 strips at 8” (upper lip)
- bright red, 1 strip at 12” (lower lip)
- bright white, 2 strips at 3” (fangs)
- dark red, 1 strip at 6” (blood drop)
Thorny Rose Vines
- bright red, 1 strip at 12” (rose) 1/4” wide strip
- olive green, 2 strips at 5” (vines)
- olive green, 4 strips at 2.5” (thorns)
- dark red, 1 strip at 3” (blood drop)

Start by using 2 of the 8" bright red strips.  Make two long teardrops.  Make a long, flat semi-circle with the 12" strip.  Glue these three pieces together as shown to form lips.  Form fangs by taking the 2, 3” strips of white and making long triangles.  Glue these on top of the lower lip.  Make a teardrop out of the 6” dark red strip, and glue it to the lower lip so it appears to be dripping off of one of the fangs.

Make a rose from the 12” strip of 1/4" wide paper.  Make two long “S” coil shapes from the 5” olive green strips.  On each of these “S” shapes, glue two thorns.  The thorns are long triangle shapes made from the 2.5” long strips of olive green.  For a final touch, create a small teardrop shape from the 3” dark red strip and position it so it drips from one of the thorns.

The fangs and thorny vines are found in the upper right square of the sampler.  Glue the pieces into place there, the square in the top, right column.

Project #9:  Witch’s Lair

- bright purple, 2 strips at 10” (hat)
- orange, 1 strip at 1.5” (sash)
- yellow, 1 strip at 1” (buckle) ¼ wide paper
- black, 1 strip at 1/8” (buckle)
- black, 1 strip at 9” (body)
- black, 1 strip at 5” (head)
- black, 1 strip at 4” (tail)
- black, 1 strip at 2” (whiskers)
- black, 1 strip at 2” (nose) 1/8” narrow paper
- black, 2 strips at 2” (ears)
- neon green, 2 strips at 1.5” (eyes)
- black, 1 strip at 25” (pot)
- black, 1 strip at 12” (lip of pot)
- black, 2 strips at 3” (feet of pot)
- green/yellow, 4 strips; 5”, 4”, 3”, 2” (poison fumes)

To make the witch’s hat, start with a 10” strip of bright purple and form it into a long triangle, with the tip slightly bent.  Make a circle out of the other 10” strip and squash it flat to form the brim of the hat.  Glue together.

Use the strip of orange and wrap it around the bottom of the hat just above the brim.  It should go across the front and down both sides of the hat (but not around the back).  Trim the strip to fit if necessary. 

To make the buckle use the bit of 1” yellow wide width paper, cut a small rectangle.  Use the black paper to cut an even smaller rectangle, as shown.  Glue the black rectangle onto the yellow one.  Now glue this onto the hat, on top of the strip of orange.  (You can also make a nice hat from other colors, such as black and dark green, and use strips of different colors as well for the sash.)

The cat’s body is made from a wide teardrop formed from the 9” long strip of black paper.  The 5” strip should be formed into an eye shape and glued on top of the teardrop.  Use the 4” length of black to form a tail, curving and trimming into whatever shape pleases you.  Make two ears by making long triangles from the 2” strips of black paper.  An image of the back of the finished cat is shown.

The face is more detailed, and getting a good picture was hard.  First, make two eye shapes from the neon green, and glue them to the upper part of the head, just under the ears.  Now take the 2” strip of black and use the scissors to cut it lengthwise into 4 very narrow strips.  Center these under the cat’s eyes, and fan them out a bit to look like whiskers.  Glue into place one at a time, right on top of one another.  Just use one tiny dab of glue at a time, and then put another whisker down, and glue that.  On top of the center of the whiskers, you will put the nose.  The nose is a triangle made from the 2” strip of narrow black (although regular width would work fine, using narrow width paper here helps to keep the nose from poking out, and hides the middle of the pile of whiskers where you glued them in place.)  Glue the nose.  Trim the whiskers to be the right length for your project.  (mine stick out about ½ to ¼ of an inch from the nose on either side).

The boiling caldron starts with the 25” strip of black, rolled into an offset-circle.  Put the center of the offset at the bottom, and flatten the top of the circle to be the top of the pot.  Use the 12” strip to form a circle, and squash it flat to make up the brim of the pot.  Glue in place.  The feet of the pot are made from the 2, 3” strips made into circles.  Glue to the pot.

The poisonous fumes are made from four pieces of yellow/green paper of various lengths.  Each is made into an “S” Shape and glued to the top of the pot, and to each other wherever they touch.  I used 5”, 4”, 3”, and 2” length strips.

Arrange the hat, cat, and caldron in the lower, middle square.  Glue into place in the middle column, bottom, as shown.

Image Credit:  All my own pictures of my own quilling, all my own original designs.


Halloween Sampler - Projects #6 and #7

Right, I had said in August that I'd get all these sampler instructions up by Halloween.  Well, that's today, and I still have instructions to put up.  So I'm just going to get these two posts up right now, and get this done once and for all :) Still my excuse was all the work I was doing on my "Spiral Moon" project, which as the Moon is also vaguely Halloween-y.

This post covers projects #6 and #7 (out of nine).  I've already posted the general instructions, the mat board cutting instructions, as well as projects #1 - #5 and a bonus project!

First post -  Halloween Sampler
Second post - General Instructions and Mat board
Third post - Bonus Project and Project #1
Fourth post - Projects #2 and #3
Fifth post - Projects #4 and #5 

And remember, if you want to download all the instructions right now in one go, then head over to Craftsy where I have them posted for $3.99.

Project #6: Black Widow Spider

- grey, 4 strips at 5” (web top and bottom)
- grey, 1 strip at 3” (web strands)
- grey, 3 strips at ¾” (web)
- grey, 3 strips at 1” (web)
- grey, 1 strip at 2” (strand from spider)
- black, 1 strip at 4” (head)
- black, 1 strip at 7” (body)
- black, 4 strips at 2” (legs)
- bright red, 2 strips at 2.5” (hourglass)

Web:  The web is made of grey strips.  First, take two 5" strips and make long 'S' shapes.  Glue together to form the ‘side’ of the web.  Make two more long “S” shapes and glue these together for the ‘top’ of the web.  Glue these two sets together where they touch.  Take the 3" long strip and fold it into a 'V' shape.  Place it inside the long “S” shapes and glue into place.  This forms the long, straight structure of the interior of the web. 

The cross webs are each a separate bit of paper, slightly curved.  Inside are three .75" strips, and outside are three 1" strips.  Slide them in-between the “V” and “S” shapes, and carefully glue the ends in place.  I found tweezers to be very helpful when doing this.
Then the spider.  The head is a 4" strip of black, and the body is a 7" strip of black, both formed into circles.  Before gluing them together, take 4, 2" strips of black and glue them flat between the head and body, one at a time.  When dry, curve these to form legs, and trim the length as necessary to fit your project. (I wanted my spider legs to be really long, but I had to trim them up to get the spider to fit in the box.)

Take 2, 1.5 inch strips of bright red and form them into triangles.  Glue together at the tip to form an hourglass shape.  When dry, glue this onto the body of the spider. 

Last, take a strip about 2" long of the grey, and attach it to the spider's body.  Attach the other end to the top of the web, trimming as necessary to fit your project.

The black widow can be found in the first box of the project.  Glue the pieces together in the first column, left, top box.

Project #7:  Skeleton Keys

Silver Skeleton Key
- silver metallic, 1 strip 20” (skull)
- silver metallic, 10 strips at 1.5” (barrel)
- silver metallic, 2 strips at 2” (long tines)
- silver metallic, 1 strip 1.5” (short tine)
- black, 2 strips at 2” (eyes) 1/16” narrow width
- black, 1 strip at 2.5” (nose) 1/16” narrow width
- black 1 strip at 3” (mouth) 1/16” narrow width
Bronze Skeleton Key
Same as above, except using bronze metallic paper.
- black, 2 strips 4” long
- black, 2 strips 6” long

Start with a 20" strip of metallic silver.  Shape it into a 'pear'.  This is the skull of the skeleton (the top of the key). The barrel of the key is made with 10, 1.5" strips of silver metallic paper.  Form each strip into a tight circle.  (You might need 2" pieces of you don't wind around a needle tool like I do.)  Stack the tight circles and glue them in place in a long line, with all the ends of the strips lining up together (that way you can hide them under the key).  The final three pieces making up the tines of the key are 2 rectangles of 2" paper and one circle of 1.5" paper.  Glue pieces together as shown.

The picture shows the backs of the keys, where I tried to show how the paper ends of all the tight circles all line up along the back of the barrel (but I could have done a better job with my own keys :).  Repeat the whole process with bronze metallic paper for a second key.

The face is made from 2, 2" strips of black in closed circles for eyes, a 2.5" strip in black in a triangle for a nose, and a 3" strip in a long oval or rectangle for a mouth.  These were 1/16" narrow width paper, but you can use 1/8" for the face and it will work fine.  Make two sets of these.  Make sure you are now working with the TOP of your key (lines on the barrel are now down against the work surface) and glue your faces in place.  This picture is a bit over-exposed, but it shows the faces well.

To finish the project, make two keyholes.  Use the black 4” strips to make circles, and the black 6” strips to make long triangles.  Flatten the tops of the triangles slightly.  Glue the circles on the tops of the triangles.

Display your keys and the keyholes together in the sampler.  Glue them into the square in the middle of the left (first) column.

Image Credits:  All my own pix of my own qulling, my original designs

Friday, October 7, 2016

Quilled Moon Won Second Place!

Happy framed full Moon!
Wow!  OMG!  I am thrilled, humbled and honored to have tied for second place in the Little Circles Quilling contest for this year!  The newsletter from Little Circles with the announcement of the winners is here.

My piece "Spiral Moon" (that I've been blogging about here) was selected based on number of likes, originality, creativity, and technique.  There were so many really outstanding pieces in the 64 piece lineup, that I really am surprised to have earned a 2nd place finish.  Thanks to everyone who encouraged me while I was working on this piece, and who liked the picture on Facebook - both gave me the boost I needed to have a winning work of art!

The art will get a bit more exposure, too, because it is going to be exhibited as part of The Art of Planetary Science that will be offered at this year's DPS/EPSC meeting in Pasadena.  So I'll get to see what the science community has to say about it, too  :)

I hope you enjoyed following along as the piece took shape!  I'll blog more about the exploits of 'Spiral Moon' as they occur!

Image Credits:  All my pix of my original art.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Quilling the Moon: Highlands and Maria

Moon - over half completed!
Highlands regions carefully
constructed to be filled in
later with 'mare' material.
As I mentioned in my first "Quilling the Moon" post, the highlands are the bright, mountainous areas of the Moon, while the mare regions (maria, plural) are the dark, flat, volcanic plains of the Moon.  I also mentioned along the way that since the mare were being filled in with nearly black paper, I needed daylight to do that work.  So I ended up working nights on the light highlands and leaving holes behind to be filled up with dark paper during the day.  It was an interesting way to approach the project, since I had to be constantly planning several steps ahead as to how the regions would look once they were completed.

Moon - Maria filled in!
Again, the color choice was really critical, and took a great deal of time.  I wanted to be sure the smaller, bright craters were consistently marked with the bright white paper, and that the intermediate areas were marked with the darker grey, leaving the bone white for the overall highlands material.  Creating the mare boundaries was also a challenge because I needed to ensure that the quills fit together nicely, with the sizes varying in a pleasing random sort of way.

Close-up of filled maria.
Going back and filling in the mare was very gratifying, since it made me feel like I was making a ton of progress.  But this was where the sizes of the quills really made a big difference.  Being constrained by the small areas, I had to be very careful and clever about how each quill fit next to its neighbor.  Some of the quills in this project are made from paper less than 1/4" in length, and so were pretty challenging to make and to fit into the tiny spaces they needed to occupy.  I remember doing work like this is a child, and the 'smallness' of the quills not being nearly so difficult for both fingers and eyes!

Image Credits:  My pix of my own quilling, my design!