Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Review: Quilling For Beginners

Quilling for Beginners by Jean Woolston-Hamey.  Published by Kangaroo Press, Simon and Schuster, 2004.  48 pages.

I rate it ... fair!


See my post about book reviews for details about my review criteria and biases.

I'm always concerned when I put up a less-than-stellar review of any product.  I'm well aware of the time and energy that goes into a creating a book, being an author myself.  But if one can't post an honest review of one's opinion, then what is the point of a review?  As always, this is only my opinion, and that of others may differ widely.

This is a relatively short (48 page) quilling book that introduces the art of quilling to beginners, and provides a few easy projects for them to try.  It ends with a gallery of those same projects done by children.

What I liked:
The book has nice, bright color images of projects.  My copy came with a small package of paper strips on the inside back cover, so a few projects could be tried immediately.

What liked less:
The tutorial for beginners is much too short, and misses out on some important techniques such as making roses.  Some potential resources and supplies are not mentioned that are standard in other books, such as fringers, molds and such.  The overall quality of the quilling in the projects is not high, showing uneven tension and very large open centers.  The projects themselves are not terribly interesting, and I don't think they will inspire children or adults to try the craft.  There is no history section, and the gallery space could have been used better with a few more advanced projects, rather than showing children's work.

Overall, as a collector, I felt compelled to buy it.  But for a beginner, there are much better quilling books on the market.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Book Review: Pretty Quilled Cards

Pretty Quilled Cards by Cecelia Louie.  Published by Lark Crafts, Sterling Publishing Company, 2014.  127 pages. (Review updated Aug 7, 2016)

I rate it ... very good!


See my post about book reviews for details about my review criteria and biases.

Pretty Quilled Cards is subtitled "25+ Creative Designs for Greetings and Celebrations."  I rarely put quilling on greeting cards, since such cards are hard to keep and store without marring the quilling (unless you leave them out or frame them.)  But I certainly have made quilled cards on occasion, and this book has a bevy of new designs for lovers of cards, tags, and such like.  I was also thrilled to find a quilling book with a relatively recent (2014) date - as I am looking to learn new techniques and am always on the hunt for new ideas.

It is a little difficult to rate the book, because it represents a significant departure from the "traditional" or even "modern" quilling in the books of the 2000's.  This book has more "innovative" or "new wave" quilling - emphasizing very loose coils and open outlines, rather than tight, lacy coils and borders that are completely filled in.  In fact, a lot of this isn't what I'd call quilling at all but instead "Paper Outlining" or "Paper Line Art" or even "Paper Collage."  This can be misleading for new quillers.  There are techniques in this book like 'softening' and 'scraping' that you won't find many other places.  The projects themselves are a little strange in terms of how they are presented, because every single strip of paper is shown with the necessary fold marks on it.  In other words, these designs show you specifically how and where to fold every single crease in every strip of paper.  This is different from other books, so it takes some getting used to.  So comparing this book directly to the other books I've reviewed isn't as straightforward as it could be.  But I'll give it a shot :)

What I liked:
New ideas and new designs.  Almost every project has something in it, however small, that I haven't seen elsewhere.  Even if it is just a trick of folding the paper, there is something new to be had.  The book is well illustrated and photographed, with lots of color pictures of projects.  The projects are highly detailed with copious instructions.

What I liked less:
The tutorial for beginners is not straightforward, and could cause some confusion.  There is a lot of coiling, opening, and recoiling of strips to achieve the effect the author wants to see in their quilling.  This may be necessary to achieve the very specific look and effects of this book, but is not at all necessary for many other forms of quilling.  This isn't mentioned, and a beginner could come away with the idea that this book shows the 'right' way to quill, and other books are 'wrong' rather than simply thinking of this as a different approach.  (Or perhaps a different craft altogether, such as "Paper Line Art" or simply "Paper Craft" etc.)  The projects often require use of a copier, or even color copier to get all of the pieces necessary - rather than emphasizing the use of materials a quiller might already have on hand.  There is no ancillary material at all, i.e. history, gallery of ideas, etc. (you know my bias.)

I wouldn't recommend the book for a beginner.  However, a practiced quiller who is looking for ideas for cards will find much to entertain themselves with here.  I'm glad it is on my shelf, even for the relatively high going price of a new, recent book (from $15 to $20).

Monday, November 2, 2015

Book Review: Quilled Flowers

Quilled Flowers by Alli Bartkowski.  Published by Lark Crafts, Sterling Publishing Company, 2012.  126 pages.

I rate it ... excellent!


See my post about book reviews for details about my review criteria and biases.

Quilled Flowers is subtitled "A Garden of 35 Paper Projects."  It starts with a solid tutorial and introduction to quilling supplies, then moves right into the flower projects.   There is no history section nor gallery. 

What I liked:
First of all, I was not expecting new ideas about flowers in any quilling book, given how overdone the subject is.  BUT I was pleasantly surprised by Quilled Flowers.  There are plenty of new ideas and designs in this book.  And this is a very pretty quilling book, with tons of color images all laid out very well.  In many cases there are close-ups of the finished work so you can see exactly what you are doing.  The quality of the quilling is generally good throughout the book (see below).  The finished projects are all quite aesthetically pleasing, and make you want to try them right away.  I think this book does well at achieving its goal.     

What I liked less:
I wanted the tutorial to be longer, more detailed, and just generally meatier.  And of course I wanted a gallery of amazing flower projects at the end ... I always want a gallery.  I was not impressed by the use of chalk and ink to change colors - this is just a bias of mine, where I like color variation to be achieved by the use of different kinds of papers, not inks.  I did note some inconsistency in the quality of the quilling (some flowers with larger open centers, large 'tags' in the center, etc.).

I think anyone will be able to find a project they like in this book, from beginner to advanced.  But I think it is more suited to the moderate level of quiller.  The paperback is going for less than $12, which I think is a fantastic price for what you get here.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Book Review: The New Paper Quilling

The New Paper Quilling by Molly Smith Christensen.  Published by Lark Books, Sterling Publishing Company, 2006.  127 pages.

I rate it ... good!


See my post about book reviews for details about my review criteria and biases.

The New Paper Quilling is subtitled "Creative Techniques for Scrapbooks, Cards, Home Accents and More."  It starts with a detailed tutorial and list of supplies for beginners.  Then the rest of the book is used to cover many different projects including motifs, frames, miniatures, mobiles, and more.

What I liked:
The book has a very nice presentation that I'm coming to expect from Sterling Publishing - nice pictures, good page layout, lots of color.  The projects have plenty of detail so they can be easily reproduced.  The "dazzling paisley mobile" is particularly interesting.  The tutorial for beginners is nicely fleshed out.  The quality of the quilling in the book is very good, and consistent throughout.

What I liked less:
I do not see that the book fills the niche of "new" quilling - what is here is largely standard.  Other than the embossing of the tulips and the interesting abstract paisley mobile, I do not see much here that is particularly new.  Many of the projects seem to use crimping as the particular technique to add interest, but this is a very old technique.  Many other projects are not very involved, and will not hold the attention of a moderate to advanced quiller.  There is no gallery, and I feel a book about 'new' quilling should certainly have a gallery of innovative designs.

New it is available for $13, which seems a bit much (although as a collector I paid it).  Used, the book can be had for as low as $2, which is pretty unbeatable for just about any interested quiller who wants a few more ideas to draw upon.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Book Review: Great Paper Quilling

Great Paper Quilling by Mickey Baskett.  Published by Sterling Publishing Company, 1999.  128 pages.

I rate it ... very good!


See my post about book reviews for details about my review criteria and biases.

Great Paper Quilling starts with a brief section for beginners - a tutorial on how to quill and an explanation of necessary tools and supplies.  Then the book quickly gets into the projects, designed by a host of different quillers.  The projects include: frames, motifs, flowers, insects, jewelry, letters, miniatures, snowflakes and more.  There is no gallery at the end.

What I liked:
The book is well produced with lots of nice color images.  The projects are well presented (and given the nice pictures, the projects are, for the most part, easy to follow.)  There is something for everyone here.  Since a number of designers are represented, the book does not get repetitious.  

What I liked less:
The tutorial section is quite small.  I can see a book like this opting out entirely, given this is supposed to be 'great' paper quilling, but if it is there, then I have a bias that a tutorial be substantial.  Some of the projects seem basic, again for a book of 'great' quilling, while others, like the quilled church, are quite large in scope.  There is no gallery at the end, and I expected to see more quilling inspiration there.  Because the quilling is created by different designers, the quality and nature of the quilling isn't consistent throughout the book.  Overall, I don't think the book quite hits its intended mark of 'great' quilling.

I'm glad to have the book on my shelf, and do flip through for inspiration now and then.  I think it is best suited for moderately experienced quillers, not beginners, since the tutorial is so short.  Advanced quillers may find the designs too basic.  Current prices - new at about $15, the book may be just a tad pricey, but used for less than $4 is a steal.   

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Artist Interview: Philippa Reid

I'm very pleased to be able to post this interview with quilling artist Philippa Reid!  She has provided a wealth of information about her quilling life, as well as the Quilling Guild (UK) and their magazine, Quiller's Today!

1. How old were you when you started quilling, and how did you get involved?
I first got into papercrafts in 2007, when I was about to retire from full-time work at the age of 52. In those days I was a burned-out freelance writer, desperate to free myself from the relentless pressures of a career in marketing/PR, and ready to divert my creative energies into something visual rather than verbal! I received a catalogue through the mail containing intriguing details of a kit for making paper roses ... I sent for it, and received some interesting papers, punches, a needle tool and a packet of card blanks. I hadn't ever thought of making cards before, so I bought a book on the subject which included individual chapters on different card-making techniques, one of which was quilling! It gave details of some very simple projects based on closed loose coils which fascinated me at once. I had never seen quilling before, but I immediately fell in love with the look and the idea of paper filigree work. I bought a pack of multi-coloured quilling strips, a cheap and nasty plastic slotted tool (quickly discarded in favour of the needle tool that had come with the rose kit) and set about teaching myself to quill from specialist books and information that I was able to obtain on the internet, especially through people's blogs.

As soon as I got to grips with quilling, I wanted to do it 'differently' and to do it for a purpose. It's very much part of my nature to think creatively about unusual applications for things and push the conventional boundaries of my chosen art. So I experimented, beginning by combining quilling with photographs and digital graphics to create unusual greetings cards which I sold at my local village market. I designed and created quilled earrings and other types of jewellery which also proved to be popular. I learned to cast moulded acrylic shapes, creating paperweights with quilled motifs (and other things!) embedded in them. I started a blog, too, in which I shared my experimental endeavours with quilling - it quickly gained a significant following. Latterly, I've got more into creating framed pictures, moving away from cards and jewellery to concentrate on larger projects. All this brought me a level of creative satisfaction which I had not experienced in the world of work for a very long time.

2. What is your favorite project(s) that you have quilled? Was it a gift or a special occasion?
I think my favourite project so far has been a piece which won three awards in The Quilling Guild competitions for 2014. It's called 'Bordering on Antiquity', and was made partly for the Guild's competitions and also as an Accreditation project. My aim was to explore the artistic potential of intersecting circles using various border techniques that are evident in antique quilling, creating a piece which uses traditional quilling methods to produce a design which is unashamedly modern!

3. What is your current quilling work-in-progress?
I'm in desperate need of one!! My last project - the quilled fantasy octopus - occupied me for about six months, and was made as a competition entry for two events in 2015. Having just returned from The Quilling Guild's annual meeting at which it was most recently exhibited, I'm ready to start a new project but haven't yet decided what it's going to be. I feel lost without a current work-in-progress!

4. Where do you get your ideas for new projects?
From nature, architecture and other art forms. I tend to get a basic outline for an idea, start it, and then make it up/refine the detail as I go along! I am not a conventional quiller: I don't use patterns, and I'm not really into floral arrangements, cute characters or 'twee' images. My tendency is towards the abstract, and for that reason my work tends to be very different from 'mainstream' quilling art.

5. Do you have any special or long term goals for your quilling? (maybe win a prize at a craft fair, sell quilling online, create a particularly impressive piece, etc.)
I'm delighted to say that I have won several prizes over the years, not just with The Quilling Guild, but also at a major regional country show and a national Women's Institute competition. I don't sell at the market any more, as I wanted to free up my time for my growing involvement with the Guild and to tackle larger quilling projects. I love receiving commissions to create quilled pictures, and I have also had work on show in a local gallery which brought me a great deal of satisfaction. I enjoy doing workshops and demonstrations, and hope to do more of this, delivering activity sessions at outdoor events, in elderly care homes and at children's parties. I think, most of all, I would love to provide a student with one-on-one tuition, perhaps helping a promising youngster to develop creatively using quilling skills taught to Quilling Guild Accreditation standards.

6. How do you find and communicate with other quillers in the community?
The internet has always been my window on the quilling world, where my online persona is 'Quilliance'. In addition, of course, it is always wonderful to meet with fellow quillers face to face through Quilling Guild events. In the village where I live (in southern England), I became quite well known locally for my market activities, and people still come to me privately to commission work or book the occasional demonstration.

7. How long have you been a member of the Quilling Guild? What got you involved with the Guild?
I joined The Quilling Guild in 2010, having read about it first on the internet. At the time, the current Membership Secretary lived just a few miles from me, and invited me to participate in her local quilling group, which I still do to this day. Learning of my background in marketing and recognising my enthusiasm, she nominated me to join the Guild Committee, which I did in 2012. As a Committee member, I was keen to use my professional experience to help promote the Guild in order to try and attract new members in the internet age. I launched a private blog for Quilling Guild members, called 'Quilling Now!', which has proved to be very successful, and also re-vamped the Guild's website at In 2013, when the previous Editor moved on, I volunteered to take on the Editorship of the Guild's magazine, 'Quillers Today'. That same year, I succeeded in gaining Accreditation from the Guild in respect of my technical quilling skills.

8. Tell us more about editing "Quillers Today" - what interests you as an editor, and how can members best use and contribute to the magazine?
After a long break from writing, it has become an absolute joy for me to commission, edit and originate articles about a subject that I truly love. I can honestly say that being the Editor of 'Quillers Today' - a 32-page, full colour seasonal magazine - is "the best job that I never had"!! I keep my eyes open online to watch what is going on in the world of quilling, and never hesitate to approach Guild members and ask them if they would be willing to share information about what they are doing in the magazine. Mostly, they are delighted to oblige! Of course, I'm always happy to receive unsolicited material, too! My aim is to make it easy for people to contribute. Not everyone has the time or confidence to write articles themselves, so I just ask them to send me the basic facts about a project or activity in note form, together with some relevant photos, which I can then pull together into a magazine feature on their behalf. When people tell me that they like the combination of patterns, projects, news and features that I put together in the magazine, it really is music to my ears!

9. How do you stay current with new techniques and trends in quilling?
The Quilling Guild's annual 'Quill, Chat and Chill Days' provide a great forum for sharing and learning new techniques. I also keep a close eye on developments in the online quilling community via social media and people's blogs.

10. What one aspect of or technique in quilling do you really want to learn (or learn to do better)?
The quest for perfection is ongoing, especially in terms of achieving perfectly round and regular closed loose coils!

11. Do you have a blog/website/online gallery?
Yes, I have several links I can share with you:
My current blog:
My original blog:
Photos of my work on Flickr:
Quilliance on Facebook:
My quilling workshops and demonstrations:

Image Credit:  All images belong to

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Poinsettia Flower Ornament Revisited

As you know I posted the directions for my Poinsettia Flower Ornament here on the blog a few weeks ago.  (I had also created directions for my Halloween Sampler, and posted that up at Craftsy for a fee.)  It occurred to me that the directions for the simple poinsettia flower might be a nice thing to post for free, so that's what I did.

I am astonished to say that the Poinsettia Flower Instructions have been downloaded from Craftsy more than a hundred times already!  This means a couple of things to me - people really like free patterns (of course) but also, that there is a demand for really simple quilling patterns.  I am surprised, actually, but it has been ages since I was a beginner at quilling.  I'm having a little trouble imagining what it is like ... especially since there was no internet nor computers when I first started.  I learned all my material from books or from patterns I purchased.

These days, of course people are turning to the internet before anything else.  Why buy a potentially expensive book when you can download patterns for free, and get all your instructions on free videos from various sites?  Seems like a smart way to start and see if you like a craft before making more of an investment in time and money.

So I'll be thinking of ways to post other, small, free patterns and hope they are as useful and popular as the poinsettia!  I wish I had written down the directions for my candy cane when I made it.  I'll have to be more thorough when I make new pieces - someone else might want to make them, too!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Halloween Sampler - Projects #2 and #3

Here is the next installment of the Halloween Sampler Instructions!  This covers projects 2 and 3 (out of nine).  I've already posted the general instructions, the mat board cutting instructions, as well as project #1 and a bonus project!

First post -  Halloween Sampler
Second post - General Instructions and Mat board
Third post - Bonus Project and Project #1

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 #2: Frightening Ghost

- light grey, 9 strips at 6” long (body)
- light grey, 2 strips at 4” long (body)
- light grey, 1 strip at 10” long (head)
- light grey, 2 strips at 8” long (arms)
- black, 2 strips at 2” long (eyes) – 1/16” narrow strip
- black, 1 strip at 4” long (mouth) – 1/16” narrow strip
- grey, 4 strips at 6” long (fog)

Take the nine strips of light grey 6” long and make long diamond shapes. Take the two strips of light grey at 4” long and make two teardrops. Also make teardrops out of the two 8” long light grey strips, curving the teardrops slightly at the ends. Make another teardrop from the 10” long light grey strip. Glue these together as shown to form the ghost.

For the face, create three circles from the narrow black strips, and use the larger circle for the mouth. Glue these onto the ghost.

For the ‘fog’ use 4 strips of a slightly darker color of grey. Make very long “S” coils from each of these. Glue two of the “S” shapes together as shown for the lower border, and two other “S” shapes together for the side border. Glue these together where they touch.

The ‘fog’ is of course optional. If you are choosing to put your projects into the sampler, then you may want the fog to help ‘frame’ the projects. Each of the four projects in the corners of the mat board have an element that helps to frame them.

Glue these pieces into the mat board, right column bottom square.

Project #3: Jack-O-Lantern

- orange, 1 strip at 14” (large pumpkin)
- orange, 2 strips at 16” (large pumpkin)
- orange, 2 strips at 18” (large pumpkin)
- light brown, 1 strip at 4” (large stem)
- olive green, 1 strip at 3” (leaf)
- olive green, 1 strip at 2” (corkscrew vine)
- black, 2 strips at 4” long (eyes)
- black, 1 strip at 3” long (nose)
- black, 3 strips at 2.5” long (mouth)
- olive green, 2 strips 3” (leaves)
- olive green, 2 strips at 4” (leaves)
- olive green, 2 strips at 4” (vines)
- light brown, 1 strip at 2” (small stem)
- olive green, 1 strip at 1” (corkscrew vine)
- orange, 1 strip at 4” (small pumpkin)

The pumpkin is made of bright orange, five strips, one at 14", two at 16", and two at 18". Take the 14” strip and make an ‘eye’ shape. Take the other long orange strips and make crescent shapes. Glue the shorter crescents to the eye shape, and then glue the longer crescents to form the outside of the pumpkin, as shown.

The stem is light brown at 4" long, formed into an asymmetrical square shape. Make the leaf shape from the olive green 3" strip. Use a toothpick or quilling tool to help form the corkscrew vine from the 2" of olive green. The face is made of black strips, all triangles, with eyes of 4" long, nose 3", and three teeth at 2.5" each. Glue together as shown.

The vines are long “S” shapes, each 4" of olive green. Make all four leaves, and glue the smaller 3” leaves closer to the middle of the vines. Glue the longer 4” leaves to the ends of the vines.

The small pumpkin is a somewhat flattened circle made from one 4" bright orange, strip. It has a tiny square stem made from the 2" light brown strip, and a coil of 1" olive green.

As you see from the photo, the ‘vines’ and the small pumpkin are not attached, but are separately glued to the white background. The jack-o-lantern is framed nicely by the vines. Glue these pieces into the left column, into the square at the bottom left corner.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Book Review: Paper Quilling for the First Time

Paper Quilling for the First Time by Alli Bartkowski. Published by Sterling Publishing Company, 2006. 112 pages.

I rate it … very good!


See my post about book reviews for details about my review criteria and biases.

If I had an adult friend who was interested in learning quilling, this is probably the book I would get for them.  This book almost has it all, and what it does have is nicely photographed, well detailed and a pleasure to use.  I don't think I'd use it for a young person (projects are more functional rather than just fun), but I think the book is well suited for an adult.

What I liked:

This book is laid out a little differently than others, focusing on beginners and their questions.  Each section (such as Section 2, The Basics) is motivated by subheadings in the form of questions (such as How do I make a folded rose?).  This lends a relaxed feel to the book that I think would appeal to a beginner.  The quality of the quilling is very good throughout the book.  The tutorial shows examples of good and poor quilling, and what can cause problems.  All the necessary techniques are illustrated, and then some.  Pictures are plentiful, and instructions are clear.

What I liked less:

I really missed a history section, but you know my bias there - I just think a beginner's book needs some history.   I thought the projects got a little too difficult too quickly, but this is a minor point.  The projects were not as appealing to me as some other books, but given I'm not a beginner, the book isn't targeted to me.  I thought some of the projects needed more detailed line drawings of the actual patterns.  The gallery of projects at the back is nice, but I wanted more.  (I always do :)

Overall, I'd recommend this book for an adult beginner.  As a collector I'm glad to have it on my shelf, and there are a few tidbits here and there that help spark the imagination even of a seasoned quiller.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Halloween Sampler - First Projects

As promised, I'm going to post the instructions for my Quilled Halloween Sampler here on the blog.  This is the third post; time to get into the projects!

First post -  Halloween Sampler
Second post - General Instructions and Mat board

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.

BONUS Project:  Quilled Candy in Wrappers

- white, 6 strips at 4” long (wrapper)
- white, 3 strips at 8” long (candy)
- bright yellow, 1 strip at 8” long (candy)
- light red, 1 strip at 8” long (candy)
- purple, 1 strip at 8” long (candy)
- orange, 1 strip at 8” long (candy)
- black, 1 strip at 8” long (candy)

Here is an easy project to start off that’s not shown in the sampler – quilled candy in ‘wrappers.’  Start by stacking (right on top of each other, NOT end to end) the red, yellow, and white strips all at once.  The white strip should be on the ‘bottom.”  Roll the three strips up all at the same time.  The three colors swirl together as you roll them.  Make sure the white ends up on the ‘outside.’  Form a circle (the colored strips might need to be trimmed to hide them under the white.) 

Make two triangles with 4" of white paper each.  Curve one side.  Glue these with the curved side out, to either end of the circle.  Repeat with a stack of green/purple/white, and then a stack of orange/black/white.

Project #1:  Flying Bat

- black, 8 strips at 6” long (wings)
- black, 1 strip at 9” long (body)
- black, 2 strips at 2” long (ears)
- black, 3 strips – from ¾” long to 1.5” long (small bats)
- bright yellow, 1 strip at 10” long (moon)

First make eight circles with the 6" black strips.  Form these into triangles, but curve one side of each.  Glue these together as shown to form two wings. (Each wing has three triangles pointed ‘up’ and one pointed ‘down’.) 

For the body, take a 9" black strip and make a teardrop.  Take 2" black strips and form them into long triangles for the ears of the bat.  Glue the pieces together. 
Take three black strips that are from 3/4" to 1.5" and make "M" shapes (other bats).  Use a 10" strip of bright yellow in the form of a crescent to serve as the Moon.

Glue these pieces into the mat board – right side middle square.

Image Credit - My pix of my quilling, my designs

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Quilled Halloween Sampler - Starting the Directions

Empty mat board ready for quilling!
As promised in my first post on my Halloween Sampler, I'm going to post the instructions for the Sampler here on the blog.  It's a lot of material, so it will take several posts to get it all up.  No time like the present!

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.

Here's where it starts … General Instructions

The rest of the projects in the Sampler assume you have read and followed all of these instructions.

Overall, the level of this tutorial is “Beginner” with some elements that are “Intermediate.”  If you are a “Novice” (that is, if you have no experience with quilling) you will first need to find a book or online tutorial that shows you how to quill, and how to make all the standard shapes, such as roses, coils, off-center quills, and more.  Practice making these shapes and doing some basic projects to learn about how to use the materials, etc.  Then you can proceed to use these instructions.  These projects are listed in order of increasing difficulty.

Photographs are not to scale!  They are only for reference!  Some are close-ups and some are zoomed out!  They do not show the exact size of the intermediate or finished projects.  So do not print them out and quill over them!  Make the shapes as directed in the instructions, and glue them together in the ways shown in the pictures.  You can get an idea of the size by looking at the front cover (the image from the last post of the whole sampler).  Each of the boxes, including the black outline, is 3x3 inches tall and wide.  The black lining takes up ¼” on each side of the box, and the top and bottom.  So the white space inside each box is 2.5”x2.5” on each side.

This tutorial assumes you have access to a variety of colored quilling papers, (but feel free to make substitutions for color as you like when you go along).  When not stated, the width of the paper is the standard 1/8 of an inch.  Other papers used are 1/4 inch wide paper and 1/16” (inch) wide paper.  You will need scissors and white craft glue.  Tweezers and a quilling craft board with pins would be very helpful.  If you wish to make the mat-board for the whole sampler, you will need the materials listed in that section.

Length of Strips:
Remember as you are working through this project, and all the other projects, that the length of strips listed may not work perfectly for you.  Some people roll quills tighter or looser than others, and so need a bit more or less paper to get the same size in the final piece.  Also, some paper is thicker than other paper.  Be prepared to experiment to get the results you want.  Use the lengths of paper suggested as a guide that you can detour from whenever necessary.

Make and Use What You Like:
Some of the projects have additional pieces you can make, like the ghost has a swirled ‘fog,’ the vampire fangs have a thorny rose, and the pumpkins have coiled vines around them.  You can choose to make all the pieces and frame your sampler together, or just make the pieces you like and use them on cards, gifts, and whatnot!

Displaying Your Projects - Creating a Mat Board

- One piece 12”x12” cardstock, medium grey (top)
- One piece 12”x12” cardstock, white (bottom)
- Black quilling strips, 1/4" wide

As I mentioned, you can use these designs and motifs in a variety of ways. I decided to put all of mine into small 3x3 inch 'vignettes' and show them off together as a “sampler”. To do this, I purchased two pieces of good 12x12 inch cardstock, one in a medium grey (top layer) and the other in white (bottom layer).

I cut 3x3 inch holes in the grey cardstock, measuring a one-inch margin all around the outside, and a half-inch between each of the 'windows.' I glued the cardstock pieces together, and then lined the inside of each of the 3x3 inch windows with 1/4" width strips of black quilling paper so it would look like a double mat.

If you like, you can frame your project when it is complete. I suggest a shadowbox frame with at least ¾” of clearance between the background and the glass. The rose sticks out about that far, and you don’t want to squash it or any of the other elements that have relief.

I found a standard 12”x12” black shadowbox frame with an inch of depth inside, and used that.

Image Credit:  My pix of my mat boards, my design.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Ideas for Quilling - Designs and Motifs of Ancient Mexico

Books on designs and motifs.
As I mentioned in my post "Ideas and Inspiration for New Quilling" one of my sources for new ideas are books with designs and motifs around a given theme.  My theme for today is "Ancient Mexico."  In this case the motifs are from the native cultures of that part of North America.

The classic calendar - I'd love to
quill it, but just haven't
quite figured out how, yet.
I lived for 14 years in southern Arizona, and came to appreciate and enjoy a lot of the native art from both that part of the US and of Mexico.  I've always wanted to spend some time quilling some related art of my own, but just haven't focused on it yet.  There always seems to be something more pressing.  Still, I have the books as well as so many pictures taken during those years, and so I can't say I don't have quite a bit of inspiration right at hand.

A smaller motif perfect for
a quilling project.
At first I was concerned that all the designs would be too difficult.  The initial designs I encountered were very complex - like the Aztec calendar.  I thought designs like this were amazing, but I didn't want to quite commit to figuring out how to quill a highly involved scene (at least back then).  But as I looked, I eventually started finding smaller motifs, and began to find a bit more practical inspiration.

These native motifs are not quite the same as say Celtic ones, where you have a lot of ready made knots and spirals right there to follow.  Instead, these designs have other elements, such as dots, feathers, and plenty of curving shapes.  They are really perfect for quilling, just in a different way.  I'm planning to quill the motif above.  I can envision places for fringe, feathers, long coils of paper, and more.  Now I just have to figure out what all the colors should be :)  And I'm not giving up on quilling the calendar.  Just ... maybe not right now.

Image Credit:  My pix from my books.  They are:  Ancient Mexican Designs by Gregory Mirow, and Design Motifs of Ancient Mexico by Dover Clip Art.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Quilled Halloween Sampler

I've been considering making a sampler of quilled Halloween projects for a long time.  I love Halloween, and often use small designs and motifs on place cards, tags, ornaments, wall art, and more.  I've never bothered to actually write down any of my designs before - so they come out differently every year, AND I have to spend extra time and paper trying to figure out what I did the last time around :)

So this year I spent the time and effort to record all my paper widths, lengths, and shapes as I worked.  I also took a few pictures of the intermediate stages as I went along.  I realized when I was close to finished that I might not be the only person who would like to use the directions.  So to make up some of the resources I used, and to cover some of the time (it took a loooong time to write this up), I decided to post all the instructions for a fee over at Craftsy.  So if you are in immediate need of some ideas for Halloween, look no further!  You can download all 16 pages of Halloween packed PDF for $3.99.

OR if you can wait, and don't have the extra $$, then keep your eyes here on the blog.  I'm going to post all the instructions in pieces right here between now and Halloween!

Here's the blurb from over at Craftsy:

The Quilled Halloween Sampler Instructions will tell you how to make nine different small Halloween themed projects (plus a bonus project!). The 16 pages are packed with pictures and ample details of paper quilling for you to recreate the sampler, or use it to come up with your own scary ideas!

These spooky designs can be used together to form a framed Halloween sampler group, or they can be used separately on greeting cards, gift tags, place settings, ornaments, wall art, or in whatever way suits your fancy! You can be creative and detour from the exact directions whenever it suits you and your project needs.

Some of the projects are very quick, while others are a little more involved, so you can fit the projects to the time you have available. Most of the designs are suitable for someone who knows the basics of paper quilling (beginner), while a few others are suitable for an intermediate level of quiller.

Most of the designs and motifs will be familiar, like bats and pumpkins, while others will be more unusual, like vampire fangs and skeleton keys. Let your creepy side out and enjoy some Halloween fun with the Quilled Halloween Sampler!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Book Review: Quilled Borders and Motifs

Quilled Borders & Motifs by Judy Cardinal.  Published by Search Press, 2008.  48 pages.

I rate it ... good!


See my post about book reviews for details about my review criteria and biases.

This is a sturdy little (48 page) quilling book that introduces a host of small designs in many themes (i.e. baby, wedding, holiday) for use in a variety of situations (i.e. cards, frames, ornaments).  I do not have a long review for this book - regrettably, as I'll note later, the publisher made a bad decision in reproducing much of the content within another book.

What I liked:
The huge variety of little projects and designs that can be used alone or together to make wall art, greeting cards, frames for invitations and announcements, and so much more.  I think this would be a good book to show to children to get their ideas flowing.

What I liked less:
As noted, the publisher made a bad decision (in my opinion) and included ALL of the motif section inside of another book (Beautiful Quilling Step-By-Step, which I'll review another time.  It has material from several books, in fact.)  This decision by Search Press makes me nervous when looking at any of their books.  I have to ask myself, "Do I already own this in another form?".  The work is reprinted exactly, page for page, materially damaging the usefulness of both books.  It's a shame since it robs each book of originality and usefulness.  Another issue with the book is the uncertain quality of the quilling - for example, the quilled heart within the tutorial on page 14 shows uneven tension (visible in several of the projects in the book, as well.)  The book has few actual patterns for the designs, making more difficult for beginners, and a bit less intuitive, I think.

As a collector of quilling books, I am happy to have it in my collection.  But for the current going price of $10 or so, I'd probably go for the larger Beautiful Quilling book instead of this one, were I choosing between the two.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Quilled Holiday Ornaments for the Charity Project

In the end I quilled three ornaments for the "Quilled Ornament Charity Project" (even though when I made the poinsettia, I said I'd only make two).  I knew from the beginning that I didn't want to make snowflakes, since I am assuming Carie is going to get sent a ton of snowflakes.  So I concentrated on other designs that I thought would look good in a green tree.

The candy cane idea came to me as I was considering how I could use white paper for something other than snow.  I made the entire candy cane out of white, and then for the stripes, I just wound one long red strip around the piece and glued the ends down.  To add some interest, I embellished with a sprig of holly.  The star is made only from triangles, circles and eye shapes in white and yellow.  Hopefully it doesn't look too much like a snowflake :)  I didn't want to make it solid yellow, though, since I thought that would been a little boring to look at ...

So off they go to their new home, to be placed on a tree and auctioned off for charity.  Remember that the deadline for ornaments is October 15!  There is still plenty of time to quill a piece or two and send it off.  Shipping is cheap because they hardly weigh anything at all :)

Image Credit:  My pic of my own ornaments.  Designed by me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Work in Progress - Dragon, Update Three, Final!

My dragon is finished (as of August 27th)!  I was able to get him matted and framed under glass.  It took a decent shadow-box style frame, (10"x10" with an inch of clearance) since the dragon is about 3/4" of an inch thick.

Dragon has been entered in a CONTEST!  Please VOTE for him!  He is project #14 on facebook at Little Circles at  All you need to do to vote is to 'like' the dragon.  Voting only goes on for a few days, September 2-4, 2015 so please skip on over there soon!  Check out the competition, it's pretty fierce.  Some beautiful pieces of quilling!  If dragon gets enough votes to get into the top ten, he goes on to the next round of judging!

Gorgeous dragon face!
So, since the last update, I finished up the three missing legs, and then started on what I knew was going to be the hardest part - the face.  I spent a lot of time planning out exactly how I was going to make each quill for the eyes, nose, teeth, and then the embellishments like the crown of 'fire' and the whiskers.

It was in the face and crown that I strayed the furthest from my colored line art.  The crown is formed from layered curls instead of wisps of colored paper.  I liked this look better - it was lacy and seemed more substantial than what the line art might have called for.  Also the eye and the area around it should have had some blue and green, but I chose to keep the color scheme consistent with orange, so it would grade nicely into the 'fire.'

Side shot of dragon, showing his dimensional nature
The body, face, and tail are all on different levels
and so dragon is almost 3/4 of an inch thick.
I made about two dozen teeth trying to get the exact shapes and sizes that I wanted to fit nicely into the mouth.  The whiskers took an hour on their own, as I searched for just the perfect shade color, and experimented with different techniques for the shapes.  I made several eyes of different shapes, as well.  Some made my dragon look like he'd had too much coffee!  The final choice has him looking forward, and he seems much less startled :)

Then, with all the pieces in hand, I finished them up with spray and proceeded to glue them together.  This step also took a long time, since this dragon is very dimensional.  It is assembled in four different levels.  I had to place pegs onto the back of some of the levels to support them, with a few pegs doubled up to give them enough height.  Then I glued the lower half of the body to the top, and he was finished!

And now he is to be shipped off to his forever home!  It is always bitter-sweet to say goodbye to a project, since I get so attached to them.  But as usual, when I have in mind to give a project away, it never feels right until that person has received the gift.  Then ... well ... next project!

Image Credit:  My pix of my dragon!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Quilled Lotus Flower Earrings with Pearls

Of course, while I was supposed to be working on dragon, I was instead taking breaks to quill other things.  I always find myself doing this ... I just can't stay focused on a single craft project at one time.  I always have multiple projects in the works.  I'm going to chalk it up to my ADD, which certainly helps one be creative, but can interfere with staying on task sometimes.

Anyway, I got the urge to make lotus flowers, even though I've never done it before.  I have a lot of books on meditation, many of them with different depictions of lotus flowers on the cover.  I decided to do something simple, and used a five petal design to mimic the flower.  To add some depth to them I used pearlized paper in two colors for each of the petals.  So the colors are white/grey, blue/green, and pink/lilac.  You can see the colors better in the inset images.

The pearl paper gave me the idea of making earrings using Swarovski pearls.  I make a lot of gemstone jewelry, and this seemed like a perfect way to use the flowers.  Except for that post I wrote earlier where I said I don't like to make quilled jewelry.  Well, I'm eating my words, here.

So I added an open circle to the bottom of each flower and used that to attach color coordinated Swarovski pearls in pink, purple, and white.  All the findings are silver or silver toned.  I really like the way they came out, very light and graceful.  I used a great deal of acrylic spray on them, hoping they will be able to stand up to some wear.  Now I just have to choose which pair I'm going to keep and which I'm giving away.

Image Credit:  My pix of my own quilling work, designs by me.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Work in Progress - Dragon, Update Two

A view of dragon from the last
update - neck filled in.
As I blogged previously, my current "large" project is a dragon. I've been working on it and then putting it off and quilling other things (iterate) for quite some time now, but it is beginning to come together. Here's another update on dragon's status.

Lower half of body with
red and blue outline on the
upper half, and orange spines.
I had filled in the neck and then used the yellow underbelly quills to help me guide filling in the first half of the body.  It was tricky, since I was stubbornly holding to the idea that I wanted all the green teardrop shapes to be the same size (more or less) and point the same way.  So getting around the curves took some planning and a bit of forming (and shoving) of the quills into place.

Then I noted that my drawing had outlines of both red and blue.  So using single strips I lined the upper side of the body.  The effect is subtle, not thick like in the line drawing, but I think it works just fine.  You can see this effect better in the second picture, where the lower half of the body is completed.

Dragon foot!  With claws!
The spines were really a pain. As in the line drawing, I wanted them to be orange with blue on the outside, just as I had colored them in.  So I glued strips of orange and blue together and started rolling.  Each of the spines is a different size, and is curved in its own unique way.  So there was no other method to follow but to keep experimenting with different lengths of strips, rolling them up and seeing if they could be made to fit any of the spines.  I started to get a feel for it after a while, and ended up making all the spines at once, and holding them aside for use as I made each body part later.

Two thirds of a dragon -
just needs three more legs
and of course a face :)
After that, the end bit of the tail was pretty straightforward, lining up green teardrop quills, and then lining the piece with blue and red.  The next tricky part was the foot.  How was I going to quill the feet?  Fill them in with tight circles?  I just didn't like the idea.  Seemed too 'heavy.'  I wanted something more lacy and more stylized.  Eventually I realized what I really wanted was something simple, and used open circles for the whole foot, and then tiny little teardrops for the claws.

Next update for dragon will hopefully show the finished piece!  I'm working just ahead of when these updates are posting, and so am pushing to have dragon all done by the end of the month.  And maybe, just maybe, dragon will be submitted to a contest ...

Image Credit:  My pix of my dragon.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Artist Interview: EverAfter Artisanry

Today's interview is with the talented force behind EverAfter Artisanry.  These lovely wire and bead flowers are her work, and she has agreed to share her projects, ideas, history, and more! 

When did you get interested in wire/beading art, and how did you learn? (books, youtube, other artists, etc.)

I was first interested in the aesthetic of wire-wrapped jewelry a very long time ago, probably over a decade ago, but it wasn't until the last few years that I actually thought I could attempt to do it myself. Probably I started first working with wire in a hobby way about three years ago. I would wrap large crystals with wire to turn them into Christmas ornaments and give them to friends as gifts. Around a similar time I was separately learning some beading techniques, just using plastic beads and elastic cords, as there was a stretch of time when I was going to raves and making what they call 'kandi', which is the word for the large colourful bracelets that a lot of kids wear at those parties. I learned some basic beading techniques from my friends at what we called 'kandi sessions', where we would go to someones house, sit around, and make those bracelets. At some point along the way I became interested in beaded embroidery, to embellish fabrics. Two years ago was the first time online that I saw a picture of a 3d beaded flower. I was looking for 2d flower patterns/techniques to bead flat onto fabric, but seeing these 3d ones fascinated me. I did a lot of learning through looking around for free articles on the web, and from watching youtube videos. When I am developing my own patterns for beaded flowers I will hunt around on the internet for articles regarding how to make those kins of flowers out of paper, and then adapt it to make the same shapes from my wire. Sitting down and just practicing has been essential to learning. Finding wire that is thin enough to get the seed beads onto, and strong enough to hold shape, using different gauges for different purposes, has been a trick of experimentation. I made my first bouquet at the end of last year/beginning of this year. I have made eight bouquets in total now, and I learn more each time.

What is your favorite project that you have made?

I would say that this piece is my favourite one, as it stands:…  I am one of those artists that tends to dislike their older work as mistakes become more apparent or I prefer my newer techniques, and, I think in many ways some of my newer pieces are better than this one, but, this is my favourite. I spent a good bit of time designing it through sketches after looking at calla lilly bouquets on pinterest, I was throughtful about my choice of colours as well. In this one, I also taught myself how to make calla lillies without a pattern, and I just have not done anything else on this scale. Its so large!

What do you like best about wire and beading art?

I think its a very expressive medium, though to be honest most forms of art have a wide range of expressive capacity. Honestly, the thing that I like best about it might just be that I seem to have some talent and that I authentically think I am producing good and creative work. I've messed around with other mediums, but, I think the stuff I'm doing at the moment is really bringing my skills together. I like a sense of accomplishing something.

Where do you get your ideas for new projects?

Well, I'll take inspiration at the moment by looking at bouquets using real flowers. There are a number of classic bouquet types, such as circle bouquets, cascading bouquets, even sheath bouquets. I have not made a sheath bouquet yet! I want to be able to create varied arrangements of flowers, arrangements in different sizes and different shapes, conveying different moods - so I'll find inspiration by trying to widen my portfolio, essentially. I also look into wedding trends, what flowers, colours, styles and shapes are popular. There is a website called Style Me Pretty that always posts the most beautiful floral designs, so, I find that very inspiring to look at.

What makes your projects different from other people's?

Well, in the scheme of things, there aren't actually all that many people who seem to make whole bouquets out of seed beads and wire, so, being in an area with so few artists working in the medium makes it easier to stand out, I think. I'm relatively new to this area, as I said earlier, I have only made eight bouquets - but I think my research into floral design helps me to create unique designs. Also I don't work from other peoples patterns, I develop my own. I don't do that by looking at other beaded versions of the flowers I am trying to produce, I'll do it by looking at the actual flowers themselves, and my looking into construction techniques for flowers in other mediums such as paper - to help me get realistic shapes. I think that kind of innovation might help me to stand out as well. At the moment I am really focusing on providing a wide range of colours/sizes and shapes, but into the future I think one thing that will help me stand out is I pay attention to fashion trends. I'm the sort of person who keeps up with couture runway designers, so, I think taking influence from couture catwalk trends will also help my work have a little something different.

How do you stay current with new techniques and trends in wire and beading?

To be completely honest, while I do produce good work (I feel) - in many ways I feel that I have a lot of 'mastering the basics' to go, when it comes to techniques. I'm not on the cutting edge of wire-work or beading techniques, not at all! I'm starting to get better and have subscribed to some mailing lists for beading websites, but this is an area I don't feel on top of, to be honest!

Do you have any special or long term goals for your art? A contest, or major project, or producing a certain number of type of pieces, or some such?

Well, I am an aspiring professional. The proper long term goal would be to sustain myself doing this, as my full time job. Shorter goals to get me to that point are going to include coming up with reproducible jewelry lines for sale. Also I've got some special projects lined up in the form of some planned styled photoshoots. I want to make matching jewelry and accessories for some of my bouquets, and have some photoshoots with models. One of these major projects involves making an embellished black veil, jewelry and bouquet for a gothic photoshoot. I'm going to incorporate swarovski crystal skulls into the bouquet, I think thats going to be something special.

Is there one aspect or technique about your art that you really want to learn?

I want to get much better at basic beadweaving techiques. In the future I also want to get into glass blowing and glass work, so that I can make my own beads, and so that I can incorporate my own glass flowers into my bouquets. I think that could be really special.

Where can people go to view/buy your art, and do you take commissions/do custom work?

I'm really only in the setup phase of turning this into a professional gig, and, I have not opened a shop yet or started selling my work yet. I want to come up with a jewelry collection before opening up some sort of shop. That said, I would absolutely love to work on custom bouquet projects, so if anyone is interested, then contacting me through facebook to arrange talking more would be fantastic.

My art can be viewed in the following spaces:

Many thanks to EverAfter Artisanry for agreeing to be interviewed!  If you'd like to be interviewed, leave a comment on this or another post!

Image Credit:  All images credit EverAfter Artisanry.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Review: The Book of Paper Quilling

The Book of Paper Quilling - Techniques and Projects for Paper Filigree by Melinda Johnston.  Published by the Sterling Publishing Company, 1994.  144 pages.

I rate it ... excellent!

4.9 / 5.0

See my post about book reviews for details about my review criteria and biases.

Next to the last book I reviewed (Paper Art for Everyone) this is probably my favorite.  Or at least one of my favorites :)  It is one of the first of what I'd consider to be the "modern" breed of quilling books.  I have in my mind this idea that the "traditional" quilling books/kits/patterns were published in the 70's and 80's, and the "modern" quilling books generally in the 90's until today.  And there are other quilling books that I consider sort of "post-modern."  I call these "innovative."  These offer really new looks at techniques and projects (like typography, illustration, cross-cultural, and impressionistic work). 

Anyway, with that in mind, this is an excellent modern quilling book.

The book begins with a brief history of quilling, and then moves into the introductory/tutorial section.  The bulk of the subsequent pages are spent on projects and patterns, followed up by a gallery of wonderful quilled pieces.  Really, this is sort of my ideal outline for a "working" quilling book.

What I like:
First of all, the quality of the quilling the book is invariably high.  All the pieces are uniform, created with even tension and have a nice, even, lacy quality.  There are very small, regular center holes to each of the pieces.  The history section is accompanied by images of period quilling pieces, and the accompanying text includes several references, although more would have been welcome.  The "getting started" section is very well constructed, including showing how different paper widths effect the finished quill.  The "menu" of quilled shapes is comprehensive, and high quality.  Techniques include looping, husking, and weaving.  The bulk of the book, as noted, is filled with interesting patterns, each with detailed instructions.  Patterns include: wall art, wreaths, miniatures, ornaments, eggs, borders, gift tags, cards, magnets, coasters, baskets, jewelry, hats, and an incredible chess board with pieces.  At the end there are even simple motifs for kids to quill.  The gallery includes abstract quill art, as well as impressive, more traditional pieces.

What I like less:
Honestly, just the history section.  It needs a touch more of a scholarly approach with more citations and references for information.  That's it, really.

So if you like quilling, this is a must have, as far as I'm concerned.  And if you don't have it yet, you can get it used for less than $3.  With 144 pages of great quilling, it's a total steal.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Work In Progress - Dragon, Update One

My favorite wood handle
quilling tool and a few pieces
of the latest project.
I'm always in the middle of some relatively big quilling project.  It's usually something I'm creating for a gift, and so I want to do something really nice.  So I'll start the project, but will still quill other, smaller things when I need a change of pace, (or just a break from doing the same color over and over if filling in a large space.)

Pick a nice permission-free
book of designs.
At the moment, my 'big project' work in progress (WIP) is a dragon.  I've been wanting to quill a dragon for a long, long time, but didn't find any patterns.  I finally realized I was going to have to get clever, and find a drawing of a dragon both that I liked, and that could be expressed well with quilling.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, design and motif books are a great source of ideas.  I bought a motif book about dragons that was specifically permission-free, so I could do as I liked with the design and the finished product.  I spent a long while flipping through the book and trying to make a decision.  My friend likes designs with Asian elements, so I chose to narrow the search to Asian dragons.  And then I spotted a good one.  It was too small for what I wanted, but my copier cured that by expanding the image several hundred percent.

Dragon colored in with pencils.
Size of the dragon can be seen
using my grid, four
squares to the inch.
With my pattern in hand, the next issue was color.  I made several copies of my pattern, and then used my colored pencils to try different color schemes.  It didn't take me long to hit on one I really liked, with a neon/lime green for the body, yellow for the underbelly and face, and then a host of other colors like orange and blue for the spines, and purple for the claws.

I was pleased with the result, and figured that this had some great elements to express in quilling.  The only concern I had (and have) is the face.  Haven't gotten that far (yet).  Note that an arm and a leg are behind the main body, and that the tail is also flipped up to be up above part of the body and the lower part of the tail.  I wanted to quill this difference - make the dragon dimensional.  So I had to plan ahead which pieces needed to be quilled and then glued in what order.

Then came the fun part of just experimenting.  I didn't know what size paper I needed, so simply dug through the huge box of spare paper (that I'm sure every quiller has) found some stuff I had a lot of, and used that to figure out what size paper I was going to need to get a given size shape.  I figured the scales would be best expressed with teardrop shapes, and the underbelly, well, I just started following the lines.  As soon as I knew I had a good, repeatable size and form, I switched to the bright green (that I don't have a ton of) and the bright yellow, and started quilling away.  I immediately liked the effect, and was encouraged!  I'm always worried when I start a big project - will it "work" or just not look right.  I'm pretty sure the body of the dragon, at least is going to look just fine.

Image Credit:  My pix of my quilling, and a line art from the book Dragons - A Book of Designs, by Marty Noble.  Dragon line drawing is specifically free for use.  BUT my quilled version of the dragon is my own design, and I hold the copyright for that.