Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Arts and Crafts Color Inspiration - Pantone Spring 2016

A bright quilled flower made using the colors
from Pantone's Spring 2016 palette.  Some
of my color matches are better than others ...
I always have my eyes out for inspiration for my various arts and crafts - I'm sure you do too.  Especially in dreary wintertime, I look to bright spring colors to give my work some needed lift and pop.  And to just lift my mood, in general.

So every year I take a look at the Pantone seasonal colors to see what inspiration I can draw for shades I don't often use, or for color combinations I don't usually consider.  They say that their colors this year "focus on a desire to breathe and reflect, then play" which sounds pretty good to me.

This spring's colors have some unusual shades in them.  I know this because I had a really difficult time creating my quilled flower, here.  My quilled flower is made from my best attempt at matching the Spring 2016 colors from paper I already had in my 'extras' box.

The color names are as follows:  Rose Quartz, Peach Echo, Serenity, Snorkel Blue, Buttercup, Limpet Shell, Lilac Grey, Fiesta, Iced Coffee, and Green Flash.  I was able to find very good matches for the first four colors on the list in my piles of paper.  I use a lot of blue shades, so I expected to have these on hand.  I was more surprised that I had an appropriate peach shade, although not much of it.  This is a very different color for me, I rarely work in any orange shades at all.  But I have a few collections of 'country colors' that have this shade.  The yellow was difficult.  This pantone color has a hint of orange that my yellows don't have.  It makes it tough to match. 

Color swatches for Pantone's Spring 2016 colors.
Tougher was the Limpet Shell color.  I figured I'd have plenty of this sort of washed turquoise shade.  I was wrong.  Maybe I have used it all up, since I love this color.  In the end, I had to use a related blue shade, which didn't match too well.  Again, I was surprised to find I had the two neutrals, the Lilac Grey and Iced Coffee easily matched.  I don't work much in neutrals, and I think I had a lot of extra paper from old kits in these colors that I simply never took a second look at.  The Fiesta color, again, was a shade I just didn't quite have.  This orange-red is rather unique, and I had to make due with a happy red shade.  I also had trouble with the yellowish fern green of the Green Flash color.  I had a lot of green shades, but none were quite right.  Had to wing it.

The combinations that I'm thinking of are the Rose and Peach shades - nice flowers.  I like the neutral Lilac Grey color thinking of stones, and might match it with the Iced Coffee and Green Flash, that make me think of soil and growing things.  The blues like Snorkel and Limpet naturally bring to mind the sea, and seashells.  A lot of inspiration in this Spring's lineup of color!

Image Credits:  My pic of my flower, and Pantone's 2016 Color Swatches from their site.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Herb Sampler after Twenty Three Years

First pattern of twelve - Lemon Balm
As the title notes, I've had my kit for Malinda Johnston's "Herb Sampler" since the darn thing came out - 1993 I think.  Since that time I've fully intended to start (and then complete) the kit.  I've already done the Berry Sampler (completed in 1994).  I want to get the Herb Sampler framed in the same way, and hang them together in the kitchen.  Right now the Berry Sampler is quite lonely in there (and has been for twenty two years ...)

So this is the current '"Work in Progress" WIP as far as quilling goes.  I cracked open the kit and started work.  First of all it is interesting to feel the difference in papers between now and then.  Modern papers, at least in my experience, have a pretty consistent feel regardless of color.  But back then, papers seemed to vary pretty widely in texture depending on the color.  I don't know if that was an actual difference in the paper itself used for each color, or if the dye process changed the texture.  But it is pretty obvious when you run your fingertips over the strands of paper.

My framed Berry Sampler
The second thing ... It's been a long while since I've worked exclusively with very narrow width paper.  This stuff is a shade more narrow than 1/16".  Quite narrow.  And my fingers and hands are rather a bit more stiff than they used to be.  I used to love narrow paper for the lightweight, lacy effect.  I worked with it as much as standard 1/8" paper when I was a kid.  Well the years have made quite a difference, there.

Lastly, I'll mention it's fun to work from a kit again.  My last project was of my own design, and so each and every piece was unique, won't be repeated.  All my color and paper length decisions were made as I went along, along with part of the design.  It made the quilling very slow going, trying experiments (that often didn't work the first time through) and new techniques.  It was fun, yes, but sometimes frustrating.  A kit might be boring for some, given you just follow the lines, but it is a welcome break from the detailed process of design.  At least for the moment. 

I'll post some more updates as I go!

Image Credit - My pic of my own work, pattern Melinda Johnston 1993.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Making Jewelry - A New Phase

Beads!  Feldspar, Aquamarine, Jasper and Lapis Lazuli.
I decided to start tackling a very hard and emotional job today.  It seems a good thing to do while snowed in from Snowzilla / Snowmageddon.  The job is to start going through all the inventory from my on-hiatus jewelry business, and deciding what to do with it.

Although "on hiatus" is not really accurate ... the business, as a business, is closed.

I started making jewelry as a hobby, and like so many, my hopes expanded to selling the best pieces online and at craft fairs.  More than anything I wanted to *share* what I had created.  But making quality jewelry is expensive, and the best way to make sure I had enough money to buy supplies was to see if I could sell some of my pieces and turn enough of a profit to make more jewelry.  I was encouraged by supportive family members to try a business. 

One of the sets I made with sterling
silver, Swarovski crystal, pearl,
blue chalcedony, and jasper.
And for a few years, it worked, if only just.  It was always a small business, barely scraping by, but it allowed me to create some lovely things, and I hope, make their owners very happy.  But, things have changed.  This was originally a two-person business, and my partner has moved on to other callings and endeavors.  The business was never really set up to be something just one person could handle.  So I'm going to take the business, such as it is, into its next "phase."  I'd rather say that then to imagine my beloved business completely coming to an end.  But pretty soon I'm going to have to face facts.  The business license has not been renewed, and I doubt the Etsy store will ever have cause to reopen. 

I am not up to the stress of dealing with all the paperwork, shipping, craft shows, and such, alone, as well as dealing with all the aspects of supply / design / create.  So I need to dramatically pare down the inventory and obligations into something I can manage on my own.  I still hope to create jewelry for friends, gifts, and maybe a bit of custom work.  But it won't be a business anymore - instead, it is going back to being a hobby.

A mug with the store
logo - Lunar Blue Designs.
So, back to the sorting through stuff.  My partner sent me all of her supplies - boxes and boxes of stuff - including loose beads, earring holders, display table linens, findings, cords, and so much more.  I need to decide what to do with it all.  All of my inventory, and all of hers, needs to be sorted through, and I need to decide what I'm still going to use for occasional jewelry making, what I'm going to sell off, and what I'm going to have to give away.  Then I have to go through packing it all up, getting auctions listed for all the lots, and then shipping it all off.

Many people have had to do this, of course.  Still, I'm very sad about it.  Seeing part of your past come to a close, something that was a creative endeavor close to your heart, is tough.  But I'm trying to be as positive as I can.  I will still be making jewelry when I can find a bit of time to do so.  And years of working in a business has really 'upped my game.'  My pieces are professionally made and of the highest quality.  I am proud of my work.

It has also opened some doors to combine my hobbies of quilling and jewelry into gemstone and paper creations.  I hope to explore more "quilled jewelry" designs and possibilities as time goes on.

And if you are a beaded gemstone jeweler too, you might make out with quite a deal!  After I get through the inventory I'll be posting a number of large lots for sale on Ebay.  So if you are looking for beads at basement prices, it will be something really worth checking out!

Well, back to the piles o stuff!  They ain't gonna sort themselves ... to bad about that :)

Image Credits:  All my pix of all my stuffs

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Love Takes Shape - The USPS Heart Quilling Stamp!

The beautiful new quilled "Love" stamp!
A week ago today the US Postal Service unveiled the next Love stamp - I'm sure you've seen a million pictures of it by now, but I couldn't resist blogging about it myself.  I 'love' both stamps and quilling, and to see them together is really so much fun.

I've been collecting stamps, mostly space and astronomy related stamps, since I was a kid.  My collection is piecemeal, and not something I"ve taken very seriously.  But my walls have two other sets of commemorative stamps on them so far - one celebrating the landing of the Pathfinder spacecraft on Mars, and the other celebrating Sonoran desert life.  And now there will be a third!

This is the 44th stamp in the USPS "Love" series.  It was unveiled on January 12th at Dallas Love Field in Texas.  The artist of the original work is, not surprisingly, Yulia Brodskaya, the ever talented.

At their 'about' site, the USPS quotes Postal Service Corporate Communications Vice President Janice Walker - “Our beautiful Quilled Paper Heart Forever Love stamp evokes tranquility, peace and love as Americans correspond with beloved friends and family while away from home."
I want to know more about how the USPS got the idea for a quilling stamp in their "Love" series.  I wonder who initiated all of this, and what the real story is!  I wonder how long the design took, an how much direction came from USPS, and how much Yulia was free to choose what she felt she wanted to do.

I am so thrilled to think of all the people who have never experienced quilling, getting this stamp as their first exposure.  It is a great way to catch people's interest, and get them thinking ... what is this 'new' thing, and how can I do it, too?

You can find commemorative products related to this stamp here.  I've asked for the framed commemorative piece for Valentine's day!  Looking forward to seeing it on my wall.

Image Credits:  All images are from the USPS.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Getting Into the Swing Again!

Blue Flowers - What I do when I
don't know what to quill ...
After almost three months of being too swamped with chronic illness and general life craziness to be able to quill or blog, I'm finally back into it!  Thanks for sticking with me through my hiatus at the end of last year.

I returned, and after much digging through email, I found an email from another quiller asking me to change the name of my blog.  I considered this very carefully, and decided it was the most appropriate thing to do.

So here we are at the new blog site, Stories, Stones, and Spirals!  I hope you like it here, and choose to follow the blog.  I still have a lot of work to do, changing all the pointers at DeviantArt and Craftsy to point to the new blog.  I'm kind of dreading going through my DD account, because I know I've missed so much!  I hate it when life/illness or whatever keeps me away from my blogs and favorite sites for an extended period of time.  Getting back into it can be so painful.

I hope all your projects have been going well!  I'm always looking to brighten my day with beautiful quilling, so if you have a blog or twitter account you think I should follow, let me know!

Happy Quilling!