Monday, August 29, 2016

Quilling Supplies: Little Circles

I put in a few orders recently to various suppliers to bump up my quilling inventory (including adding some books to my collection).  My Little Circles order arrived not a moment too soon, as they say!

I realized pretty quickly that I had not ordered enough paper for my quilled Moon, and put an order in for the two colors I was sure to run out of, the colors for the mare (Feathered Fedora) and the highlands (Fish Scales).  I also decided I'd do a bit of a review of Little Circles Paper in the future - like I did with Quilled Creations earlier this month.  So I put an order in for the paper sampler so I could play with it and add that knowledge to my review.  I also just love to have gorgeous rainbow samplers in my supplies.  So pretty.

I was curious about their new line of paper, 'On Edge.'  This is heavier weight paper, like card stock, that is designed to be used for outlining.  Outlining and paper line art has become very popular, especially for outlining letters in typography style pieces.  So I thought I'd give it a shot and see how it worked.  I bought one pack of the white 'On Edge' to play around with.  Plus I bought some tools - these are bamboo 'dowels' of various diameters that can be used in a variety of ways.  I've purchased them to help me make flower petals and such.  Last, there was a nice variety pack of extra paper added to the shipment as a free bonus.  Nice!

Keep your eyes on the blog for my upcoming review of how the Little Circles paper worked out for me.

Image Credit - My picture of my new quilling stuff from Little Circles. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Quilling the Moon: Beginning the Design

Deep breath - start quilling.
As noted in my previous post on the topic, I made a few decisions, like size and color choices, about my Moon.  And then started in ... with more thinking ...

Experiment with some circles,
add some rays to craters.
Armed with only four colors, I considered the Moon.  How would the design look?  Too many options.  I tried a few things, big swirls say, which did not work because there just wasn't enough detail.  Teardrop shapes.  Also did not work because there are too many really small circular features I couldn't depict that way.  I considered the fact that I study impact craters as a scientist, and then I made my choice.  Circles.  Tiny circles.  I'd do the whole thing in circles - not all the same size, since that would look too mechanical, and maybe too much like cross stitch or something.  Nope, I'd vary the size but have no circles with paper longer than about 4.5 inches.  And since I roll my paper pretty tight, that's a small circle.  Most of the Moon would be done with paper in the 2 inch length zone.

Tycho and the Southern Highlands
begin to take shape.
Right.  I also decided I wanted a subtle 'ray' effect for those craters that had rays.  After all, Tycho (the big light splash of a crater in the southern part of the Moon) would just not look the same without rays.  So I started out, putting up a few strips on their side to be the outline of the Moon, and the rays.  Then I started with Tycho, filling in just around the ejecta blanket of the crater in bright white, and out a bit into the highlands with the very light ivory and then some of the medium grey.  I liked the look, thank heavens, and so was inspired to keep on going!

Image Credits:  My pictures of my own quilling, my design.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Quilling the Moon: Starting Considerations

Beautiful full Moon - must quill.
I've been telling myself for many, many years that I should quill the Moon in some fashion or other.  The Moon is one of my very favorite objects - I am a lunar scientist after all, and have been studying the surface of that world since I started college thirty years ago.  Thirty years is a long time to have a Moon fixation, be a quiller, and not quill the Moon.

My motivation for doing this now is mostly to have a piece to display at an upcoming science conference in October that has a small space art exhibit associated with it.  And in addition, there is a yearly competition over at Little Circles for quilling that I'm planning to enter this into, as well.

So even though I am not quite finished with my herb sampler from earlier in the year, I am plowing into another project anyway.  Well, plowing might be a strong word.  The first things I'm doing are: taking a good look at a lot of data from the Moon, buying a bunch of grey paper, and pondering what the heck to do with it.

One of the big things I'm fighting as I make this Moon thingy is my need for scientific accuracy.  I have to balance this against design and artistic needs.  This isn't a photograph I'm making after all, this is a quilled piece whose purpose is to evoke the Moon in more of an emotional fashion.  But one can't just turn off being a scientist, so that tension is informing the entire piece.

I found a picture of the Moon that I liked from my many NASA interests, and chose to blow it up to about eight inches in diameter.  I wanted to make it small enough that I'd actually complete it before a decade went by, but big enough that I could portray the craters in enough detail for my scientific perfectionism.

Paper strips, 1/4" in shades of grey.
After doing that, I bought a pile of grey paper.  I'd never bought paper from Little Circles before, so I chose to buy all these colors from their Culture Pop quilling paper line.  I'll talk more about using Culture Pop specifically in another post.  The colors, from pitch black to bright white are:  Velvety Darkness, Feathered Fedora, Steel Guitar, Bottlenose Dolphin, Indoor Recess, Fish Scales, and Photographer's Umbrella.  I went with the quarter inch wide paper instead of the normal eighth inch paper because I wanted the Moon to have a more substantial feel to it.  More mosaic-y I guess.  More depth.

My first choice in color was not to make the dark regions of the Moon out of pitch black.  As you can see from the picture of the full Moon, the dark regions, that is the 'mare' (pronounced "mar-ay") are not as black as space.  But I did want a good contrast, so I chose a very dark grey, the Feathered Fedora, as my major mare color. 

For the highlands, the brighter areas of the Moon,  I wanted to make the rayed craters the only thing in bright white.  So that meant choosing another color for the bulk of the bright areas.  I had to pick between the sort of ivory-ish color and the mottled grey color.  In the end, I liked the sort of 'bone' look of the very light ivory (thinking about bones and how these areas have a lot of high calcium rocks), and went with 'Fish Scales.'  I also decided I didn't like the sort of mottled look of the quills made with Indoor Recess, so saved that paper for other projects.  I also chose not to use the Steel Guitar at all, because it has a blue undertone that did not mix well with the Fish Scales, at least in my view.  That left me with just one more color, Bottlenose Dolphin as my intermediate grey to fill in the odd areas that are either darker highlands, brighter mare, or mixed regions with no clear color choice.

Enough for now!

Image Credits:  Moon, NASA.  Strips, my quilling strips from my supplies, my pic.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Quilling Conference - NAQG, Day Two

Meeting Jane Jenkins!
It's past time to wrap up my visit way back in May to the NAQG conference in Nashville!  My first post on day one can be found here.

Weaving - Harder than It Looks.
Day two opened with a weaving class.  I've not done much but the most elementary weaving in the past, so this was very interesting for me.  I enjoyed the class, especially meeting Quilling illuminary Jane Jenkins!  Still, I don't think I'm going to be doing a lot of weaving in the future - not because I don't like it - but because I don't like pins!  So many pins!  I really don't enjoy keeping track of all those sharp bits of metal around my craft area.  Seriously, that's just one of my issues.  Every single line has two pins to hold it down.  If I'm going to be weaving, I need to find a new way to secure strips for the process.

My gifted quilled elephant!
Cards and gift tags I made in free time.
I spent the late morning and early afternoon in free quilling.  Just sitting around with other quillers and having fun.  I quilled some cards, name tags, and more, while new friends quilled other marvels.  One of which was a wonderful quilled elephant with dragonflies!  I loved it immediately, and was thrilled and humbled when the artist presented it to me to have, for my very own!  We also saw a few people from the general public come in, and they stopped by our table very briefly.  But we were no match for the draw that Jane and her husband Paul were making at a nearby table, quilling 'fluffy' teddy bears.

Buddha under Bodhi Tree
I spent some time wandering through the competition/display room.  This is a room where both competition and general display items were available for attendees to check out.  Any registrants for the conference could ask to have some portion of a table set aside to display some of their work.  And of course various competition categories also had work on display (although without names.)  This made it a little difficult to figure out who did what piece of work.  My favorite, a Buddha, was done by an artist whose name I still don't know!  That was one of the points of the competition that was a little frustrating - since winners were announced at the last minute at the banquet, one never really got a chance to find out who did what piece of art.

The evening entertainment was live music and a banquet.  We had a wonderful time together, listening to local music and enjoying the raffle.  I really enjoyed watching my table-mates root for one another as various pieces in the raffle came up.  Many classic pieces of quilling were donated for the raffle, and were given as gifts for each one of us!  These quillers were very generous.
Examples of pieces under judging -
my Halloween Sampler is on the right!

And then it was time to go home.  I really had hoped there would be more time after the banquet to peruse the art in the display room and figure out who had done what!  But the art was removed quickly ... I was not ready to go!  But the conference was over, and planning for next year has begun!

All in all, it was a great event, and I'm trying to see how I can fit another May trip (this time to Tampa) in my travel schedule for May 2017.

Image credits - All pictures taken by me at the NAGQ 2106 conference.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Halloween Sampler - Projects #4 and #5

I had said last year that I'd get all the instructions for my Halloween Sampler posted by Halloween.  Well, that didn't actually happen - and I just realized that Halloween 2016 is fast approaching!  So at the least, I will get them up by *this* Halloween!

So here is the next installment of the Halloween Sampler Instructions!  This covers projects 4 and 5 (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
Fourth post - Projects #2 and #3

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 #4:  Lonely Tombstone

- grey, 6 strips at 10” long (stone center)
- dark grey, 4 strips at 10” long  (base)
- dark grey, 5 strips at 6” (stone bevel)
- grey, one strip at 30” long (stone top)
- black, 2 strips at 2” long (R and P)
- black, 2 strips at 1.5” long (R and P)
- black, 4 strips at 1.5” long (R and I)

Start by making squares out of all the 10” strips.  Glue the four dark grey squares into a line.  Glue the six grey squares together to form a 2x3 box.  Glue the grey box in the center of the line of dark grey squares, as shown.  (You may notice that all my light grey squares are not quite the same size.  If this happens to you, use the slightly smaller squares higher up on the tombstone, and put the larger ones lower down, glued to the dark grey base.)

Now make squares out of all five of the 6” strips of dark grey, and glue these into a line.  Glue this line on top of the grey box.  Using 30" of light grey paper, create a half circle, and glue this onto the small, dark 
grey squares to form the top of the tombstone.  You might not need the full 30” of paper.  I wanted a very dense top to the tombstone.

The RIP is formed using black strips.  Make a circle out of a 2" strip, and squash it into a line.  Do this with a 1.5" strip as well.  Make a circle out of a 1.5" strip, and slightly flatten it on one side.  Glue these three pieces together as shown to form the “R”.  The “I” is made from three, 1.5" strips, formed into circles and squashed flat.  The “P” is the same as the “R”, without the extra 1.5" piece.  Glue the letters onto the middle of the tombstone.

This forms the central project in the sampler.  Glue it into the center square.

Project #5:  Scary Owl

- black, 2 strips at 6” long (pupils)
- honey gold, 2 strips at 6” (irises)
- white, 2 strips at 9” (whites of eyes)
- black, 2 strips at 2.5” (outer eye)
- white, 1 strip at 25” (body)
- dark brown, 1 strip at 10” (body)
- dark brown, 1 strip at 4” (forehead)
- dark brown, 2 strips at 6” (eyebrows)
- dark gold, 2 strips at 4” (feet)
- dark brown, 2 strips at 10” (wings)

For the eyes, start by gluing the following in order, end to end:  6" black, 6" honey gold, 9" white, and 2.5" black.  Make two, and create tight rolls with them.  Start rolling from the longer black end (this is the pupil,) and then continue rolling the honey gold (iris) etc.

For the body, take a 25" strand of white and create a circle.  If you like, you can offset the center as I have, or leave it 'natural'.  Surround with 10" of dark brown.  Form into a slight oval shape.  Glue the eyes to the body. 

Now create a dark brown, long triangle to fill in the 'forehead' of the owl.  Use a 4" strip of dark brown.  Use two more dark brown strips 6" in a wavy leaf shape to make 'eyebrows.'   Glue together.

The feet are made of two dark gold strips, 4" long, made into curved teardrops.  The wings are dark brown, 10" long.  You can make these into curved teardrops, as shown here, or semi-circles.  You can keep them close to the body, as I have done, or angle them outwards so the owl appears to be flying.  Glue as shown.

Finally, use a 4" strip of honey gold in the form of a diamond to make the beak. Glue the beak on top of the 'face' just a bit between and below the eyes, as shown.

In the sampler, the owl is in the center of the top row.  Glue the owl into this square.

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

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Playing with Paper: Quilled Creations

As a result of some recent purchases to restock, as well as a few impulse buys at the NAQG conference, I found myself with several different types of paper from the Quilled Creations line, and figured I'd go ahead and play around with them, comparing and contrasting.  I thought you might be interested in some of my experiments and findings.

Do note that I do not endorse any particular supplier.  I'm happy to buy what I need from whomever has quality items at a good price.  I will buy glue from one dealer, paper from another, and tools from another.  And then books from anywhere at all.  I have a list on my toolbar of several different dealers and suppliers of quilling materials (and if you see someone missing, I'd be happy to add them!).

Note also, that this is not a comprehensive review of all the paper products from Quilled Creations, either.  All widths here are the standard 1/8 of an inch.  I didn't try any of the wider or more narrow paper.  Also, I haven't included things like their metallic or corrugated paper, either.

Still, using similar colors in the same widths from five different types of paper was certainly enlightening.  Here we go.

1.  Basic Paper.  I started off with their basic paper, here provided in the "sampler" pack.  And first I have to say, what fun!  This excellent little pack has so many colors and in a neat, compact form.  Would be perfect for people just starting out, or in my case, to have on hand when you need a bit of a very specific color.  Update - At first I said I didn't see where you could buy these, but stop here for the link, $1.95 each at this writing.

The purple petal that I made from this paper (in the approximately 7 to 8 o'clock position on my flower, there) is the only one not made from a single strip.  I used two on this one because the strips are so short.  Normally, I have a strong bias towards longer strips of paper, but in this case it is a sampler pack and short strips are expected.

The paper has a nice hand and feel, just the tiniest bit slick.  Glue takes just a touch longer to dry on this paper than other (especially older) papers I have.  The weights of the strips are pretty consistent from one color to the next, which is a change from the old papers where the black strips would be twice as heavy as the white ones because of the dye process.  I didn't have to discard any of the strips in the pack, either, which was nice.  Many times, as you know, there can be strips on the ends of packs that have slightly ragged edges, and need to be discarded.  All the strips had good color saturation and were very even and consistent in width.  A solid quality product.

2.  Jewel Tone.  Next clockwise around the 'flower' is the petal in the 10 o'clock position, made from the 'Jewel Tones' collection.  This paper is somewhat stiff, and has a glistening, sort of pearly finish.  In spite of the stiffness it holds a good coil.  The colors in my mixed pack were all bright and shiny, with very deep color saturation.  I think the red and green will make very nice Christmas poinsettias.  The general slick feel and stiffness made it less fun to use than other paper, but the end result I think is worth the trouble.  Glue takes a little longer to dry with this paper, but not enough to be a deterrent to using it.  Good length.  Will be getting more of this.

3.  Graduated Paper.  At the 12 o'clock position on my flower is the petal made with the purple 'Graduated' paper.  This paper is white at one end, and gradually turns to another color (in my example, purple) at the other end.  I rolled the strip so the white end would be in the center of the petal, and the darker color on the outside.  The paper has a bit of a slick feel to it, and glue takes just a tad longer to dry.  Somewhat short length.

A few things that didn't work for me - the color saturation at the 'dark' end of the paper just does not seem that dark.  Some of the colors are rather pastel, actually, which might be what you need in some cases, but limits the drama of the effect.  Also, the 'core' of the paper seems to be white, so you can see it on the torn/glued end, and you can also see white on the edge of the entire petal.  I have no idea how you'd go about creating graduated edge color, but that would really be pretty amazing (and see number 4 below about the 'Color Blends' Vellum).  As it is, this just didn't have the punch I was looking for.  I think I'll still be using two kinds of colors (white and then dark) and gluing them together end to end when I'm looking for this effect.

4.  Color Blends Vellum.  The petal in the 3 o'clock position, with the greenish center, is made from the 'Color Blends' line, which isn't really paper.  Instead it is vellum, a slightly translucent material.  I have very mixed feelings about this 'paper'.  I don't like the way it feels at all; it is sort of plastic-y and very stiff.  It needs to be wrapped tight to get it to hold a good coil in the center.  The color saturation also suffers because the paper as noted is just a touch translucent.  Length is a bit on the short side.

However, the paper does produce a very interesting effect.  The paper transitions evenly from one color to another as the strip goes end to end.  There is no white 'core' to the paper, so the color you see on edge is the color of the strip at that point on the flat surface (which differs from number 3 above, the 'Graduated Paper').  A feature of dying vellum vs. paper?  It is just not easy to get this nice effect even with rolling strips together or doing end to end gluing.  So if you just have to have this blended effect, there really isn't any other way to get it.

5.  Highlights Paper.  The last petal in the 5 o'clock position is made from the 'Highlights' line of paper.  This paper is one color on one side, and another color on the other side.  In this case, the primary color is a light blue (which is on one side, and forms the core color, so that's what shows on the edge.)  The other side is purple.  It is very hard to capture the effect in a photograph.  It is something you see as you view the petal from different angles - the color transitions from blue to purple.  It is a really interesting effect.  The paper itself is a nice length, holds a good coil, and like the regular paper has a nice feel with just the slightest slickness.  Glue dries relatively quickly.  I think the paper feels good to work with and I think the effect is very pretty, so I'm likely to be getting more of this. 

Image Credit:  All my own pictures of my own quilling supplies.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Quilling Conference - NAQG, Day One!

Now that the Summer edition of Quill America is out, the 'embargo' on the NAQG con is off - so I can finally post what I wrote back in May about the conference!  I've mentioned before that I think such an embargo is unnecessary, but alas.  Anyway, I submitted some pictures and text to the Summer 2016 Edition of Quill America, and many were selected to appear!  For that I am grateful and pleased!  Some of those pix could not be presented in color, however.  So now that they are there first, I don't have to worry about scooping myself :)  Here are a few more tidbits that don't appear in Quill America, and some of the images in color.

I've spent the last three days (May 2016) at the North American Quilling Guild's annual Conference, held this year in Nashville, TN.  It's been a whirlwind of quilling, classes, meeting new people, and sharing ideas.  I wasn't sure what to expect before I came, but will definitely be leaving tomorrow having had a very positive experience!

Day One (really Thursday evening as well as Friday) started with registration.  Host Judy (far right in the picture up top) and her associates checked us all in and gave us a bag filled with quilling goodies, as well as fun snacks (like Moon Pies).  I spent time in the 'hospitality room' meeting people and doing a bit of quilling (silver earrings with small crystal centers).  I was really happy to be invited along to dinner with some new friends (Michelle, Tracy, and then Mary), and in spite of spills and more, we had a very good time.

Friday was filled with classes, the morning was the vortex coil class taught by Sandy.  I'd never attempted vortex coils before, but the method shown was easy to follow, and by the end of class I was producing some solid coils.  Everyone extolled the class as both fun and useful.  Then it was on to the quilled roses class.  Roses have always, always been a challenge for me, and so it was really good to get more experience.  We were, for the most part, happily suffering together, trying to get our roses to look like ... roses.  I did manage to produce three that were at least recognizable.

After lunch it was off to the Chinese style quilling class where we learned various techniques to create flowing, airy quilling.  Our project was an elegant betta fish with sea grass and sea flowers in curving shapes.  I hadn't done much of this kind of work before, and but caught on pretty quickly to how to 'pull' the strips to separate the strands.  Everyone was focused on our projects and wished we had just a bit more time to get them finished.  Then on to the Quilling A-to-Z class with Kay.  Kay helped us with a variety of questions from accreditation to how to do alternate side looping.  She showed us her own accreditation pieces, along with samples used for teaching students of all ages how to quill.

After dinner with new friends, it was off to bed to try to get ready for the big second, and for me, last day of the conference!