Friday 25 June 2010

A little quilled carrot for the donkeys on the beach

I've just returned from a short break staying with some friends who live in the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare in the south-west of England. Weston is a very traditional holiday resort with a promenade, pier and miles of golden sands where children can still enjoy riding on donkeys, just as they have done for generations.

When I was there, the donkeys were all lined up patiently at the water's edge, and I took this photograph of them gazing out towards the nearby island of Steepholm. Such a timeless scene! I thought that the picture would make a lovely card, and so I've complemented the picture with a horseshoe (or should it be donkey shoe?) plus a little quilled carrot - the perfect tasty treat for hungry donkeys! I hope they didn't have to work too hard on what turned out to be a very hot day indeed ...

Friday 18 June 2010

In search of a better butterfly ...

Ever since I started quilling, I've been making butterflies - they look wonderful on cards, especially when used to complement a photograph of flowers.

Over the years, I've tried several different styles.

There's this one, which is lovely - but it's quite time-consuming to make using a quilling board and pins.

Then there is this one:


And even this where I used painted sea-shells to create the wings.

But today I've decided that this is my favourite pattern of all, using two large 'eye' shaped coils, and two 'teardrops'.

Lately I've been experimenting with making multi-coloured wings by gluing several strips together. Here's the result, with a single crimped strip in between two straight ones. I think it's best to separate the strands at the centre of the coil so that all the colours are clearly visible. Butterflies like this don't take long at all to make, but I think they look lovely and the colour permutations are endless. (That's what I love so much about quilling!) What kind of butterflies do you all like to make?

Thursday 17 June 2010

'Green fingered' quilling - some vegetables from the garden!

Well, our village festival was a great success - I was delighted with the number of cards and earrings that I sold! It has taken me a few days to replenish my stocks ready for our next market on Friday ... and now it's time to get creative again!

I've made this card for a friend who is keen on growing his own vegetables, and it gave me the chance to try out some quilling patterns that I've had my eye on for ages! The onion and pea pods in this design are from Elizabeth Moad's excellent sourcebook, 'Thrilling Quilling' and I think they've turned out really well. I've put them on a printed brown background to look like soil, together with quilled garden tools which were my own invention! The background photos were taken on a visit to some lovely gardens last weekend: I thought the row of buckets and watering cans was particularly photogenic!

A few weeks ago, I was proud to receive a Sunshine Award for Quilliance. As a condition of acceptance, I agreed to pass on the Award to twelve fellow bloggers - and I am ready to make my first nomination today. I would like to pass the Award to Ann for her blog Ann’s Snap Edit and Scrap. I really enjoy following this one!  Ann manages to publish a post every day, and most of the posts are about things she has seen  and photographed in her daily life, reflecting the Quilliance ethos of ‘beauty in all things’. Great blog, Ann!

Wednesday 9 June 2010

A little quilled bird

I have always found making quilled birds a bit of a challenge. Here in the UK, postage costs are worked out according to the size and thickness of an item, which means that unless I restrict myself to 3mm quilling strips in a single layer when making a card, people have to pay extra postage when mailing it (not a good selling point!)

Most of the designs I have seen for quilled birds are based on a side view where you have to stick a wing-shaped teardrop coil on top of a quilled body (making a 6mm depth of quilling in total - too thick for basic postage!) And it just doesn't look right when you try and eliminate the wing by designing a bird face-on.

I think I've found the answer! I created this basic side-on bird shape by pinching two rings of paper into teardrops and gluing them together using a quilling board and pins. (I made the rings by winding 3mm strips around two dowels that I have - one large and one small.)

The smaller teardrop manages to suggest both a wing and the tail of the bird in a single shape. I've added a tiny triangular beak and a little eye to the edge of the larger teardrop, and it looks just as though the bird is facing forward with its head turned. Using this basic shape, you can add a crest, tail plumes and little perching feet to create an infinite number of fantasy bird designs. For the bird at the top of this post, I used my new crimping tool to crimp the strips that I used for the two rings - I think this gives an added impression of feathers.

And just to prove that none of my experimental quillings ever goes to waste, I've added this to my stock of quilled cards for this week's market:

Monday 7 June 2010

Quilling with men in mind ...

Creating cards for men is always a challenge. And because their cards are usually bought for them by women, you have to get inside the mindset of what women think their men would like ... aaargh!!  Anyway, Fathers' Day is coming up here in the UK (on 20th June), and it's our village festival on Saturday when I'm hoping to sell some cards on the market stall, so I thought I'd better get started on a few Fathers' Day designs.

Cars, beer, sport and steam trains always seem to be popular themes, so I came up with these 'photo montage' designs, enhanced by just a little 'abstract' quilling:

At this time of year, most English men also seem to be interested in cricket. We have a very picturesque cricket green here in our village, and I took a photo last year of a game in progress - it's proved to be one of the most useful shots I have ever taken! I've sold a birthday card design with quilled cricket bat and ball many times over, so I thought I'd adapt it for Fathers' Day this year (see the card on the right). Plus I made a monochrome version as well, with just a little spot colour picked out in green. It's surprising how versatile a single photograph can be!

Of course, the next big event coming up is the World Cup, so I suppose I'd better create some more football cards too! I really look forward to getting back to flowers and butterflies ...

Thursday 3 June 2010

Quilling with a twist

At last ... I've had time to get back to some quilling again! And I couldn't wait to start experimenting with the new crimping tool that I've just bought to give my strips a wavy effect.

Crimped strips give a great impression of rippling water, as I've tried to suggest in this card design. (The background photo, by the way, was taken by my husband on our holiday in Herm - it was supposed to be a picture of me standing on the beach, but somehow he managed to leave me out of the shot completely!! It makes a lovely background for a card, though ...)

And this card features some of the lovely shells we collected in Herm, with a few quilled specimens to complement the photo. I think the crimped strips echo the texture of real shells quite nicely.

I've only managed to make two other cards this week, both of them featuring photos that I took in the gorgeous English country gardens we visited last Sunday. Summer has finally arrived here in England, and the flowers in the gardens were fantastic. I used my crimping tool again to create wings for the butterfly, whose body is highlighted using silver and gold gel pens.

Many thanks to all of you who have been visiting Quilliance during the past week. I hope to catch up with the postings on all my friends' blogs over the coming weekend.


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