Monday 28 February 2011

Quilling on the bright side!

One of my customers recently asked me to create a new home card for her daughter who apparently always likes to 'look on the bright side' of life! In fact, she is naming her new house 'Brightside' for that very reason - so my card was going to have to be very bright, too!

Looking through my photo backgrounds, we picked on a bright yellow 'starburst' which actually features the centre of a beautiful Rose of Sharon flower. It always makes me think of fireworks, or a champagne cork popping, and I sometimes use it for a 'Congratulations' design. Anyway, we agreed that I should use this image for the card with some suitably bright quilling to complement it. Here's the end result:

Friday 25 February 2011

Cool copper quilling

Do you remember this card design which I posted last week?

Well, I've just re-created it using my copper-edged purple strips and I'm so thrilled with the result! The bright copper edges seem to blend perfectly with the pinky purple of the daisy petals, and I've emphasised them using a plain copper strip for the swirl. The petals are smaller because the metallic-edged strips are shorter than the ones I'd been using before - in fact, I'll probably use whole rather than half strips next time. Anyway, here are the two cards side by side so you can see what a difference the metallic edging makes:

At this rate, I'm not going to want to go back to using 'ordinary' quilling strips again - but I'm sure I shall!! Have a great weekend everyone ... and a very warm welcome to all the new followers who have connected with Quilliance this week.

Thursday 24 February 2011

Shiny new quilled earrings!

I can't tell you how much I LOVE the metallic edged strips I got from JJ Quilling Design. The metallic edges are so sharp and bright that they really do add an extra dimension to quilling. (And, no - they are NOT sponsoring me to tell you this!!)

Yesterday, I experienced a burning desire to create some new earrings. (You know how it is ...) I decided to try a twin-strip husking design using a black strip edged with gold on the outside and a green/green metallic strip on the inside, which I crimped. When I make these huskings, I like to fold the strips together in half before winding around the pins, rather than gluing down a 'starting loop' to go around pin number one - it means that you have to glue four times instead of two whenever you wind back around the first pin, but it gives the resulting husking a much more substantial appearance. I like the way the crimped green strip appears 'sandwiched' between the black/gold. For this design, I've also added three little tight coils made from crimped black/gold strips. And I'm thrilled with the end result - just look how brightly it shines!

I can't wait to start experimenting with my purple/copper edged strips next ...

Really, what craft could possibly be more thrilling than quilling?!!

Wednesday 23 February 2011

My water lily girl

The image for this card is another gorgeous one which I obtained copyright-free from The Graphics Fairy (such a brilliant site!)

 I love this picture of the girl with flowing hair sitting so delicately in a floating water lily flower - she looks so serene and warm, and the image makes me imagine being beside water on a beautiful summer day.

I've added some rolled-together strips of yellow and orange to enhance her golden hair, plus a single pink teardrop made using one of my new metallic-edged strips to echo the shape of a petal. An image like this really doesn't need much quilling, but I think it makes a lovely card.

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Marvellous metallics!

I'm feeling very excited this week, having just purchased my first ever metallic-edged quilling strips from JJ Quilling Design. They do some really interesting colour combinations, and the effect of coiling these strips is great, because you get the basic colour of the strip inside the coil, complemented by a really sharp sparkly edge when viewed from above.

I've bought some green, powder blue and pink strips with green, blue and pink metallic edges respectively, plus some purple edged with copper and black edged with gold. I think the purple/copper and black/gold strips will be brilliant for quilled jewellery, but I decided to start with the other three shades to create this new card:

The background design is a Victorian garland of wild roses, and it's another wonderful copyright-free image which I've been able to source from The Graphics Fairy.  Having printed the card background, I used some of my new pink/pink and blue/blue metallics to create fold-rolled flowers, with marquise leaves using the green/green. I hope you can see how sparkly the edges are in these photographs. Curious to see how versatile the edged strips are, I also ran a couple through my crimping machine to create the dual-teardrop heart at the base of the card. It worked perfectly! I really like the effect of these metallic edged strips, so will definitely be playing with them some more over the next few days. Watch this space!

Thursday 17 February 2011

Another 'lacy' quilled card ... and news of a brilliant quilling giveaway!

I just couldn't stay away from those brilliant lace backgrounds for long! The designs I made previously have proved popular at our market, so I've been replenishing my stock with 'variations on a theme'. This card uses my favourite circular lace frame, and this time I've added three 'fold-rolled' flowers, each made from a pair of contrasting colour strips joined together at one end.

As I've mentioned before, I first learned the technique for making these flowers from Jane Jenkins' excellent book 'Quilling Techniques and Inspiration', so it seems timely to mention that Jane's former quilling supplies company, JJ Quilling, (now under new ownership) is currently the subject of an exciting 'giveaway' post over on Ann Martin's blog. Do visit this link, because there are some fabulous examples of exquisite miniature 3D quilling on there by Diane Boden-Crane who now runs JJ Quilling - plus a link to the company's re-vamped web site which is full of highly desirable quilling supplies!  Ann is offering a brilliant give-away opportunity for packs of quilling strips, too - check it out!!

Wednesday 16 February 2011

It's snowdrop time!

The snowdrops are out big-time here in the UK, and it's wonderful to see! They especially seem to thrive in shady wooded areas like the place near my home where I took the photo for this card. I spotted these beauties through a hedge, perfectly framed by the branches of holly bushes which border their woodland home.

I selected an oval cut-out for this photograph and feathered the edges to produce the shadow effect that you see on this card. Then I added some simple pale green and white quilling in honour of the snowdrops, before sending it to a friend who celebrates her 70th birthday this weekend.

Pushing up through ivy and a carpet of last year's leaves, these snowdrops are full of the promise of Spring!

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Combining quilling with photography

There's been quite a lot of interest in my technique of combining quilling with photographic backgrounds to make cards, and I've just had an article published on the subject! It's in the February edition of my favourite on-line crafting magazine, Papers and Pixels. If you'd like to read it, click here to download the pdf version, and you'll find the article on page 15.

Monday 14 February 2011

Old design - new quilling!

I'm busy replacing many of the cards I sold at the market last week - but just because they're replacements, it doesn't mean they have to be exactly the same as before!

Here, I've taken my 'stained glass window' effect daisies, and added a 'half-quilled' flower to connect them with the white space on the right hand side of the card. I just love the spots of colour that have been revealed by filtering the photograph in Photoshop, and have tried to use the same or similar colours in the quilling. Well, it makes a change from butterflies ....!

Rising to the challenge!

There are two card designs here that I couldn't resist posting in response to blog challenges that I came across today.

The first is a quilled 'Flower Fairy' card, which uses a beautiful out-of-copyright image that I downloaded recently from a fascinating site called The Graphics Fairy. (Check out the site, and you'll discover an absolute treasure trove of printable digital images that can be freely used in crafts.)  I saw the image, and was sure that it would work really well on a feminine birthday card. I love the vibrant pink and lime green colours which I have embellished here with quilling strips using a husking technique to add some movement and texture to the fairy's skirt. Look closely, and you'll see that I have added a little quilled heart to her 'flower hat' as well!

My second challenge submission is a card that I featured very recently here on Quilliance for a blog hop, but is so perfect for the Creative Accents  'For the love of chocolate' challenge that I make no apology for posting it here again!

The background picture is a photo which I took last February of some lovely Valentines chocolates with confetti scattered underneath. Next to it,  I have added some quilling, comprising chocolate coloured swirls and two hearts made out of coiled, crimped strips. Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday 12 February 2011

Special orders and best-sellers!

I haven't managed to post for several days, because I have been so BUSY!! On Thursday and Friday, I sold quite a few cards -  and now I need to replace them in my sales stock. Not only that, but I've got a whole list of special orders to fulfil, too, which is great! However, this all means that my ideas for new designs have to be put on hold while I re-make some of the old ones!

It's interesting that certain designs are now emerging as clear front-runners when it comes to popularity. I've lost count of the number of times I have made this particular little cat, whose body is cut out from black paper:

Not much quilling on there - just the whiskers!

And people seem to love cards with nature scenes like this one -  a selection of brightly coloured photos plus a quilled butterfly:

I always enjoy re-making this card, because it reminds me so vividly of summer.

And here's another card that I never tire of re-making, for birthdays and anniversaries:

It gives me such a buzz when people like my work! Hopefully I'll be back next week with something new ...

Wednesday 9 February 2011

In search of a golden glow!

I'm still happily producing 'fold-rolled' quilled flowers like the one on this card, which I've just made using a combination of yellow and orange strips (the orange is on the inside). This combination of colours seems to create a kind of golden warmth which I've tried to echo with a richly coloured background. I created this background in Photoshop Elements, by overlaying a close-up picture of a deep red rose with a gold-coloured 'texture' which I obtained as a freebie from the amazing Shadowhouse Creations site  - thank you very much, Ann, for the excellent recommendation!  If you look very closely, you'll see that the overlay includes lines of handwriting which I think produce a really interesting effect.  The colouring of this design also gave me a great opportunity to use some of the 'pumpkin' coloured strips that I still have left over from last Hallowe'en. In these chilly winter days, I'm hoping that my card will give someone somewhere a nice warm glow!!

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Night and Day!

I've called this design 'Night and Day', but it could just as easily have been 'Trial and Error' because it's a classic example of how I tend to change my mind about things as I go along!!

The background is actually a computer-generated grid of four squares, three of which I filled with deep blue, leaving the fourth free for a photographic 'blue sky' image. I had intended to use this as a background for the flower I featured in my last post, with the flower reaching towards the light, but it didn't really look that good, so I scrapped the idea. However, I never like to reject a card completely, so I had this vision of a 'half-sun/half moon' image to join the sections together, using half-circles cut from gold and silver paper, plus a little quilling! I added the peel-off star just to balance everything up.

I can't see this design ever becoming a best seller, but I like it - and it was fun to make, which is the most important thing I guess!

Sunday 6 February 2011

Fine-tuning my new quilled flower

You remember that I was working on developing a new type of multi-coloured, multi-textured quilled flower design (see my earlier post)? Well, I've refined the idea to make it a little more structured and less random in terms of the colour distribution - and here's the latest version:

I wanted the flower to have a clearly defined yellow/orange centre, encircled by a red and purple 'petals' section. So this time, rather than simply constructing a single composite strip consisting of randomly-selected colours, I planned the colours in advance.

Here's what my initial construction looked like. I started with quarter-length strips (three in all, two yellow and one orange) joined together at one end, so that the orange section is sandwiched between the two yellow ones. The orange strip is crimped for a textured effect. Then I attached a red half-length strip to one of the yellow strips, and a purple half-length strip to the other. The purple strip is also crimped.

Next I loosely 'fold-rolled' the composite strip like this, starting from the yellow/orange end, making sure that the un-crimped red section ended up on the outside.

When I released the resulting coil, it sprang into a square-ish shape with gently curved sides, which could easily be pushed into the desired flower shape.  I trimmed the purple a little so that it lay beneath the red before securing ends of the coil with glue.

For this card, I printed a deep blue background and glued on a scalloped shape punched from gold paper  on which to mount the flower. I played around making a few leaves with two shades of green and a leaf punch - this is a fantasy flower, after all!

Anyway, here's a close-up of the end result:

I think next time I'll use longer strips for the petals section, to make this part of the flower wider - but it's a start! Hope you like it ...

Friday 4 February 2011

Another quilled Valentine: one for the men!

The trouble with most quilled Valentine cards is that they usually look rather feminine. After all, swirls, curls and filigree in general just don't always seem to be appropriate for men!

So I came up with this design, thinking that it might be more suitable for a male recipient. I sold it straight away at this morning's market (to a lady customer for her husband!), so it seems that my thinking was right! As you can see, I'm still quilling with crimped strips at the moment, because I really like the chunky, textured effect. Maybe it was this - plus the bold silver, red and black colours I used - that succeeded in giving it a more masculine 'feel'.

Wednesday 2 February 2011

The flowering of a new idea!

What do you do with short, left-over sections of quilling strips? I put all mine into a basket, ready for those times when I just need a tiny length of a particular colour, but occasionally I look at the multi-coloured tangle in my basket and decide to try something a little different. Yesterday was one of those occasions, and this brightly coloured flower was the result!

Lately, I've been making 'art deco' style roses out of strips which have been folded rather than rolled, like the one which I featured recently on my latest Valentine card. To make this flower, I took the idea a step further by joining together lots of short lengths of different colour strips, some crimped and some not. Having created a single multi-coloured strip with these, I first folded it in half and then carried on folding it over and over with my fingers in short (3 - 4mm) sections until I had a flattened type of coil with the original fold at the centre.  I released the coil a little, allowing it to form itself into a softly curved shape before trimming and gluing the ends - and ended up with this multi-coloured bloom!

I quite like its randomness in terms of colour and also its texture, which resulted from alternating flat and crimped sections in the original joined-up strip. I decided that it needed some dark green leaves to offset the bright colours, and made these using crimped strips which I formed into marquises.

I've mounted my flower on to another satin-effect background image which I created using Photoshop Elements, just as I did for the Valentine card.  (There's a link in this post to the tutorial I used - you'll find it the December 2010 edition of Papers and Pixels). I think the dark green swirly background sets off my brightly coloured flower quite well - hope you agree! As you can see, I decided to use this design for a 'Get Well' card.


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