The Art of Paper Filigree

This blog is to celebrate the things I enjoy making. This includes quilling art, crafts, and cooking recipes and ideas, as well as some musings. I enjoy sharing ideas. By all means, if you want to borrow an art idea, go for it. But please, make it your own; don't just copy. If you've never heard of quilling art, I hope this introduces it as an art form and possible hobby. And I hope the pages to the right of the quilling blog posts offer up information, ideas and inspiration.

Enjoy your visit! If you have questions or comments, by all means share.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gifts for Kids!!

Of course I did some quilling art for gifts, but I couldn't post it before now, because I didn't want those sweet girls peeking! ;o) So here's an idea I'll share now.... I asked my grandnieces for their favourite colour, flower and animal.

So here's Huberjinx the cat, the result of a preference for cats, the colour orange and lilies!

And here is Patrick the Panda, holding purple roses.... yes, the faves desired.

My other grandniece is too young to have decided yet just what her personal faves are, but her mom, my niece, sings her a pretty little song about playing with dragons in meadows...

And you know, I love making dragons. :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011


An older gentleman bought Ezmerelda for his grandniece, whom he said is "a princess." He came to market with other family, including his sister, who later told me how much the little girl loved her picture. It's really cool to get positive feedback.

This lovely woman also likes my quilling art. She bought Freaky Fish and asked if I could make a giraffe. I said, "sure." And so I have. I hope she likes it!

So many more ideas to work on! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ezmerelda is finished!

Yep, she's done. I placed my wee pink dragon in a flower garden, which apparently she just can't resist! Now I'm anxious to do another dragon. :)

While I was at it, I fixed up a piece for Remembrance Day. The background is actually a lovely green, but it doesn't really show that in the picture. The poem, of course, is In Flanders Fields.

And one day while I was also making chili sauce, I worked on some plaques. Chili sauce... quilling.... chili sauce.... quilling. It's a confusing life. ;o)

Only a month of market to go, so I've decided to not knock myself out with the preserves and worry about having some of "everything." When I run out, I do ~ as long as I'm left with enough for holiday gifts. I have so many ideas for quilling, I really want to be doing that. I'd love to do some holiday shows, just with the quilling. :) We'll see.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Busy, busy!!

Busy, busy! I'm champing at the bit to get back to Esmerelda. Have her background all ready, but I need to make up a bunch of very detailed pieces for her scene, because the joy of the dragon pictures is all the stimulating detail. In the meantime, I've had to keep replenishing my market stock. More cards, tags and even though I made 30 note clips, I'm going to have to make more.

And I had this commissioned piece to do as well. It's a really nice wedding invitation, which you can see, even though I blocked out the details. Basic white, black and red which lent itself to some classic roses. With other flowers, bells, hearts, etc., I think it turned out very well.

Sure hope the newlyweds like it!

And then, hopefully, back to Esmerelda!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This is My Box!

"What are you making again???" asked Hubby ~ again.

"A box," I replied ~ again. "A BOX.... B.O.X... box," I smiled patiently.

Geez..... ok, it might seem an odd thing to build, but I'm doing the market with paper products, and it's not only outside but in a location that's windy. Ever try to sell paper crafts in a big wind? Oy. I needed a box to be storage, carrier, wind-proof display... the whole shebang. But there is nothing like it available commercially that I can find. So, simple, I have to make it.

The last carpentry I did was the cabinet in the bathroom. It needed to be shallower than anything available commercially, so once again.... It's still waiting for doors. I need to make some cupboard doors for the kitchen cabinets too. One damaged one finally broke beyond repair. I priced them at the lumber store: $100. bucks a piece! For a 12 x 17 inch door? And I need 4 of 'em. $400. bucks?! Not happening. The lumber store had some tongue-in-groove pine boards on special. I bought some. $27. for enough to make cupboard doors. But then I needed this box and I started to eye those boards. Oy... gonna have to get more!

I chose a slightly warped old drawer bottom for the bottom of my box. I figured I'd manage with it. Heh. Ok, so I owe the swear jar a LOT of nickels, but I did manage. ;p

I drilled holes in the ends to take knotted macrame rope for handles, and I gave it its own bungee cord to hold the lid in place when not in use. Yes, I could have come up with something more sophisticated, but time is short and this gets it done. I mean, it was very frustrating waiting for the rains to stop when I wanted to get this done. I don't have a basement. I have to work out on the deck. Eeeerrrggg. Just in the nick of time, sunshine.

So, this is my box. I didn't put the dividers right to the back of the box so I can jam the lid right down in against the wind. Now all I have to do is add the signage to the inside of the lid telling folks what it is, what it's for and how much. Hope it works!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

This is Ezmerelda!

Ezzie is a dragon. Now the hard part ~ creating a fun and stimulating environment for her.

More to come!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How to Build a Butterfly ~ a Quilling Art Workshop

My mom made some really nice quilling art butterflies, and what I know about it I learned from her. So what I'm sharing is basically her technique. The butterfly to the left is one I recently made. The yellow butterfly below is one of my mom's.

The Wings: As you see, you start by making loops ~ 3 or 4 graduated loops deep, glued at one end, open at the other. Make 6 or 8 of these (it's up to you... it's your butterfly). Looks like Mom used 3 and I used 4 here. I used 7 to 9 inch pieces of 1/8th quilling paper for this. Experiment with a piece and see what works best for you, then try to make them uniform for the top wings. Then you need to make some more for the bottom wings. I made 6 ~ 2 each small, medium and large.

Put the loops together, then choose a secondary colour to add to embellishing it with frilly shapes. Mom favoured C scrolls, but I rather like lopsided hearts, pictured below. If you click on the pictures, they will get larger and you will see how I used the lopsided hearts between some of the wing loops. Of course, I also used C scrolls, teardrops, S scrolls, etc. Whatever you like. I have also put some double-colour teardrops inside the loops to create the "eye" affect on the wing. And I put some loose circles in there as well. You have to basically just keep going with the frilly bits until you're satisfied with wings.
Attach them with glue. If you don't want a flat butterfly, pin one wing to a quilling board and place something under the second wing to hold it at an angle while the glue dries.

The Body: I used a beading tool for this, which is much deeper than an ordinary quilling tool.

You need some black craft wire, a glass or plastic bead or two (Mom used two small beads; I used 1 medium one) and a sheet, or wide cut, of quilling paper. Cut the paper in a long triangle, point at one end, about 3/4 to an inch at the other. You'll need one for the body and at least one more smaller piece for the head, depending on how wide you're able to roll it. You can attach as many pieces as you need.

Glue the tip. You can adjust your paper "bead" by inserting a cocktail toothpick and shaping it the way you want it. This also makes sure the center is open to receive the wire. Cut a long piece of black wire and insert it through the head and body pieces, string on a bead, or two, to hold the wire in place at the tail, then re-insert the wire in the other direction. The pieces of wire at the "head"end will form the antennae. Shape it the way you want, make sure it's cut evenly. Run some glue down the underside of the body and between the pieces to make sure it stays together. Allow to dry while you roll two narrow bits of paper and glue to make the antennae tips. Glue these onto the ends of the wire.

Mount the body onto the wings, glue, and VOILA.

I hope this is helpful for those wanting to make their own quilling art butterfly. Another one I made, I chose lime green and lavendar as the colours. My teenage daughter said it was like "rock star meets old lady." I changed it to lime green and grape, but I still have that first wing and I still like it. Afterall, what's wrong with rock star meets ol' lady anyway? ;o) Back to work.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bags o' Tags!!

I know, I know, I've been neglecting my blogs. I've just been busy, cutting different colours of carding, folding, stamping.... all very time-consuming, and all necessary before I even start making the quilling art designs.

It's been awhile since I made the all-occasion designs, so I want to make sure I include the more popular designs I did before, but also come up with some fresh ideas as well. So yeah, busy, busy. But the results are good so far. :) Bud thinks I should make some for the Goth types out there. Hmmm.... ok, a spider tag, maybe some black roses..... oy. ;o)

I've made up over 2 dozen of the note-clips, so those are set for now. I'm aiming for at least 2 dozen bags of tags. I'm putting 3 all-occasion designs, 3 holiday designs, and 1 kid tag in each Bag o' Tags. I remember that I could have sold a lot more last time I did the market ~ I kept running out of both tags and cards, and didn't necessarily have time to make more. So I want to start out with a good supply of all these things.

Well.... back to work. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lo-Tech Note Clips

No, I said "note" clips. Hehe.

Yeah, they're just cute, fun little items for market. There's a magnet affixed to the back so it can be stuck to the fridge, or any metal surface. Good for that running shopping list that everyone can add to. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Getting Ready for Market

Yes, I've decided to do the Market again this summer. But I'm getting a bit old I think, to schlepp across the parking lot with boxes and boxes of jams and jellies. So I've decided that I'll bring 3 cases of them (3 dozen jars) to each market, for the bread and butter, so to speak. The rest will be other things, such as quilling art, dragon bags, nature craft kits, etc. Two years ago when I did the Market, I noticed that the little things sell, the more ambitious pieces, not so much. So that's the approach I'm taking. That means it's time to get busy on those little lovelies that will actually sell. I remember I couldn't make enough cards and tags, so I'm making just a bunch of 'em.

I also noticed that the blank cards were the most popular, so while I'll make some Happy Birthday, Anniversary, Get Well and New Baby cards, most of my cards will be blank for people to write their own messages. And I'm doing mixed media cards as well ~ Photo Art cards, photo art and verse, quilling art, and some cards with all three.

So, enough of Freaky Fish and Fancy Flowers for the moment.... now I'm just having some simple fun. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fancy Freaky Fish!

Ok, ever since I saw a fancy fish on the home page of my quilling art supply company, I've wanted to make one. There wasn't a kit. At least, not that I could find. I didn't want to just copy anyway. I just wanted to take the idea and run with it. So that's what I did.

Curled paper. Single curls. Double curls. I made the body separate from the tail. I put a "shadow" behind the head. It's a tropical, topical, fancy, freaky, crazy fish. I mounted it on blue-green carding, added sea grasses and kelp-type thingies, a school of smaller fish, a "fly" hook with line.

The frame came with a border and smaller opening, so I fixed it up larger using balsa wood, and used sandpaper for a "sandy" bottom. Then I added shells and a river rock.
The plastic frame was black, so I sprayed a little blue and white Krylon on there to lighten it up. I wound up backing the picture with bristol board just to firm it up.

To be honest, I don't think it's nearly as good as the fish I saw on my supply store site, but I like it. This is a cool freaky fish. And it's mine.

P.S. I'll add my supply site to my links. Should have done it sooner! ;o)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Candles from recycled wax!

There is nothing like the glow of a homemade candle.

Well, it's Roll up the Rim time at Tim Horton's and that gave me an idea. I had all these little bits and pieces of wax accumulated over the winter, along with candle bottoms from previous efforts. I don't discard my bits of wax. I make candles with them. You just need disposable coffee cups, some candle wicking, a nail, a few pencils, tape, a glue gun and an expendable pot that you'll only use for wax. I bought a little enamel pot with a spout just for this. (Some candle-making sites recommend a double boiler, but I've never found it necessary as long as you have the patience to use low heat.) My little pot wasn't expensive, and when I'm not making candles, that's where I store the little bits of wax I collect from tea lites and other candles that I burn over the winter.... until it's full that is, then I just put the overflow into a can.
Make sure the cardboard cup is clean, then poke a hole dead center in the bottom with a nail. Feed your wicking through, leaving an inch sticking out. Tape it down, then put a blob of hot glue from the glue gun over the hole. This not only holds the wick in place for sure, but prevents wax leakage.

Turn the cup over and center the wick, wrapping it a couple times around a pencil that you place across the cup. Tape it in place, so the wick is taut. It doesn't hurt to tape the pencil into place on the sides too, just to make sure it doesn't move while you're pouring hot wax. Now your candle mold is ready.

Put bits and pieces of wax into the your pot over low heat. Be patient. Do not leave warming wax unattended. Parafin is a petroleum product and will burn if left to overheat. I like bee's wax candles, so I just use a mixture of waxes as they come to hand. You can control the colour of your candle by using waxes of similar hue, such as reds with orange, yellow, etc., to get a sunshiny colour, or blues and greens together. If you mix them all, you'll get a brown candle, so it's important to know how to mix colours for best results. Of course, you can also buy candle colourings at most craft stores when you go to buy your wicking. :) It's also nice to add some scent and this is best accomplished, I find, with essential oils such as cinnamon, lemon, or any scent that you like.

I make my candles in two layers, filling the bottom of the cup (which will be the top of the candle) with one batch of melted wax. Just warm it till it's all melted, stirring with a spoon. When there is no wax residue left on the spoon, it's warm enough. Don't heat up too much at once or warm it too long, because the wax will be overheated and won't harden up nicely. That's why doing the candle in layers works. I heat up half a candle worth, pour it in, do another batch and start another candle in another cup. Then heat another batch. By this time, the wax in the first cup should be clouding over, and that's when it's time to pour on the second layer. It's especially important to wait for the first layer to start to harden a bit if you're using different colours for each layer. (Two tone looks good!)

When the cup is full, just let it harden. Now, if you look up directions for candle-making, some will tell you to poke at the wax as it hardens to prevent it from dipping in at the top. But with this method, the top is going to the be bottom of your candle, so don't worry about that deep hole that may form in the center as it solidifies. Just save a little wax to heat up again when all the candles are hardened and fill in the holes, but not right to the edge of the candle, or it will show. When that is hardened, the candle is done. Peel off the paper cup, carefully removing the glue-gun glue from around the wick. Polish with an old stocking, trim the wick, and voila! A lovely candle.

These make great gifts for the person who has everything. You just need to add a little decoration, like a ribbon or raffia paper or something like that, just so your recipient knows to remove it before burning. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Roses and a Butterfly

I got the "how to make flowers" book thinking that it would be handy for backgrounds. But for some reason I decided I needed to learn how to make the kind of roses that require wider, folded paper, and I decided to make a framed piece out of them. I had a hard time with them at first. The best advice I had was "patience and practice," and that was good advice. But one tip I figured out is to use a beading tool if you have one, instead of a regular quilling tool. The beading tool is just deeper and hangs onto the rose better. Here's what I made:

I just basically made a quilling art rose bush and mounted it on carding that looks like a garden shed wall. (At least it does to me.) I decided to make a butterfly to go in the picture, but needed a little something for balance off to the right, so used dried flowers.

Unfortunately I cut the carding to fit a frame I had in mind, but the roses were too deep for this particular shadow-box frame. (Second time I've done this. Must learn a thing.) I had to use a larger frame, so I had to make a border for the piece. So some good luck to offset the bad, I had some medium dark green card that looked great with it. I mounted the butterfly too.

An original verse finishes the piece prior to actual framing. Burned around the edges... just like to do that.

The finished piece. Simple... somehow the word classic springs to mind. But I think I'll focus now on some pieces that will fit in those smaller frames. ;o)

So I looked at for a few days and decided the bottom corners needed some finishing... and it needed one more rose. NOW it's finished and reframed. Time to move onto some of my other ideas. Will post anew when I've done some. :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What do you mean, BUY a card?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's the other one. Yep, simple. But not only did I leave it till the last minute, I'm something of a rough-hewn ol' Earth mama and if I started getting all frilly, gushy, sweetness and light with the famly just for Valentine's Day, they'd think I was having some sort of fit and cart me off to the hospital. ;o) Had fun making the paper flowers, but I'll save the fancy stuff for pictures. :)

Have fun everyone!

Added later: I came across this anniversary card I made last year. I like it better than the Valentine cards, even tho it's even simpler. Just needed to try those roses, but I think I'm over florals for the moment. ;o) Back to dragons.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Some Nature Crafts

I'm going to interrupt the quilling art for some nature crafts today... fun for kids, families, groups of all kinds. You just need to collect some milk weed pods, golden rod galls, acorns and pine cones when you're out on one of those nature hikes you take for fun and good health. Keep an eye out for stray feathers too, although craft feathers work just as well. Of course, the golf tee is only found in nature if you're walking on a golf course. ;o) Otherwise, you can probably get those at dollar, craft or sports stores.

This is the bird... I love the shadow in this photo. Choose a longer milk weed pod for the body, and two slightly curled ones for the wings. The golden rod gall makes the head... leave the stem longer on one side to be glued onto the bird body, and create a nice "beak" on the other end. Then afix the feather for the tail. Use a glue gun for all gluing.. it just works best. Just a little craft glue gun is great. The kids might like to add some glitter sparkle for fun too. You can use a little fish line to hang this in your window, or just set it into a plant, or of course, on the tree at holiday time.

This is the angel. Pick out two nice milk weed pods for wings. Glue the acorn onto the top of the pine cone. You may have to clip the top piece of the pine cone off first. The acorn is the head of course, and the golf tee should be glued on to look like a trumpet. Then glue the wings on at a nice angle and you have an angel! I like to paint my angels white and the tumpet gold with craft paint. My mom used to paint hers all gold. It's personal preference! You can add a piece of ribbon or line for hanging it, or just set it on a table for decoration. If you're going to do this, be sure to choose a pine cone that sits nicely.

If you don't have feathers, you can also make the bird tail out of quilling paper by gluing on several strips and curling them with scissors or a knife. I usually toast the galls, acorns and even the pine cones in the oven to make sure they're clean before I put them in my craft supplies. Just spread them out on a cookie sheet and toast them at 250 degrees for 20 mins. Since the milk weed pods are generally still on the stem when picked, I just empty the seeds and brush them off. But the cones and acorns are usually picked off the ground. The golden rod galls are formed by insects, so I even though they're on a stem, I toast them too, just to make sure there are no tenants. ;o)

Enjoy those nature walks and have fun with the crafts on those rainy days!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Some Interesting Pieces

I wanted to do an eagle to go with a poem I wrote about an experience with one of those very beautiful large hunter birds. This is what I came up with, mounted on a piece of cherry wood that I had around.
I took me awhile to get my snowflakes to turn out not lopsided. I put my best four on this great photo my hubby took of a snowstorm at our door. So simple, yet one of my faves.

~more to come~ I hope. :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Guitars and Musician Tributes

I made some electric guitars in quilling art and they've been quite popular. This is a bass guitar that hangs in Bud's room. Below is a tribute to Jimi Hendrix with one of his fave guitars recreated in quilling art, along with a quote from him. I created the background starting with a record cover image which I changed to a b&w image, then made a stencil from, to make a ghostly image in the background. At least, that was the idea. ;o) Yes, I'll be doing more tributes to other musicians.
In the meantime, this is all I have right now. Again, forgot to photograph the others. :( Y'know, I knew better too. Mom always photographed her quilling art pieces.

Kids' Stuff and Jewellery

I love making pictures for kids. I've made a whole series of dragon pictures and am about to make some more. This is one fish picture I've done. I have an idea for another and sold one that I don't have a photo of. (Keep forgetting.) I find art for kids very satisfying. :)

Quilling art is a great way to make beautiful, intricate, unique jewellery. Here are some examples:

So far I've only made floral earrings because I like them best.

But there are other designs that can be made as well. I will explore those at some point. More to come.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cards, Tags and Gift Embellishment

Gift tags can be made for all occasions. Birthday, anniversary and other occasions are often made with flowers, balloon or hearts, with stamping to create a greeting and the "To: From:" on the inside.
Holiday gifts tags with a magical touch. Lone designs or fancied up stamps make really beautiful, colourful tags. The reindeer is a stamp. I quilled the antlers and nose and put googly eyes on it too. Great for kids of all ages.

I love doing mixed media cards, with photographs, stencils, stamps, and quilling art to give them that something special.

A Get Well card.

Special occasions can be commemorated by embellishing photographs, invitations, or announcements with quilling art....

...and a frame!