Tuesday, 17 April 2012

More quilled earrings ... and some exciting news!

Yesterday, I showed you some of the quilled jewellery I've been making that I hoped might be accepted for sale in a gallery near to where I live. Today, I'm showing you two more pairs of earrings which I took down there this morning, together with the two pin brooches and silver/blue earrings featured in yesterday's post.

These earrings are quite striking, I think, utilising two-colour 'beehive' swirls in a diamond shaped enclosure. I made the background discs using my usual die cut cardstock/pearlised paper 'sandwich' method, adorned with a couple of magenta die cut swirls that have been glued on decoupage-style:

And this pair features die cut leaf shapes topped with some metallic edged quilling for decoration:

Well, I'm delighted to say that the owner of the gallery loved them all! So she will be offering them for sale amongst her amazing stock of other desirable objects at Gallery Fifty Five in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire. Take a look at the gallery's website, and you'll soon understand just how honoured I feel!

Also, I can now confirm that I will be holding a quilling workshop for beginners at the gallery on Saturday 23rd June 2012 from 14.00 - 16.00pm. The cost per participant will be £25.00 to include tuition, materials, tea/coffee and cake. Contact details for the gallery are listed here for anyone wishing to reserve a place.

Monday, 16 April 2012

A new quilled pin brooch - my entry for the Homyachok Challenge!

I'm taking a break from my regular market for a couple of weeks, which has given me the chance to catch up with making some quilled jewellery. This first piece I've made is a new pin brooch which is formed from pairs of conjoined-strip 'P' coils topped off by some little fleur de lys shapes which I made from tiny huskings. The colours in this piece are a bit crazy, but somehow the purple and orange seem to work quite well together and I think the finished brooch might also look good when pinned on to a black fabric. I'm always concerned about the durability of designs like this, so I've coated the outer edges of each shape with PVA glue to strengthen them, and then sprayed the whole thing with two separate applications of clear lacquer. Believe me, it's now one tough piece of filigree!! I'm going to see if I can sell this piece in our local gallery, and will let you know how I get on. Meanwhile, I have also entered this piece into the online Homyachock Challenge which, this month, is focused on quilled jewellery.

Here are a couple of other things I've made:

Friday, 13 April 2012

Good news at last ... and a collage picture to be framed

I've spent the past week anxiously awaiting news of the parcel containing my NAQGCON competition entries that I sent to the USA. This anxiety has not been helped by the fact that our UK Royal Mail service is STILL listing the package as being "prepared for shipment". What a farce! Using the excellent United States Postal Service (USPS) tracking facility, however, I have been able to chart the parcel's progress over the past few days from New York to Long Island and then south-westwards to Lancaster in Pennsylvania ... and, after making a quick call to the NAQGCON organiser last evening, I now know that it's finally arrived at its destination in good shape. What a relief ... thank you, USPS!

Meanwhile, I made an interesting new contact this week on a visit to a local art gallery. Gallery Fiftyfive in Hartley Wintney describes itself as "a new lifestyle concept store which houses a constantly changing collection of exceptional arts and crafts, alongside gifts that are hip, unique and hard to find."  The gallery has been staging a series of workshops for customers interested in trying their hands at different crafts, so I went along to enquire whether the owner would be interested in a quilling workshop. She said yes! So I have been booked to do my beginners' quilling workshop on 30th June, which I am delighted about. (I'll publish more details just as soon as I know exactly what the charge for participants is going to be.) And the gallery owner also expressed an interest in some of my more elaborate quilled pin brooches and earrings, suggesting that I might like to try offering some of them for sale in the gallery. So my focus is going to be firmly on jewellery for the next few weeks!

Before that, however, I had a small project on my mind that I just HAD to get out of my head! I really like the effect of mounting quilling on metallic paper backgrounds, and I also wanted to experiment with outlining some quilled shapes with a few layers of gilt-edged strips. The resulting design is a bit of an abstract collage - but I really am quite pleased with it. The deep purple background triangle is made from a thin, gauze-like paper fabric which I have embossed for added texture. This is then topped by two raised cut-out squares made from triple layers of cardstock which I covered with gold pearlised gift wrap paper. The squares form the backdrop for some quilling which incorporates two different types of gilt-edged strips (black/gold edged and pearlised gold/gold edged from JJ Quilling Design. I've mounted the whole thing on some blue textured paper. Now all I need to do is get it framed. I'm wondering whether the gallery might be interested in this piece too? Watch this space!

Friday, 6 April 2012


Until this week, I'd been so focused on finishing my entries for this year's North American Quilling Guild conference competitions that my market stocks of quilled cards and jewellery have been sadly neglected. A couple of weeks ago, one of my regular customers asked if I had any blue earrings in stock ... needless to say, that turned out to be the one colour I did not have! So, this week I resolved to create a selection of new earrings for my display basket - and I decided to make them all in blue!

I came up with three very different styles: one made using a simple combination of tight and eccentric coils, and two others which utilise die cut shapes as backgrounds. For the shapes, I like to create a 'sandwich' of glued together coloured cardboard layers, topped with pearlised gift wrap paper. By the time you glue the layers together and also coat them with PVA glue on the outside faces, you end up with a very strong and semi-shiny finish which is perfect for embellishing in different ways.

The heart-shaped earrings shown here are embellished with two-tone eccentric coils whose outer rings have been cut and curled. The round ones carry die-cut 'swirls' which I created using an interesting snake-skin effect paper that I have had in my craft room for ages. Before adding the silver rings and earring wires, I coated all the pieces with clear nail varnish to protect them.

Well, I took all three to the market this morning, and my friend who had originally asked about blue earrings was there. She bought the heart-shaped ones, and was very tempted by the round ones as well (although she did not buy them - YET!!) But at least now I have two new additions remaining in my stock, and will no doubt make some more in the coming days.

Meanwhile, I am anxiously waiting for news regarding the safe arrival of the parcel containing my NAQG competition entries in Pennsylvania, USA. To say that I am disgusted with our UK Royal Mail's so-called 'track and trace' service would be an understatement! I posted the parcel on Monday, and according to the Royal Mail's totally useless tracking website, it has been sitting at the UK international sorting office ever since, being "prepared for shipment". I was beginning to despair that my parcel would ever begin on its transatlantic journey, let alone arrive at its destination, until I logged on to the US Postal Service's website today and discovered that it had in fact already crossed the Atlantic and arrived in New York on Wednesday! So there is hope yet, and the wonderful USPS website has even allowed me to register my email address so that I can receive further updates automatically. Why our UK postal service cannot manage to do this is beyond me, and I have experienced a miserable few days believing my parcel to have fallen down a 'black hole'. Well, at least now I know that it's on the right continent!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Marvellous marbling!

At last, this week I have been able to get back to some card-making again! I have sent off the parcel containing my entries for the NAQGCON competitions ... I have finished tidying up and rearranging my craft room following some redecoration work (the roof had been leaking!!) ... and now it feels just like a new beginning!

Last week I came across some copyright-free images of marbled papers (the kind that you find inside the leather-bound covers of old books), courtesy of the Photoshop Roadmap site. It immediately struck me what marvellous backgrounds these would make for quilling, especially when printed at different levels of opacity as I have done on these two cards:

The marbling effect in the first one is just like rippling water, and I managed to get the ripples to flow through from the background (printed at 50% opacity) to the foreground (printed at 100% opacity). Then I added an abstract quilled motif featuring some gold-edged black and metallic-edged blue strips , with a few twists and turns thrown in!

For the second card, I added a quilled embellishment featuring one of my 'cut eccentric coils' made from strips whose colours were chosen to match the marbling. The gold swirl was cut out using a Cuttlebug die, and I've also added a small strip of lace for good measure - not my usual style, perhaps, but I'm really quite pleased with the result.


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