Friday, July 31, 2009

Rhymes with Magic

Some people are just so clever!

Librarian by day and art-maker by night, Heather of the Etsy shop, Rhymes with Magic, is one cool paper artist. Not only does she sell a line of beautifully constructed paper bead jewelry, each piece featuring a nifty, book-related saying... Ha! Love it.Drink in Words (Latin)Stranger Than Fiction
Accidental Librarian

but now she has devised custom book art.I'd been reading along as Heather blogged about her experiments in book origami. Since she was already able to fold aged book pages into wonderful wall art patterns...I never doubted for a moment that she would be able to work out a way of completing the full alphabet.

click on pic for the full effect!

And now that she can make each and every letter, send Heather the word or name of your choice and she'll turn an unloved, 'rescued' book into a personalized art statement.

A few more of Heather's paper and book-related works - ornaments and even a play on the pocketbook... she's an endless well of creativity, that one.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer Quilling Projects

No doubt about it, this is my favorite time of year here in the Northern Hemisphere. We're at the height of our summer temperatures, so it's the perfect time for this beachy post.

Quilled Fish Pendant

Perhaps you remember the starfish and shell pendants tutorial I wrote for (March 2016: updated to say the tutorial can now be found here on All Things Paper as Folding Trees has closed up shop.) I thought you might like to see a couple of other sea-themed styles I made for the same order last autumn. A friend who lives on the coast of Maine had asked me to design them for her to give as gifts and I was delighted to take on the challenge.

Quilled Fish Pendant
There's nothing quite like tackling a new project such as this... I'm always excited, and quite honestly a little bit anxious about whether the end result will be what I've envisioned.

Quilled Fish and Seashell Pendants
I begin by googling images of the object and ideas start to flow; soon I'm sketching out a design and then rolling and pinching paper strips. I love seeing the form take shape and even though the finished result often isn't the same as the initial sketch, that's okay!

Starfish Quilled Pendant Tutorial

Here's a card project from several years ago that's in keeping with today's sea theme. It's a lot busier than my usual fare (and forgive the blurry photo) but I enjoyed making it nonetheless.

Quilled Beach Scene Card

I'd joined a group swap and the challenge was to make something that would identify where I lived. Since my state is bordered in part by the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay, I decided to quill a beach scene with an oversized sand bucket of Delaware blue crabs front and center. They're oh so delicious at this time of year. Wait... but they're not blue, you say? Just like shrimp, crabs turn a glorious shade of red-orange when steamed, but I bet you knew that.

Hmm... perhaps I should quill a gilded crab pendant. I can see it now... the poor crab, hanging by a claw, grabbing onto the necklace for dear life.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rag and Bone Bindery

Jason Thompson, owner of Rag and Bone Bindery, is someone I might not have discovered if not for Twitter. Jason (screen name bindery) often links to intriguing paper artists on his blog and sometimes posts enticing pictures of his own paper crafting projects.

Jason started his handcrafted book studio in 1991. Dedicated to the art of bookbinding, paper arts, book arts, and journaling, he and a small number of skilled artisans create archival photo albums, journals, guest books, and baby books. With "Made By Hands" as their slogan, the beautiful books are sold in American gift shops, stationery stores, galleries, and photo studios, as well as via the company's website.I love the story Jason relates of how he became interested in bookbinding and am impressed that he's been able to parlay his affinity for handcrafted books into a viable business.

"The first ever hand bound book I can remember holding in my hands was the book given to me by Ilira, my then girlfriend (and now wife!), for my 23rd birthday. It's a book she made completely by hand with materials and tools available at local art stores. She even marbleized her own paper - how cool is that?""I was impressed by the complexity and simplicity of the book and I decided to venture to learn this 'lost art' of bookbinding myself. The idea of making a book solely by hand immediately appealed to me. It's both an art and a craft and though the process is quite simple, it can take many years to acquire the skills necessary to execute a well bound book at every attempt."Be sure to read the interesting (and exhausting!) process Jason and his employees braved as Rag and Bone's present location, a 10,000 square foot 1900 mill building in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, was renovated.
Jason's next exciting venture will be the release of his newest book, Playing with Books - Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book. I'm delighted to show you sneak peeks of some of the projects Jason created for the book and am anxiously awaiting the tutorials!I admire his spare, elegant designs and use of subdued color. Published by Quarry, the book will be available in 2010.
photo credit: Courtesy Jason Thompson / Photography Karen Philipi

Friday, July 24, 2009

Christmas in July - Christmas Card Tutorial

Here's a really simple, but unique Christmas card idea - paper beads form the shape of a stylized tree.

Paper Bead Christmas Tree Card Tutorial

I'm a fan of cards with a minimalistic look, especially if there's a bit of shine to take away from the starkness. This one is metallic silver and gold on white, but it would also be pretty in silver and navy or perhaps sage green and light blue... or any of a zillion other combinations, whatever you happen to like.


Cardstock - white
Metallic paper sheets - gold, silver - fairly lightweight so it rolls smoothly; not cardstock
Quilling paper - gold, silver 1/8 inch strips (called Quill Trim; available from online quilling suppliers) or cut 1/8 inch strips from sheets of metallic paper
Silver foil - the textured kind from yogurt containers works well
Wire rod - thin and strong; a cake/muffin tester works too
Paper cutter
Paper trimmer
Punch - tiny star; I used the Fiskars Corner Punch/Snowflakes
Plastic lid
- to use as glue palette
T-pin - to apply glue to beads and star
Glue - any kind suitable for paper beadmaking; my new favorite is Elmer's Clear School Glue
Glue Stick or double-sided tape - to adhere card layers
Damp cloth - to keep fingers free of glue


1. Cut and fold a 10 inch x 7 inch piece of cardstock to make a 5 x 7 card (perfect size for a standard frame - perhaps the recipient will decide to frame it!)

2. Glue 2 gold and 3 silver strips lengthwise down the center of the card. Start by marking the 2 1/2 inch center point at top and bottom of card; glue silver strip in place using marks as a guide. Space remaining strips 1/8 inch apart, alternating colors.

3. Cut a 3 inch x 3 1/2 inch rectangle of gold paper; center and glue in place as shown, about 1 1/2 inches from top of card.

4. Cut a 2 inch x 3 1/2 inch rectangle of silver paper. Crimp and glue to center of gold rectangle; press gently in place without compressing crimps. If the paper crimps unevenly at first, continue running the same rectangle through the crimper until you get straight, horizontal lines; sometimes it takes a few tries. The same piece of paper can be re-crimped over and over without harm.5. Draw and cut out six pennant-shaped triangles of gold paper in graduated sizes. They should measure 1 1/2", 1 1/4", 1", 3/4", 1/2", and 3/8" at the widest end of triangle; sides measure 3 inches in length. Use paper trimmer or scissors to cut them.6. Roll each bead on the wire rod; start with wide end of triangle and use firm, even pressure while rolling. Glue tip of triangle at center point. Slide bead off wire.

7. Glue beads between silver paper crimps, referring to picture for placement. For gluing ease, spread a thin layer of glue on a plastic lid. Use tweezers to hold bead and touch it to the glue. Place bead directly on the card, nestling it between crimps.

8. Punch and glue star (I used a small snowflake) as tree topper.

9. Cut a 1 inch x 1/4 inch piece of gold paper; roll on wire rod. Allow it to relax slightly and slide it off wire. Glue end and flatten the roll gently. Glue vertically below tree as a trunk.

Just think, if you make some cards now, you'll be that much ahead of the game come the truly frenzied, creative time in December!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Paper Art and Paper Craft via Twitter

There's no place like Twitter if you enjoy learning all sorts of new things; a constant stream of tantalizing links flows by.

Graphic and paper artist, Patricia Zapata (Twitter name alittlehut) tweeted yesterday about these cute woven shoes. Designed by Colin Lin and manufactured by a company called All Black, they're made of... can you guess?... newspaper!

Recycled strips of newsprint are folded and woven in a lattice pattern by Chinese cottage industry artisans (who we trust are being paid a fair wage) and then dipped in plastic for durability in a Taiwanese factory.

One thing led to another, as they sometimes do... not an hour later I noticed I had a new Twitter follower, bookbinder Sarah Hindmarch (repaper). Skimming her recent tweets, I noticed this intriguing one: Museum conservation gets some love, Slate takes a look at the trouble with plastic art. 

So I clicked on the link and came across this food for thought:

"Worst of all, when plastics weep and bleed they can corrupt everything around them. Chemicals evaporate from their surface and acidify any moisture inside a display case. This causes mini bouts of acid rain that in turn eat away at the plastic in nearby objects—as well as any cloth, metal, or paper in those objects."

Coating newspaper shoes in plastic for durability makes sense, but what will happen over time to quilling paper that's been sprayed with an acrylic fixative? It would be a shame if what is often used to "protect" the paper actually does more harm than good.

Since we know that some paper filigree pieces from the 1700s have held up quite well when kept in controlled humidity and light conditions, I personally think it's best to coat only those paper filigree pieces that will receive much handling, but not those that I'd like to last more than a couple of decades.
And speaking of quilling that's been well preserved, you might remember my mention of this antique piece. It was blogged about on Give It a Twirl recently.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rolled Paper Art by Licia Politis

First off, many thanks to the lovely folks at Folding Trees who featured my Ring of Keys last week. And a warm welcome to those of you who've found your way here via that post or from Craft, paper crave, and all the other sites that linked to it.

I could definitely relate to what was said about quilling having more uses than making flowers. Always on a quest to find novel applications of rolled and shaped paper, I love coming across others who quill the unexpected.

Licia Politis is one who not only makes flowers and pretty beads; she also has the ability to create unique paper art. Here's a beautiful piece she quilled; it's called Fruitful. It was awarded first place at Australia's 2007 Sydney Royal Easter Show and Royal Queensland Show, and first place at the 2007 North American Quilling Guild competition. It was also featured on Martha Stewart's television show, at the Museum of Bribane, and Hazelhurst Gallery in Gymea, New South Wales. I like the juxtaposition of combining crimping, a technique often seen in antique quilling, with the bright, modern fruit. The pineapple uses a technique Licia devised called the vortex coil.

You may have already seen a standard quilled chess set if you're familiar with the kit that's available from many online suppliers. Licia's set is exceptional because she cleverly designed it with her homeland in mind.
She chose icons of Sydney to represent the chess pieces - the Harbour Bridge as the queen, Centrepoint Tower (Sydney's tallest building) as the king, the Opera House as rooks, cockatoos on perch as bishops, kangaroos and joeys as knights, and echidnas (spiny anteaters) as pawns.
Licia found inspiration for the beautiful green and gold board (Australia's colors) in the work of Australian illustrator/conservationist/feminist May Gibbs. May's famous flannel flowers and gum leaves make up the checkerboard pattern. The set took her about three months of spare time to complete and matte finish varnish protects the board and pieces.

Licia also won several well-deserved awards for the chess set, including the 2004 English Quilling Guild's Rose Bowl, first prize in the Sydney Royal Easter Show, overall prize of Excellence in the Sydney Paper Art Festival, and she was featured as Artist of the Month in an exhibition at Hazelhurst Gallery.Just like Yulia Brodskaya, Licia is bringing well-deserved attention to paper filigree. The countless ways coils and scrolls can be arranged make it an incredibly versatile medium.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Le Papier Studio

I've long been a fan of silhouettes; in fact, a favorite souvenir from a trip we took to Disney World is this papercutting of our sons. Snip, snip, snip... in just a few minutes a talented artisan with a pair of scissors and a sheet of black paper accurately captured their likenesses.
Fast forward twenty years or so to today's digital technology. I came across Le Papier Studio website and blog and knew I wanted to feature Vana Chupp's work.

A graphic designer who specializes in digitally drawn silhouettes, Vana places the images on handmade personalized stationery, invitations, birth announcements, and even pillows and totes. She offers so many beautifully presented options... these little notecards, for example. Perhaps the paper flowers played a part in capturing my attention?! The cards come packaged in the little paper suitcase, by the way.

I love this modern take on a family portrait.
Something very special that Vana can do is a custom silhouette based on your photograph. And lest you think the cost for something so unique is prohibitive, there's a one-time $10 fee for each custom silhouette.

What a perfect image for an engagement announcement or save-the-date card.

Here's a print of a sweet pair of sisters... Of course pets can be featured too.
And finally, something brand new is a line of polished glass necklace pendants... the epitome of personalized elegance.In case you're wondering as I was, the images are sealed inside the glass... magical.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Weaving Un-Loomed

Remember when I recommended several craft podcasts recently? The multi-talented Craftypod owner, Diane Gilleland, is the creator of a brand new e-book that looks simply wonderful. Read lots about Weaving Un-Loomed, see pictures of all of the book's projects on her blog, and even download one for free!

This pendant/bracelet speaks to paper lovers like me... I've been wondering how to make these nifty little squares of woven paper so the ends aren't all untucked and fly-away. Diane's tutorial easily solves the mystery.I'm not exaggerating when I say every project is appealing and useful. Something tells me Diane is getting dangerously close to pulling me away from my one track paper mind. Beautifully presented with clear instructions and perfect pictures, there's also the neatest e-book feature I've seen yet... order the entire book or individual projects. And when printing out directions, I like the ink-saving pictureless option.

At the risk of this post sounding like a Diane lovefest / infomercial, I can't help but mention she has another brand new book that will be released on July 21st. Judging a book by its {gorgeous} cover might not be the best idea, but I think we're safe when it's Diane's crafty hands doing the making. Kanzashi in Bloom can be pre-ordered from Amazon. Hmmm, perhaps some of the enticing flower designs can also be created with paper... I'm anxiously awaiting release day to check out what's inside!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Stitched Card

Several summers ago I came across a wonderfully instructive site/shop in England called Card Inspirations. A bonus was its small, but active forum comprised of a group of cardies who posted with enjoyable British wit and helpful info. I loved every minute spent at that address.

Iris folding, spirella, teabag folding, embossing... all were new terms to me, and soon I was trying every idea that was presented. The site is under new ownership and has changed quite a lot over time, but I was delighted to find the original technique tutorials are still available. This is a card I made for a group swap fairly soon after discovering paper filigree and the CI site. Perhaps it looks complicated, but what I'd like you to take away from this post is that it honestly doesn't take a huge amount of time to learn to quill or stitch. If you'd like to make a card like this, refer back to my tutorial for flower directions; combine them with the free stitching template and instructions from Card Inspirations, available here.

The border design is made up of tight coils and S scrolls. Tight coils are made the very same way as flower centers. To make an S scroll, roll one end of a 2.5 inch strip toward the strip's center and let the coil relax. Turn paper over and roll the opposite end to meet the first coil. Allow the strip to relax, forming an S shape.

A great resource for paper filigree tips - one I still refer to from time to time - is the Quilling Corner at

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Castle on the Ocean

Pictures of this incredible paper castle have been circulating the internet faster than wildfire in recent days. If you haven't already seen it, you'll soon understand why it's generating so much enthusiasm. Such incredible detail; it has spires, a roller coaster, and a moving train - all made of paper.

Wataru Itou, an art student in Tokyo, created it by hand over a four year period. Rightfully titled A Castle On the Ocean, it's currently on exhibit at Umihotaru, a most unusual place - artificial island/parking lot/service area - located literally on the ocean between Tokyo City and Chiba Prefecture.Read about the paper castle and Umihotaru, as well as see many more beautiful photos on the fascinating blog, Tokyobling.

photo credit: Tokyobling

Monday, July 6, 2009

Paper love

A few beautiful things to gently bring us back to reality after the holiday weekend...

Large paper lanterns grace the ceiling at Taka, a Japanese restaurant at the Jersey shore.

Pear and apple Kudamemo sticky notes spotted on Kok-design would surely make the paperwork on your desk a little easier to bear.

Enjoy a sweet Post-it Love short.

Appears courtesy of Academy Films
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