Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Festive Quilled Ornaments - Mirror Paper

Beth Reece was inspired by my rolled paper ornament tutorial to make a bright and shiny version that would be perfect as New Year's Eve decorations. I'd be tempted to leave them up all winter just to cast some cheer on dreary days!


Beth used English mirror paper strips that are available in packages of silver, gold, or multi-color, and then glued on Swarovski crystals for extra pizzazz.

Wishing you all things good in the new year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Paper Croissant Story, A Stop Motion Cupcake, and Folded Paper Table Decor

Perhaps you'll recall the deceptively delicious croissant that Justina Yang was inspired to make after spying bark-like wrapping paper at an art supply store.


Her creativity certainly didn't stop there... take a look at Justina's new and delightful 'making of'' video.

Prefer a sweet treat? Justina hand-cut and stacked 300 layers of paper to whip up a convincing cupcake - frosting and sprinkles included.


You can even forward it to your friends as a stop motion holiday greeting!

And last, but definitely not least...


Justina shows lovely ways to dress a festive table all winter long with paper bracelet napkin rings and wreaths. Print out the template and see exactly how to do the easy folds via this video.

Justina, thanks so much for sharing the links with us.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!


Wishing you a Christmas that sparkles with love, peace, and joy. There's no better time to thank you for visiting here and sharing in my enthusiasm for all thing paper... your presence is a treasured gift. Warmest wishes for happy holidays and a wonderful new year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Color Palette - Pink and Green

How do you feel about stepping away from traditional Christmas colors? Instead of vivid red and green, some years I find myself leaning toward burgundy and spruce. Then again, pink and light green are a fresh alternative with a welcome hint of spring. Okay, I'm pushing things already talking about warmer weather here in the mid-Atlantic states, but in my defense it was an unheard of and very welcome 70 degrees this past weekend!


Because Christmas is celebrated at the height of summer in Australia, pastels seem especially fitting there. Licia Politis of Sydney, who is always making pretty things, was inspired by Mondocherry to cut and fold paper hearts to decorate Christmas cards and added tiny quilled coils as ornaments.


Then she made these leafy wreaths after seeing a DIY project shared by Sweet Paul.


And Licia had the idea to make tissue paper tassels as tree ornaments and also made some folded books and artichoke ornaments.


Bottle brush trees have been super popular around blogland this holiday season. Here's another take on pink and green... Casey Starks of Vitamini Handmade shows how to dip-dye the little trees, taking them from typical dark green to pink ombre and uses some as gift toppers with cute paper flag tags.


But truth be told, the main reason I love pink and green at Christmas is because I'm reminded of favorite cookies from my childhood. Mom always made Swedish cream wafers with tinted icing. My sister baked this batch for a contest at her office a few days ago and I'm hoping she saved some for us to sample on Christmas. Just two more sleeps until the big day, can you believe it?!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Scandinavian Wood Shaving Ornaments

I'm stepping outside my paper box today to show you a different type of Christmas ornament I made recently. I think they just might appeal to all of you paper rollers out there.


I'd occasionally seen Scandinavian curled wood ornaments in magazines and admired them - yes, my love for scrolls runs deep - but I never would have guessed I'd have the chance to make some of my own; wood shavings aren't exactly something I run across in my little world too often. But things changed when I read a post on Pam Harris's blog, Gingerbread Snowflakes, that led me to a wonderful supplier.


Jan Dolland in Michigan has been making wood shaving ornaments for years and offers a kit that comes with perfectly curled shavings along with a dozen clips to hold them in place while the glue sets and also hanging strings. Read much more about Jan, the kits, and how to place an order here.
(By the way, this is not a sponsored post - I just happened to love the kit I ordered and wanted to share the results with you.)


Look at all those lovely, plump curls! The only additional necessary things are white glue and a needle to make holes for the hanging strings. I used Crafter's Pick, The Ultimate and applied it with my handy-dandy paper piercing tool. There's an instruction sheet and photos of completed designs to get you started.


Seriously, making the ornaments is a lot like assembling quilled coils, but without the tedious rolling part. You can relax the curls by soaking the strips in water for a few minutes to create hearts and stars. I spent several happy hours at my kitchen table during last weekend's snowstorm and this was the result.


After making quite a few of the suggested ornaments, I branched out and made a tree and butterfly. Then I jazzed things up with red/white and black/white paper twine from Linda at Paperphine and tartan ribbons from a pal in Edinburgh as hanging loops... so this batch is a cultural melting pot - Scandinavian/Austrian/Scottish!


After practicing with wood shavings, perhaps the next step is inlaid wood? I don't think I have nearly enough patience, but can definitely appreciate the complexity and perfection of this design created by Gomel Tsekunov Vladimir V. See many more examples of his work at this Russian art site, keeping in mind that wood isn't nearly as flexible as paper. What remarkable dedication to one's craft!


I hope you'll have a great weekend. I'm looking forward to wrapping packages and tying on ornaments as little extras.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

6 Last Minute Christmas Paper Craft DIYs

We're getting pretty close to the wire now, but if you still have a yen to make something pretty for Christmas, here are some of my all-time favorite decorating ideas that are quick to do, but make a big impact.


Clockwise from top left:
1. Candle luminaries are a sample project from All Things Paper as shared on Kollabora. Designed by Kristen Magee, I love that the use of ordinary copy paper and hole punches can result in something so elegant.

2. While rummaging in the attic for tree decorations, don't throw away discolored balls. Just cover them with punched circles to make artichoke-style ornaments. Allison Patrick came up with this clever idea and used colorful flower images that look pretty year-round.

3. ConfettiPop shows how to turn dull paper mache cones into stylish, colorblocked decor with a little paint and glitter.

4. These simple paper strip ornaments are longtime favorites. Willowday makes hers extra special with the addition of a tiny bell.

5. A new-to-me blog is Urban Comfort. Suzonne Stirling designs projects for popular magazines and shares ideas via gorgeous photos and tutorials - these folded stars, for example.

6. Another beautiful site is Ebony Snow Chafey's Snow & Graham... this holly wall is a great idea! You can even replace the berries with paper rosettes after the holidays to make a meadow wall.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Rolled Paper Christmas Ornament Tutorial

Here's a new way to use quilling paper to make Christmas ornaments. If you've never tried 3D quilling, you just might be hooked by the time you've made one or two!

Rolled Paper Ornament Tutorial

Roll metallic strips (they come in beautiful colors... silver, gold, copper, jewel tones, and pastels) into flat discs and shape them with your fingers, plus smaller tools you happen to have.

Rolled Paper Ornament Tutorial

I use an assortment of makeshift tools... the rounded end of a quilling tool or paintbrush handle, glass head pin, and the pointy tip of a paper piercer for the smallest coils.


There's no right or wrong way; just have fun mixing and matching shapes and colors. A finished ornament will be about 3 inches long, lightweight (it's hollow), yet very durable.

Here are the instructions with tips to help make the process go smoothly:


1. Start by rolling five or six full length strips (each is 1/8 inch wide and about 17-25 inches long depending on the manufacturer) into a flat disc using a regular slotted quilling tool. When the end of the first strip is reached, tuck the next strip about 3/4 inch under the loose end and continue rolling. Repeat with the remaining strips and glue end in place. Repeat the process to make a second disc, same size as the first. These will be the largest top and bottom parts of the ornament.

a. Use even, but relaxed tension while rolling.
b. A Curling Coach can be handy when rolling large discs.
c. To ensure a disc is perfectly smooth, place it on a flat surface and roll back and forth across it a few times with a tool handle.

2. Shape discs: Holding opposite sides between thumbs and index fingers, gently push on the flat surface to curve it or push to a point.

a. Work the paper gradually so that the sides of the shape look balanced and smooth.
b. Try not to push too hard as there's a chance the center of the coil will pop out and and the coil will usually need to be re-rolled. Nooooo.


3. Make smaller components: The small top and bottom domed cones and pointed coils are rolled with a slotted tool using short lengths of paper, anywhere from 2.5 to 17 inches (approximate). Experiment with different tool handles and make a variety of stackable shapes.

4. Apply a thin coating of glue inside each coil with a small paintbrush. Clear the center hole of each top coil with a needle so the cording can pass through. Allow glue to dry before the next step.


5. Before gluing the top and bottom halves together, cut a 10-inch length of metallic ornament cording, thread it on a needle and insert from the underside of the top half. When the needle is all the way through, put it back down through the same hole to create a hanging loop. Tie a double knot on the underside, clip excess cording, and pull up on the loop so the knot is snug.

Tip: Two-ply fine cording will making needle threading easier. The gold I used is three ply and it was a bit of a challenge to get it through the ornament. Yay for a thimble.


6. Assemble components: Touch a coil's edge to a shallow puddle of glue. (I use a jar lid to hold glue.) Position it on another component, eyeballing to make sure it's level, hold in place for a few moments, and set aside to allow glue to dry.

Tip: For a neat look, align the strip ends of each component. Consider this area the back of the ornament.

7. Last step! Glue two 3.5-inch strips together to double their strength. When the glue is dry, run the strip through a crimper and glue it around the center of the ornament. Closely align ends and trim excess paper.

Tip: Work with a light touch to not crush the crimps.

My all-time favorite tip: Sticky fingers cause 99% of the frustration when working with paper, so keep a damp cloth handy. Guaranteed to work wonders for your sanity.

Rolled Paper Ornament Tutorial

And that's it! Soon you'll have a little collection of gift-worthy ornaments. They look beautiful when tied on a package and even prettier on the tree. There are so many gorgeous metallic quilling paper colors... I used what I had on hand - silver, gold, charcoal, and blue - but I want to try all of the others too. You can make about five ornaments from each package of paper so they are quite inexpensive.

I used gilded-edge paper on parts of this one for an extra bit of shine.

Rolled Paper Ornament Tutorial

While I was rolling away, I happened to think that the ornament shapes remind me of a plumb bob (a weight used to establish a vertical line). I wasn't sure I had the right term in mind, so googled it to make sure.

Plumb Bobs

In a flash I came upon Haesche Collectibles. Joseph Haesche in Connecticut crafts incredibly beautiful reproductions of antique plumb bobs from bronze, brass, ivory, ebony, steel, and rosewood. Just amazing and look at all of the shape inspiration!

Rolled Paper Ornament Tutorial

Humor me with this last photo... the ornaments are a little blurry, but because I braved the snowy outdoors to show them on a tree (ours isn't up yet), I'm going to post it anyway. Must have piqued the neighbors' curiosity, ha!

I hope you'll enjoy making some plumb bob ornaments for your own personal use from quilling paper. More paper Christmas ornament tutorials can be found here, here and here. You can even make miniature rolled paper ornies to wear as a necklace instead.

Oh! I just learned that Cut Out + Keep is featuring All Things Paper, the book, this week. They're sharing two sample projects and a 3-copy giveaway is underway through December 30th - nice!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Paper Sculpture Artist - Patty Grazini

One day last week I happened to think about paper artist Patty Grazini. Each of the past seven years in November and December she has exhibited an extraordinary collection of figures sculpted entirely from paper at Curtis Steiner in Seattle. What did she work on in 2013? Believe it or not, the very next day I heard from Patty - kismet!

 Bella Rosenfeld, muse of Marc Chagall
photo by the artist

She wrote to introduce her newest paper art display, which is called The Artists' Muse.


Once again Patty has created a spellbinding group of historical garments, detailed to the nth degree as only she can do.


Patty said she found this to be a particularly interesting group because it combined her interests in art history, biography, and paper sculpture.

Saskia Van Uylenburgh, Rembrandt van Rign's wife
photo by the artist

She began by researching many artists from different periods and countries with the intent of creating in paper the models or muses who inspired specific paintings. Saskia, Rembrandt's wife, was her historical starting point and Dora Maar, Picasso's muse, is the most recent figure.

Dora Maar, Pablo Picasso's muse
photo by the artist

Patty interpreted each woman as if she has just stepped from the painting. She is wearing the same outfit complete with accessories, and every detail has been wondrously recreated with paper. There are hats, shoes, jewelry, bows, buttons, bouquets, vases, fruit, furniture, and even a dog. Behind each muse stands a printed image of the painting that inspired the piece, mounted in a handmade paper frame.


A biography of the muse and her relationship with the artist is placed near the figure. Liberties have been taken with some of the clothing, but Patty did her best to create a sense of connection between the painting and sculpture.

I asked Patty about the size of the figures, accessories, and also their construction, as I was curious if the paper garments were sewn or glued.

The thirteen figures are 15 inches tall and the paintings on their stands are about 20-25 inches tall. Bella Rosenfeld's and Marc Chagall's shoes are tiny at just over an inch in length. I had to use magnifying glasses and tweezers when I worked on them. Everything is glued. I have a background in sewing, so it was easy for me to make the patterns for each part of the clothing. Setting the sleeves was the most difficult part.

 Hazel Martyn, wife of Sir John Lavery
photo by the artist

I also asked if she becomes attached to these figures with whom she spends so much time.

I don't have trouble letting the work go. The process is really what I like most. I would rather my work be enjoyed than kept by me. 

 Victorine Louise Meurent, muse of Edouard Manet
photo by the artist


Patty describes the purpose of the the collection this way: It's my goal to give a voice to an overlooked component of famous paintings, and through my artwork, illuminate some of history's forgotten subjects. I hope that the viewer is not only moved by the intricacies of detail that I put into my work, but will learn something about the women who inspired, nurtured, and loved the artists who created some of the most beautiful paintings ever made.   



Although I usually think it's best to see art in person, the detail images shown here, taken by a friend of Patty's, Jennifer Kennard, provide us with a bird's eye view. Read Jennifer's post in which she describes a visit to the gallery and see additional photos on her blog, Letterology.

Lydia Delectorskaya, muse of Henri Matisse


Previous posts about Patty's exhibits can be found here and here.

All photographs by Jennifer Kennard except for those by the artist, as noted.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Paper Craft Tutorial Round Up

Ah Christmas! Ahhh paper crafting! I don't know about you, but I have a few projects in the works at the moment and ideas for more are skittering around in my head. No doubt time will run out before I get to all of them, but just in case you're looking for something new to make, perhaps one or more of these pretties will catch your eye.


Clockwise from top left:
1. Tiered Garland Ornament - this is a sample project from All Things Paper - the book, as shared on Kollabora. Designed by Patricia Zapata, I love the way it looks like an edgy, abstract pine cone. By the way, Patricia just won the national 2013 Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper Contest in New York City this past Friday. Her uncluttered style has always wowed me and apparently it was the same with the judges. Congratulations Patricia!

2. Paper Diamonds - Geometrics are everywhere, so why not hang some on your tree? The Swedish blog Pysselbolaget shows how to make these super-stylish gems.

3. Winter Animal Cup Cozies - So darn cute! Victoria of A Subtle Revelry shared four animals that were designed and photographed by Sibylle of Funkytime.

4. Snowflake Ballerina - Lea of Heart Stone Paper shares cut paper snowflakes (actually, she uses stone paper!) and uses them to dress up paper doll ballerinas, an idea from Tanya Ahmed as shown on Krokotak

5. Pop Up Snowflake Card - Elod Beregszaszi of Popupology explains how to make this pretty cut paper card and also a similarly shaped cut paper tree ornament.

6.  Paper Star Garland - Marie of Scissors and Spoons shows how to make golden stars with interlocking shapes to string on a garland.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Quilled Snowflake Pattern and Quilled Christmas Ornaments

It's becoming a tradition to feature Beth Reece's beautiful quilling each December. You'll find previous posts here: quilled Christmas ornaments and mandalas and here: quilled wreath, but before clicking over, enjoy these quilled tree ornaments she's been making this holiday season.

Quilled Wreath

Beth uses metallic-edge quilling paper to great effect and often adds strips she runs through a paper crimper.

Quilled Ornament

She likes to glue on Swarovski flat back crystals as they catch the light and sparkle.

Quilled Mandala Ornament

 Quilled Angel

Cute birds! She used the quilling beehive technique to fill in the largest one's body.

Quilled Bird Ornaments

Beth even found time to make all of these little red poinsettias to hang individually.
Quilled Poinsettias

She loves to make quilled snowflakes too, as this showstopper wreath proves.

Quilled Snowflake Wreath

I asked Beth if she would share one of her patterns and lucky for us, she agreed - thank you, Beth! This snowflake measures about 2.5 inches across - beautiful, yet not too complicated for beginners.

Quilled Snowflake Tutorial

If you're new to the art, this quilling 101 tutorial I wrote goes over basic techniques and tools. There's no need to buy quilling paper if you would like to get started right away. 1/8 inch strips cut from a sheet of printer paper will be fine for practice; use a paper cutter or a cutting mat, craft knife, and metal ruler. True quilling paper is a little thicker and softer than printer paper, and strips measure 17-25 inches in length depending on the manufacturer. Beth likes to use Quilled Creations Bright White paper to make snowflakes as it is a bit heavier than other brands. You might want to print out a lined grid to use as a guide while assembling coils so your snowflake will be balanced.

This snowflake design includes eccentric teardrops - referring to photo, they are the coils with pointed tips, and V scrolls.

To make an eccentric teardrop:
Work on a corkboard or circle template. Pull the center of a loose (round) coil to one side with a straight pin. Push two pins into cork, one on each side of the coil, to secure the center. (Just one pin is needed for the circle template as it has a recessed lip to push against.) Apply a tiny amount of glue to this spot. When glue has dried, remove the pins. This new shape is called an eccentric loose coil. Pinch a sharp point opposite the glued area to create an eccentric teardrop.

To make a V scroll:
Fold strip in half and roll ends inward toward fold.

Ready, set, go!

Make the bottom layer:
1. Make a 10-inch (that's the strip length) eccentric teardrop. (make 12)
2. Make a 5-inch V scroll. (make 6)
3. Refer to photo:
a. Glue the base of a V scroll to the base of a 10-inch eccentric teardrop. Glue the V scroll ends to each side of the teardrop tip. (make 6) 
b. Glue these eccentric teardrop/V scroll combos in a circle with tips pointing outward.
c. Glue the base of a 10-inch eccentric teardrop between a V scroll's coiled ends. (repeat 6 times)

Make the top layer:
4. Crimp a ten-inch strip. Roll crimped strip on quilling tool and glue end.
5. Make a 5-inch eccentric teardrop. (make 6)
6. Refer to photo:
a. Glue the 5-inch eccentric teardrops around the crimped coil with points facing outward, spacing them evenly.
b. Glue this layer to the center of the bottom layer.

7. Glue a 5 mm crystal at the center of the crimped coil.
8. Glue a 3 mm crystal between each 5-inch eccentric teardrop. (6)

Here's a pretty variation... Beth sprinkled on clear micro-beads for a frosted look. She sometimes uses silver-edged or holofoil-edged strips to make snowflakes too.

Quilled Snowflake with Microbeads

To create a hanging loop for your ornament, fold a ten inch piece of fine metallic cord in half, insert the loop end through the tip of one outermost eccentric teardrop, catching a couple of the inner spirals for extra strength, bring the tails through the loop, and tie tails in a knot.

You might enjoy the series of five snowflakes that Cecelia Louie has been sharing on her blog Paper Zen recently She shows some fresh design ideas and offers a grid too.

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