I have a young friend who was dealing with anxiety last winter. In an attempt to find her tools that she could use in the highest stress moments, I quickly rolled up a small paper pendant to give her. I thought having something that someone put so much love into, something from a friend, that she could keep available during the day, might help. I used her favorite colors (shades of purple) and as I worked on it, I decided to work in a curve -- something she could rub her thumb into. It added a pleasant tactile element to the pendant and I immediately realized I had just made a worry stone. One of those great little items people like to tuck into pockets and touch or rub when under stress.
After that first one, I decided to add them to my product line. The rainbow design here was a special request and they turned out beautifully. The paper "worry stones' are small, and very colorful, and rather chunky, strung on an adjustable black cotton cord. Find them in my shop and if you're interested in colors you don't see there, get in touch. I'd love to make one special for you.
Back in the spring, I completed a custom quilled paper project: a wedding cake topper. I've made these before, but this was a special project because it was for Brian French of French Paper Company, a small paper company in Michigan making the most gorgeous line of paper I've ever encountered. I drooled over it as a graphic designer and often recommended their paper to my clients for print projects and used it for my own identity package.
Brian asked if I would be willing to create a cake topper for him and his fiancé, using all French Paper. It was a thrill and I accepted immediately. It was also a challenge: in my artwork, I use paper specifically made for quilling and I wondered how the French Paper would work and roll. But it worked beautifully and came in plenty of colors to allow me to reproduce a lovely miniature paper bouquet to match their wedding flowers, as well as wedding clothes, hair, and skin tones. It turned out beautifully.
Do you have a wedding coming up? These small and detailed figurines make stand out gifts, can be placed near the wedding guest book, and of course, work beautifully on top of a small cake! Contact me to get started.
The first custom paper quilled art piece I ever made was a mounted wedding invitation embellished with paper quilling, framed up, and given as a wedding present to the couple. It was full of bright, colorful wildflower-type florals and green scrolls and swirls.
To this day, I continue to make these personalized gifts for the wedding couple, ordered by aunts and sisters and mothers and friends of the wedding couple. They're highly customized with gorgeous details to match bouquets and wedding colors (I've even had a customer mail me a swatch from the bridesmaid dresses to get the color just right!). They're fun and time consuming and no two are alike.
Last month I did my first craft show. It involved some intense planning and creation of a display table. In the end, I went with a small 2x4' table, thinking that my work is SO small, how much space does tiny work really require? But displays take up space, and I think I could have given everything a little more elbow room.
But in the end, I was pretty pleased with how things came together and bonus! I ended up creating a whole new line of runnerbean products, including post earrings*! Now, I'm not much of an earring wearer. If I wear choose to wear a pair of earrings, those are the earrings I wear for months. My ears have always been sensitive to certain metals and when I was a teen, I always thought my face was far too busy and flashy what with glasses AND earrings...and yeah, that several years I also had braces. Sigh. FLASH!
These earrings are kinda cool though. They have titanium posts (hypoallergenic, so sensitive ears are comfortable), and a matte finish varnish. No flash, just color and a subtle swirl design! I have been playing with a glossy coating, though, for you gloss lovers out there so stay tuned.
So this was the display I created for my new line of stud earrings. You can find them in my etsy shop, and as aways friends, free standard shipping within the U.S.
Link in menu or click here to see the full new line of earrings
*Post earrings? Is that what they're called? Or stud earrings? Comment and let me know!
I've been playing around with the design of a worry stone for a while now, and then a sweet special person needed something she could have with her when needed, but didn't have pockets. This smaller worry stone pendant was born.
Gradients make me happy, and these little colorful gems are no exception. They are deliciously colorful. I want to use a soft cord with these and still need to decide which color to go with. My little friend got an organic cotton braid, which was lovely, but I had only a small amount from some years back. So far back that I have no idea where I got it, but, I'm looking at new options. These are not available in my shop yet, but if you're interested in one of them, get in touch and I can set it aside for you!
Today I went on a store-to-store search for paper punches; not dog bones and big ol' butterflies, but intricate tiny shapes. Specifically, I was looking for tiny kikyou-style floral shapes with flair, spirals and wavy shapes that could imitate lace. I'm working on a new custom project and have an ambitious goal of recreating a lace-look (stay tuned to see how that turns out). In the meantime, I've been gathering tools and experimenting.
See, in this photo above, this is a punch with a bunch of stars and dots. The stars are a cool, soft star shape and in a few sizes, but really, I bought this for those dots and the TINY starbursts and stars - not the bigger ones. Those are GOLD, baby! For me, at least. This lovely punch above is a Martha Stewart Crafts Punch Around the Page 'Starry Sky'.
The flower in the punched shapes above is from the same Martha Stewart line, but 'Flower Shower'. It can be really challenging to find micro-size punches, and these two have been a wonderful addition to my tool set.
After spending too much time online studying punches and inquiring about the size of that dot in the corner of the butterfly, I realized that size matters and I needed to see these things in person. There's a ton of paper punches available online, but if you need something specific you need to hold the punch in your hand. And possibly, carefully, pry open a package to get a look at the punch, itself.
Now, I live in northern Vermont, and maybe where you live, the stuff craft stores carry is different, and maybe you're lucky enough to have MORE stores, or even paper-specific small shops that carry a load of paper punches! If so, lucky! Here near Burlington, we have three choices (and oh my, if you live here and know of an awesome shop somewhere that I overlooked, please let me know!): good ol' Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics, and a relatively new to the mix A.C. Moore. Cool. I took my morning to visit all three and can now tell you what you'll find (or not) at each store!
First, I hit A.C. Moore - it's the furthest from me and I don't go there often because of that. A.C. Moore had a boatload of punches - a whole aisle, both sides had areas of different brands of punches and other paper cutting and embossing stuff. They carry the Martha Stewart Craft line. This is a big deal because Michaels no longer carries this line of craft supplies. So to find the MS punches at A.C. Moore was awesome since I had seen several punches online from MS that I thought might work for my needs and didn't know where I could find them in person. They also carry Fiskars punches, and ek tools punches. I was pretty psyched to have so many of the punches I had seen online right here for me to examine. A.C. Moore pretty much rocked for paper punches. I bought 4 and there were several more that I considered. I may go back. Total score.
Next up was JoAnn Fabrics. Now, I know it's JoAnn Fabrics, but I swear I've seen paper punches at this store in the past. Not today. Not only did they not have a single paper punch, but all their lovely sharp [fabric] scissors were locked up. Not sure who's going around swiping scissors so they felt this was a necessary step, but okay - I found this a deterrent to my browsing. A paper artist should just skip right over JoAnn's, unless you want to ask an employee to help you peruse the scissors - the embroidery scissors looked especially intriguing and fine tipped.
Lastly, I went to Michaels. Michaels seems to have decided to carry the largest SIZE punches they could find - lots of big, 1-2 inch circles and squares and tag shapes. Big, useless-to-me-today punches. They had the Fiskars punch I had already purchased at A.C. Moore, so that was almost cool. Nothing at all delicate or intricate in these punches.
I'll talk more another time about how I use punches in my miniatures, but for now, it's so good to know where to go to see a great selection.
I have a friend who runs a very cool business making custom family trees, called My Tree and Me. Her work is gorgeous and the design of her pieces is modern and fresh. I'm in love and would get one if I could puzzle out my roots. But if you know yours, or are keen to learn more, seriously, go check out her work!
So Jen and I meet every other week to talk business. The other week she suggested that I try placing some of my pieces under a glass dome to give them weight and presence. I wasn't sure, thinking it might look old fashioned, but oh man! Was she ever right! I ordered a bell jar with a base and set my latest bride/groom pair under it. It blew me away! I think I need to start offering these with my wedding cake toppers and I'm searching out mini ones for my little dolls.
I was thinking about dragonflies the other day. As I sat there daydreaming, I decided to try making a small and simple dragonfly. Bonus if it could be turned into a pendant (I haven't done pendants in a long time and didn't want to just take my journal charms and turn them into pendants, though, I think they could make rather cool necklaces...).
So I sat down and happened upon some cool colors and knocked it out! It came together so perfectly (using whole paper strip lengths and even numbers) and the splash of color as I created a whole fleet of dragonflies to cover my work surface was delicious! I have a few available in the shop and can still ship in time for Christmas with free shipping in the U.S.! Whoop! I think they would make sweet gifts for young girls or women who love color and dragonflies, of course!
I've completed a new bride and groom set. This pair was a challenge piece for me. I wanted to see what I could do. How far I could push my skills. I especially wanted to try making a veil for a bride, which I was pretty sure would fail (and by fail, I mean, look really stupid and awful), and wanted to find a way to make facial hair for the men.
Now, I don't make faces on my dolls. I never have (except for the dolls I've made for my daughter, who insisted on eyes and a mouth). I don't like them, preferring to have the faces be neutral and left up to your own imagination. A beard though, or a mustache, really makes a face. I've avoided that center hole, which is formed by the needle tool at the center of a paper roll, being the NOSE. I don't even think it's in quite the right spot to be a nose. But facial hair demands that those things like a mouth and nose, be defined. So it was a challenge!
But I'm really pleased with how both elements turned out. They're a beautiful pair and I learned SO much in creating them.