It was a privilege to quill this piece for an adorable baby girl. I attempted to coordinate the piece with the colors and theme of her nursery, but also wanted it to be something she could enjoy for years after she outgrows her nursery.
I primarily used colors from Lake City Craft’s Parchment collection, which are quite soft/pastel and were perfect for the look I was going for. The bolder colors were added via the bluebirds and dragonfly to make them pop a little. As usual, it was the formation of the letter that gave me the most trouble—I know it’s not a perfect “L,” but it was the best of all my attempts, so it stuck.
Surprisingly, I think the stemmed hearts hanging in front of the L are my favorite parts of this piece. They were added after I thought it was completed… I went away to eat some dinner; when I came back and looked at the piece one last time before framing it, I realized I wanted a little more movement without adding more color. The hearts did the trick! I also appreciate that a heart symbolizes love and this happens to be a very much-loved little girl so I knew I couldn’t go wrong there. 🙂 I then added several other hearts to the piece, which appear to be leaves for the flowers.
The first photo is just to show how tiny the roses are… I had never done little roses before and they were quite fun and looked lovely, if I may say so.
… and for the last name of the recipients of this piece! I am SO excited about this one, not because it’s perfect (far from it), but because I tried something NEW and really enjoyed it! Let me start at the beginning…
A friend of mine wanted a quilled gift for her in-laws and her only request was the it would have something to do with the letter A—other than that, she sort of let me do whatever I wanted. I mulled over ideas for close to 2 weeks before deciding on what you see below. My first thought was to locate the coat of arms attached to the family’s English surname and base something on that; however, I quickly realized that, due to the exceptionally ornate qualities of the coats of arms I found, it would be difficult and time consuming to translate them into quilling. So I simplified. I noticed that all of the coat of arms I found featured the color blue—further research taught me that blue in an English coats of arms stands for truth and loyalty. I liked that, so I decided that I would incorporate that color by simply making the background blue. A blue background also reminds me of the sky, which reminds me of outside, which reminds me of trees. And, if you have read just about any other post on this blog, you will know that I love to quill trees. So that is how I came to my 2nd big thought on how to do this project… lucky me, this family’s surname is also the name of a town in England, which is in a region known as Cambridgeshire, and upon researching Cambridgeshire, apple orchards were mentioned so I just went with that. Perfect… A’s all over the place and it’s still a way to reflect their family’s roots!
I started to sketch out some designs, but even with the blue background and the apple tree, the thing was still falling flat on reflecting any real meaning. That is when I took it one step further and thought not just about this family, but about “family” in general. For some reason, when I think of family, I think of seasons… is that just me? Surely I’m not the only one. Seasons, to me, represent the passage of time, it’s cyclical, and each season is beautiful in its own way. I have a hard time expressing exactly why all of this, in my mind, metaphorically links to the idea of family, but it does. Where I am originally from, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the biggest indicator of seasonal change is the trees, so that’s what I decided to use for this piece–an apple trees in each of the 4 seasons. As you can see, and this is where the NEW part comes in, all the quilling takes place inside of the letter. I got this idea from the website some famous quiller in the U.K. named Yulia (yeah… a famous quiller, at least it looks like quilling. To see why she is famous, visit this site—http://www.artyulia.com/). Anyway… building the A was tedious. Ridiculous, actually, and, even with all of the tedium, it didn’t turn out as well as I would’ve hoped, but it worked. I think. I kick myself for not getting photos of the constructing of the A… I used more pins and glue than you can imagine, and I’m pretty sure that’s not how Yulia does it. Anyway (again)… once the A was built, the rest was a dream! It was actually wonderful to have such a confined space reserved for quilling. I wanted it to most definitely look like it was the same tree reflected in all seasons, so I dedicated the more narrow side of the letter A to the trunk. Neither the trunk or the branches were quilled (tsk-tsk, I know!); instead, I cut them out of brown cardstock and just glued ’em on. It was, again, wonderful. Quilled trunks and branches are fun for me, but also scary because anything can happen… I sort just let the quilling do what it’s going to do in that situation, but when all I’m doing is cutting pieces out of cardstock, I’m in control. The branches are a single layer of paper, the trunk is multiple layers to give it a rougher look and texture. Then, as you can see, I depicted the seasons in order starting at the top with spring—apple blossoms, sparser and more lightly-colored leaves; then summer—full, red apples, fuller and darker leaves; autumn—leaves changing color, becoming more sparse; finally, winter–bare, snow-covered branches. The last thing I added to the piece, of course, were 2 singing bluebirds, to represent happiness and freedom. I could go more into the actual quilling techniques and whatnot, but since I’ve already done enough talking here, I’ll let the photos do the rest:
3 months is a long time to go without my beloved hobby… so when I was invited to a baby shower a couple weeks ago, I took it as a marvelous excuse to haul my quilling stuff out of storage. Yay!
The baby isn’t due until August, but the parents (who I met through my sister and brother-in-law, have become quite dear to me as well!) have her name and nursery theme all picked out, so those are the 2 things I used to create this piece.
Flowers and lots of color—a quiller’s dream come true! The photo below shows a sample of the fabric used in the nursery (so cute!):
I quilled flowers and butterflies to (sort of) match the fabric. This photo shows the work in progress; you can also see some of the tools used in quilling (the glue is sitting upside down in a jar on top of a damp sponge so that it can stay open between uses without it drying out—this method also keeps the glue right at the top of the bottle so it comes right out when I need it) :
Once I mounted the flowers and butterflies onto the paper, I (of course) added 2 happy little bluebirds and an H to complete the scene. Believe it or not, the H was the most difficult part of the project; I think it’s because the flowers and colors were all in front of me on the fabric sample—it’s fairly easy to look at something and copy it with quilling (at least in this case), but the H had to come from my own brain and I don’t have a lot of experience with uppercase H’s. 🙂 The only thing that I’ve changed since taking the photos is adding more glue under the H so it isn’t quite so ripply-looking on the parts that should be laying flat.
*happy sigh*… it was wonderful to quill again, and it was especially wonderful to quill for a little one who is already so close to my heart.
Quilling, in my opinion, seems to have an inherent “girly” quality to it, so when the opportunity came to quill a keepsake for a little boy who was about to turn 1-year-old, I took it on as a fun and interesting challenge! I decided to do an outdoor scene with an apple tree, complete with tire swing, and a small variety of toys sort of scattered around on the “grass” (which is painted). The tree was not my usual type with the swirling leaves; instead, I fringed several strips of green paper and made little pom-poms that filled in to create the green part of the tree. I also included an airplane in the scene because most little ones are quite taken by things that fly and airplanes also happen to be featured in this little guy’s nursery. The dragonfly was added right at the end when I needed something to put in that big blank space. I think if I were to do it over again, I would probably scrap the scene and just do the first initial of the child’s name much larger with maybe one or two quilled enhancements. The important thing is that the recipient (well, his mom anyway) really liked it, so I’m happy with it too!
We have been so busy preparing for my husband’s deployment and getting ready to move that I have done very little quilling in the last couple weeks; however, a friends’ baby’s baptism this past weekend proved to be an irresistible opportunity to take a short break and indulge myself in my favorite pastime!
The baby’s nursery is done in a Tiffany blue and brown color scheme with a bit of paisley/floral pattern. I designed this simple piece to go with the look of the rest of the room. I couldn’t help but add 2 little bluebirds! I think I set a record for myself on this one–1 hour and 25 minutes from start to finish (that includes the framing)!