Friday, 28 April 2017

Paper Quilling, by Elizabeth Moad. Review.

All the skills you need to make 20 beautiful projects

By Elizabeth Moad

Search Press 2017

Paperback UK £9.99/US $15.95

ISBN 978-1-78221-425-0

Star rating: *****

Quilling is papercrafter Elizabeth Moad’s area of expertise – and her brand new book of projects for newbies has lots of verve and variety. The 20 projects have a fresh, contemporary feel – they let the lace-like swirls and arabesques of the quilled shapes take centre stage, while avoiding decorative overload.

You will learn how to make and shape quilled coils, how to fashion mini-roses by twisting and turning quilling strips, and you will learn husking – how to form decorative loops of quilling paper by guiding the strips around strategically-placed pins in a foam board. Fringed quilling is also featured - this involves the use of a fringing gadget, probably the most expensive bit of kit in the quiller’s craft box (the rest of the quilling supplies are low-budget) the result: ever-popular fringed flowers – real showstoppers. Another clever technique is illustrated in the Wreath Card, in which a Border Buddy ™ tool, a shaped plastic support, is used to create a free-wheeling, Catherine-wheel effect. 

Elizabeth’s clever use of materials and innovative techniques include using decorative edging scissors to add interest to a quilling strip: result – rolled cone flowers. Flower motifs predominate because the organic curves of quilled forms lend themselves to natural shapes. There’s also a super-cute owl motif. The author knows just how to tweak her designs to add interest – a well-placed curl here, a bit of 3-D shaping there. Embellishments are kept to a minimum – for max effect – a ribbon here, a well-placed bead, a bit of stitching. 

Projects include an Anniversary Gift Bag using a crimping tool, ridged cogs that create crinkled ridges in the quilling strips, and Hanging Decorations, 3-D stars, made using a quilling comb – loop the strips around the prongs. Nice how the projects are used to highlight the use of a particular tool or technique, focusing on just one new skill per project.

It might have been nice to see some quilled typography – a pleasing trend that’s been very big recently. I suppose gluing the quilling strips on-end  to outline the letters was deemed too tricky a technique for beginner’s to attempt. 

The Table of Contents acts as a picture gallery of the projects, chapter headings are Cycle of Life, Big Days, Festive Fun, and Family Moments. Step-by-step photos and text accompany each project. Upfront, you’ve got a capsule History of Quilling, a rundown of tools and materials, plus basic how-tos. 

Paper Quilling is the companion volume to Elizabeth Moad’s Paper Folded Flowers, which I reviewed in my previous blogpost

With this book and a few simple quilling supplies, you could easily learn a new creative skill over the bank holiday.

Note:  I was supplied with a review copy of this title.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Paper Folded Flowers, by Elizabeth Moad. Review.

Paper Folded Flowers

All the skills you need to make 21 beautiful  projects

By Elizabeth Moad

Search Press 2017

Paperback  £ 9.99 UK/ US $ 15.95

ISBN 978-1-78221-426-7

Star rating: ****

This fun new title by talented papercraft designer Elizabeth Moad focuses on simple but effective techniques for creating dimensional flowers. Paper flowers are always popular, and this book covers a variety of styles, particularly teabag folding looks (Gingham Rosette Card, Yellow Flower Notebook).

A pleasant aspect of the book is that each flower is conceived as the embellishment for a project – so there is always a goal in sight.

A notable feature of the book is that same-size pattern templates, where needed, are given on-page with the project, rather than having to consult a back-of-book reduced-size template section, which is the usual craft book approach. Everything is geared towards providing a hassle-free papercrafting experience. Clear step-by-steps (photo/text) accompany each project.

Many of the projects involve using simple embellishment techniques – such as tone-on-tone rubber stamping   in the Décor Orchid Arrangement to lift the design to another level and add more variety to the creative process. Creating an ombre effect with a mini ink pad is another winning technique.

The Concertina Flowers and Christmas Wreath made of pleated rosettes show good use of a scoring board and creasing tool to create fashionable pleated projects. 

This title would make a super gift for a newbie papercrafter.

This book has a companion volume, Paper Quilling, also by Elizabeth Moad (and also from Search Press)  which I am looking forward to featuring soon. Quilling is Elizabth Moad’s particular area of expertise – so we should be in for a treat.

Note: I was provided with a review copy of this book.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The Big Book of Mod Podge, by PLAID Enterprises. Review.

The Big Book of Mod Podge

Decoupage made easy

PLAID Enterprises

Lark 2015

Paperback £16.99 UK/$22.95 USA/$25.95 CAN

ISBN 978-1-4547-0869-8

Star rating: ****

Découpage is enjoying a well-deserved moment – not that it ever went away, because it is an umbrella craft. The craft of découpage was revolutionized with the invention of Mod Podge – a glue/finish that eliminates the necessity for the application of numerous coats of varnish. If you are a crafter, you have probably come across Mod Podge – I am a big fan of Paper Mod Podge. Yes, Paper Mod Podge. And that is exactly the point of this book. Since its invention in the swinging 60s, by Jan Wetstone, an antiques dealer from Atlanta, Georgia, the Mod Podge line of products has undergone mind-boggling expansion. There’s a Mod Podge formula for exactly the craft purpose you require and/or look you wish to achieve: matte, gloss, satin, pearl, sparkle finishes. Mod Podge for fabric, paper, dishwasher safe. And many more product permutations. This book is the ultimate guide to all things Mod Podge, providing the lowdown on product suitablility and use.

The handiest part of the book is the upfront section, which describes the range of available Mod Podge products and how to use them. Prepping surfaces, application technique – it is all here. Following the basic how-tos are more than 90 projects from creative contributors. I have to admit, not all of the projects are to my personal taste, but they do open up a load of new possibilities regarding Mod Podge use. (The photo-transfer idea is very cool.) The instructions are clear, generously accompanied by how-to photos. There’s a lovely big pic for each project.

This book could be indispensable, say, if you you are planning to pimp some IKEA furniture. For instance, the Trompe L’Oeil Desk by Design Samaritan (Paul Bowman) is big fun. (Notebook and pencil, plus vintage telephone are among the objects realistically placed on the worktop.

So, although this book is promoting particular products, they are products most crafters will want to use, and the know-how this title imparts is good to know indeed. Yes, it’s a glue, it’s a finish – it is Mod Podge and we love it.
Note: I was given a review copy of this title.

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Button Box, by Lynn Knight.

The story of women in the 20thcentury, told through the clothes they wore

Lynn Knight

Vintage paperback 2017

£ 8.99 UK/$18.99 CAN

ISBN 978-0-099-59309-6

This has nothing to do with papercraft, although I have noticed that papercrafters are incredibly fond of button embellishments. Neither is this a book review – because I have not yet read this title. I am so very excited about my excellent find, I want to share it with you. This is just out in paperback. I can’t imagine I missed it when it was published in hardcover last year.

Anyhow, this is a social history of women told through the buttons in Lynn Knight’s family button box. (I had a button box – it was black and had a golden embossed swordfish on the lid... my mysterious treasure trove.) Lynn Knight has also written a bio of Clarice Cliff, the renowned (and very collectable) ceramic artist, which is also on my very long reading list. Each chapter of The Button Box has a flagship illustration of a button – jet button, shank button, toggle... :) Are you tempted to read?

This book is surfing on a lit trend – using objects as a way in to biography or social history. I heartily recommend The Real Jane Austen, a life in small things, by Paula Byrne, which was, I think, the first of its kind (all credit to Paula Byrne, admired and copied by many). Nothing papercrafty about that either, although Jane Austen had a lovely writing desk which is featured within.