Monday, February 8, 2016

Quilled Mandarin oranges CNY card


Quilled Mandarin oranges! A first for me. I've never  quilled any Mandarin oranges before so this was fun especially since I used the vortex coil technique for it. It's simple and fun to make!

I decided to use Mandarin oranges as my subject matter for my Chinese New Year cards this year because it symbolizes good fortune and good business! Hehe! Hopefully we will get all that this year, provided we work really really hard too!! Can't expect everything good to come rolling in without any effort. ;)

I tried to sew a little differently this time on paper. The thing is.....I want to sew on paper, and yet, I just didn't have enough time to do it. So what I did was, I made the gaps bigger! So I still got the effect I wanted but spend less time doing it! Yay! I thought of sewing the paper with the sewing machine, but somehow, I still prefer to do it by hand.

Another thing I was excited about was that I did the brush lettering on the card! I found a reasonably good black ink and wrote the sentiment on the card with a watercolour brush. That was fun! Nerve wrecking too! All at the same time. Haha! I can't afford to make any mistakes when writing it straight on the card. So I made sure I practiced writing it many times on another sheet of paper before doing it for real on the card. Somehow, writing using ink was easier compared to using watercolour for this particular type of paper. 

I had fun making simple cards like this and what's great is that I get to apply what I've learned so far this year on my own handmade cards. Simple bliss!

I would like to wish everyone who are celebrating Chinese New Year this year a very happy and prosperous new year!! 

Quilled Mandarin oranges CNY cardSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Brush lettering practice

There is nothing more satisfying for me to do lately than practicing my brush lettering everyday. I have been posting photos of what I have done on my Instagram (Azlina Abdul) every other day from late last year till now. The photos above are photos of brush lettering practices that I have posted there and I wanted to share them with everyone here too.

For me brush lettering is not something that is easy for me to do but somehow doing it makes me feel so relaxed and at peace. I prefer to use watercolour as my medium to practice brush lettering but I also love to explore other mediums like inks of various kinds. 

I would start by choosing a sentiment that I love and practice writing it with any brush tool I like.....and will keep writing and writing till my hand is sore. I won't give up until I am truly satisfied with the outcome. Usually when I start, it doesn't always look as nice as the photos you see here. It would take a while before it looks ok for me to post them online. A lot of papers wasted in the process, believe you me. But it is necessary in order to get the hang of it. 

There are a lot of styles when it comes to brush lettering and at the moment I seem to be good with my own style. Haha! Just one. One that I am comfortable with. It's close to my own handwriting. The only difference is the letter "R". I usually write my R in a different way, but now I'm practicing it the way it's supposed to be written. There are so many styles of writing the letter R in calligraphy, especially if you write it using a different tool. For now I'm just gonna practice with brushes......perhaps in future I'll use calligraphy pens too. Those are super interesting to try! :) 

As for brushes.....I would have to say that the water brush is simply a wonderful tool for brush lettering. I just wish they make them smaller in size, then I would be able to write smaller writings on paper for my handmade cards. For now I only use those  watercolour brushes for small lettering. The effect it gives is of course different with different tools used. So I just have to know which works out well for which project I'm making.

Brush lettering practiceSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, February 1, 2016

How to make square vortex coils

After making lots of the basic vortex coils, I then tried to make squared ones. I didn't actually got it figured out right away. I knew how to make simple square quilling shapes but I didn't know how to get that vortex pattern inside the square. Then I figured that everything had to start with the basic vortex coil shape. Once I came to that realization, then it became very clear what I should do in order to get that square vortex coil pattern.

As promised, I have made a video tutorial on how to make the square vortex coils. So many people have requested for me to make it. It is not easy to explain with mere words on how to do it, so making a video is the best way for me to get the idea across.

The multicolour square vortex coil pattern I made in the video was made using 4 different colours of blue shredded quilling papers. My shredded quilling papers are 3mm wide and 297mm long. I used 80gsm A4 paper to make these shredded papers. You can use any type of quilling paper you fancy but I think that if you plan to make a big size vortex coil, then I suggest you use a much thinner paper, and 80gsm would be great. If you plan to use only one strip, then you can use thicker type of quilling papers.

I'm not sure yet of what design I would do using these square vortex coils but I do think that it would be great for making designs for frames and also for jewelry. I don't do jewelry though, but I will use it as decorations on my handmade cards.

Do check out the video tutorial below and have fun quilling! :)

How to make square vortex coilsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How to make vortex coils with a slotted quilling tool

Sometime ago this month, I came to learn how to make vortex coils from a short video tutorial that I saw at my dear friend's Miyyah@Kertas's Instagram. I got so hooked up with it that I practiced making the coils a lot. The more I make them, the more I got hooked. The first try was not as nice and I was not 100 % satisfied with the results, but eventually I got the hang of it. I was quite happy with the outcome but I find it was really hard to make them. 

First of all, since my hands are pretty shaky most of the time, it was hard to hold the coils and make sure I didn't drop it while coiling it. My fingers hurt a lot in the process of making the coils because the process of rolling and pinching the coil really hurts especially when I used thick paper strips instead of thin ones. Not sure how other people felt when they make them, but I felt that way.

One day a customer of mine contacted me and expressed her frustrations in her inability to successfully make the vortex coils due to health issues she has with her hands. She only has one hand that is fully functioning and the other one is not functioning as well as the other. So, she asked me to help her out by designing  a tool that she can use to help her make the vortex coils. I was stunned! I had no idea how to do that since I myself just used my bare hands to make them. I felt so bad for her and really thought hard that day on how to solve her problem. She's a real fighter and she never gave up trying even though it was tough for her to do it. Her determination pushed me to find solutions. Then it occurred to me that perhaps my handmade slotted quilling tool could do the trick. I immediately tried making the vortex coils with the tool and to my disbelief, it worked!!! Bingo!

I reached my digital camera and started making the video after testing the method a few times. After I was certain that the method works, I just had to do the tutorial. I'm so happy that not only I benefited from the method as I no longer hurt my fingers making them now, I also helped others to make them. That made me really happy. One thing though, just after I uploaded the video tutorial, I got a better idea on how to make them! LOL!! So I made another video on vortex coils today and this new method helps me make vortex coils faster and easier too!

You can use any type of quilling paper you like to make vortex coils, thin or thick ones, shredded or smooth store bought quilling papers. I have tried them all and the method works for all types.

I will be making another video tutorial to show how to make a square vortex coil soon. Do be on the look out for that one soon! :)

Here is my vortex coils video tutorial that I made so do give it a try! Thank you so much for watching! :)

How to make vortex coils with a slotted quilling toolSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A birthday wish


This little project was something that came to mind last year. I've always wanted to do something like this someday and I'm happy that I can do it this year. I did mentioned in my previous post that I wanted to write more sentiments on my handmade cards. And here for the first time, I used a watercolour brush to write the sentiments. It was really thrilling, exhausting and worth every sweat and ache. I had to practice writing them first before I could actually write them on the die cut labels. Practiced writing all the alphabets from A to Z. So practiced and practiced I did till my hand ached all over. 

I see a lot of people doing brush lettering on Instagram and on YouTube and they all make it look so easy. The words just flows easily with the brush like no sweat at all. I guess it looks that way when you are already an expert and have been doing it for years. For a beginner like me, well, it was not as easy. It can be a little frustrating especially since I wanted to be able to write it as fast as I could. But I realised that it really does takes a lot of time to do it. A letter at a time.

For the sentiments on this card, I just used the smallest watercolour brush that I could find at the art supply store to write the sentiments as it is for a small handmade card, so the smaller it is the better. I had a hard time deciding how to position the words on the label. At first I tried writing "Happy Birthday" but it didn't worked out as nice as I wanted it to be, so I ended up writing "A birthday wish" instead. And I was really happy with that. 

At first I had the labels rectangular in shape like the photo above but decided to cut them up using the oval die cut label pattern because I thought it suited the sentiments better. Therefore I also had to change the design of the flower arrangement a little. Not much.

Doing watercolour designs on my handmade cards is something that I have always wanted to do. For this card, I decided to start small and just do a simple flower decoration around the label. Nothing complicated, really simple and sweet. Something to get me started and motivated to do more for the other cards in future. I really enjoyed using the water brush to paint the flower arrangement. It was really fun and easy. I love using the water brush as it was not too runny, and the water flowed a little at a time, so it was easy to control the water flow.

Since the flowers and leaves that I wanted to paint on the label are pretty small, I thought it would be better to use watercolour pencils instead of the using the ones from the tube. What I did was I wet the watercolour pencils with the water brush and coloured the flowers and leaves with it. I only needed a little colour for all the flowers and leaves. So the water colour pencils worked out fine as I was able to control the amount of colour I needed to use. 

I really love this chain stitch I did for this card. This is the first time for me to do it on paper. I've done so on fabric before but never on paper in this manner. Sewing a chain stitch on fabric is different from how I've sewn it on paper. I think the technique I used for the paper is a lot easier and perhaps can be used for sewing on fabric as well. Those who have done chain stitch on fabric before would understand what I'm trying to say here. I hope to be able to do a video tutorial on how to hand sew this chain stitch on paper this year. And perhaps do a simple running stitch tutorial as well while I'm at it. Will see how it goes. Time is always an issue with me. I need more of it! :)

I love how the card turned out in the end. I am planning on sending these cards to a few people this year for their birthday of course. Hope they like it! ;)

A birthday wish SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, January 1, 2016

Hello 2016!

A brand new day, a brand new year, a brand new, new year's resolution perhaps??? hahahhaa.....I'm not going to make a list of new year's resolutions anymore. I'm too old for that. I just do what I can, when I can haha!! But I do have a new love. And that is calligraphy!

I fell deeply in love with it last December....and whenever I have the time to spare, I would spend it on practicing writing either with pencil, pen, water brush or just with a water colour brush. I just got my water brush yesterday and I've been spending time all day writing with it. Ok ok......not all day, perhaps for a good few hours, since I do need time to do other things like to eat, do laundry, clean the house and a million other things, LOL! If only I have a live in help to do all the other things for me, then I can play all day in my craft room. Wouldn't that be simply divine :).

I just wanted to share the brush calligraphy that I did today with my new water brush. And a video of me writing that "Hello 2016" with much fear of making mistakes. Haha! I think I took about 10 videos of it before I got it right. Doing a video can be really exhausting! Only those who have done so would understand the pain of making a craft video. It ain't easy, I tell ya! Even if it is merely a minute. Haha!

I do hope to be able to learn more on calligraphy this year and somehow incorporate it more in my artwork, especially for my handmade cards. It would be awesome if I could. So much to learn and discover. Exciting things to explore. I wish all of us the best for this new year. May we learn and become the best that we can be and more. :)

Hello 2016!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Selamat Hari Lahir Mak


Looking back, I have been making a lot of handmade card in a box for December. And this is the last card in a box design that I made for 2015. I found a lovely English roses pattern paper and instantly got an idea of using it as the background for the card, plus for the pop up.

I cut out the roses and other small flowers from the pattern paper and glued them all on a thicker paper so that they can be used as pop ups. It's a lot of work but I love the results.

The sentiments were handwritten. I find it so enjoyable and fun to be able to write the sentiments myself instead of printing them. It's a good change. At least now, everything is handmade. From the card to the wording to the decorations.....all handmade.

Do check out the video below of the card design. Thank you!

Selamat Hari Lahir MakSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A card in a box for Aisyah Aqeelah


After I did a card for my customer's boss, I was asked to make another card in a box for my customer's little daughter.  It seems that her little daughter saw the photo of the card I made for her boss and wanted a similar card with her name on it. Of course it had to be in pink because it's her favourite colour. It didn't matter how the design would be, as long as there is lots and lots of pink all over the card. Haha! That shouldn't be a problem  for me. Again I was given full freedom to design it my way and I had only one day to complete it! Ack!!!

Ok, for this card design, I was lucky enough to stumble upon some card in a box set or kit at Mr Diy some time ago this month and they had so many cute and lovely stickers and embellishments that came together with the kit. So I thought this would be suitable to use for her daughter's request as there was one card in box that was pink all over with lots of pink embellishments. But I didn't use all of them though, because not all of the embellishments were suitable for little kids and so I mix and match with other embellishments that I had in my collection to create a design that would be suitable for a little girl. Something that little girls would appreciate.

I'm glad I managed to get it done on time. A simple design with her name handwritten on it just the way she wanted it. No particular occasion for the card, it was just a simple card in a box that now belongs to her. Something that she will cherish for a very long time hopefully. Hehehehe!

Do check out the video below of the card above. Thank you!!

A card in a box for Aisyah AqeelahSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
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