The intricate art of Paper Quilling

“Quilling” and not “quilting” is the art of transforming paper strips into elegant patterns. Much to my lack of knowledge, this art has been alive since the Renaissance. Practiced all across the globe, this art has gained immense popularity owing to the cheaper material costs, less number of tools, various form factors that paper strips could be made in to, and the 2D and 3D designs that could be used to make creations (greeting cards, jewelry, picture frames, boxes et al). And thanks to quilling, I got myself another hobby.

First introduced to the art of paper quilling by my sister-in-law (who has “shaped” some exquisite jaw-dropping quilled creations), I would have never imagined that myself getting so involved in the art. After spending some brief quilling sessions with my S-I-L, I experienced my fingers getting the knack of the art. So I started reading over the internet and googling images of quilling work. This was an eye-opening moment for me. I just had to get my hands in to this art.

Quilling is not an art requiring expensive gizmos. To begin with, all the creator needs is a quilling tool (a needle of sorts with a slot to hold and coil the paper strips over) and colored paper strips. For practice purposes, you can also make use of newspapers or unwanted sheets of paper by cutting them into strips of varying width (This is how I started off with quilling). Seeing this light of inspiration in me, my bro-in-law ordered a paper quilling set- this was him encouraging me to not give up the art. Some of the quilling techniques that I am aware of today is more of an internet-based learning. To prove to myself that I am a sincere quiller, I presented a self-made birthday card to my Dad for his 59th birthday, applying the various techniques Image

of quilling. Dad was ecstatic to get it, although he was secretly wishing it was his 29th (and not 59th) birthday. Age is only a number after all, right!

So you see, you can design creations as far as your imagination takes you. Limitless. From simple to complex, 2D to 3D patterns, there’s a lot you can do with quilling. My very recent quilling creations include something you can flaunt off. Earrings. Image

Enthused, I went to the crafts store and bought rings and jewelry wire. Thanks to the 40% off coupon I had, I could also buy a paper cutter (at a cheaper price) and loose sheets of paper to make customized quilling strips. For this, you have to be careful about the thickness of the paper since they curl differently. I have read some quillers recommending 100-120 gms (where paper thickness is measured in grams per square meter such that the greater the weight, the thicker the paper). I was not sure about the nitty-gritties, so I picked up the paper I felt would work best for me. This way you can cut the strips in to widths per your requirements. There are pros and cons of both pre-cut and self-cut strips. It’s up to you to decide. I wanted to explore both options.

I am very fond of these quilled earrings myself since they are almost feather-weight. Unlike most of my dangle-downs which are heavy, these ones are not. For the first pair of earrings (hanging on the swans), I cut my own paper strips and for the rest two, I used pre-cut strips. I used pearl beads (that I had saved from my broken pearl necklace) to add in a dash of elegance. I am experimenting with more designs and techniques. Please keep reading/ following my blog. If you like my creations, make sure to “like” them before leaving the page. This serves as a great encouragement for a novice.

Stay tuned and keep blogging!

QuickBerry Lassi

Hailing from India, Lassi is one of the drinks that cools you off in the hot weather. Lassis have also come of age. Many flavors, many colors. I am so used to having Lassi as a breakfast drink that I wanted to try out something innovative and quick. This ‘QuickBerry Lassi’ is a perfect drink to quench your thirst or satiate those in-between-meal-cravings.

IMG_3123Ingredients:

1/2 cup Plain Yoghurt

2 tsp Strawberry crush or preserves

1 tsp Sugar

Water (Per the desired consistency)

Blender

Put all the above ingredients in a blender and blend it till a homogeneous mix is obtained. Serve chilled.

Notes:

1. To watch those calories, you can always substitute Full Fat Yoghurt with Low Fat Yoghurt and regular sugar with sugar substitute.

2. If you don’t have Strawberry crush, use Strawberry jam or jelly. You can also experiment with other flavors like apricot, raspberry, black currant.

3. Although you can make this recipe with fresh strawberries, it is for times when you’re out of strawberries at home (and don’t want to run down to your local grocery store) or if they are not available in your area.

La vida bonita

La vida bonita. After all.

No matter how much you suffer (or think to suffer) in life, it is beautiful. I have always felt that God has put more ‘bad luck’ eggs in my basket than anyone else. I have borne troubles that generally people of my age don’t. Or so I think. On my very recent trip to my homeland (which was more a spiritual one), I thought of discussing “life” with my mother. Having a spiritual conversation with her is something which I have never in my 28 years done before. We used to have a gamut of conversational topics (cooking, weight loss, actors, movies, politics, clothes, and all the rest, which all you mother-daughter duos know what I mean), to talk about but we never treaded the spiritual path together, which was more than refreshing (than odd). What she told me is something I will never forget in my life. As she spoke, I could see some sadness in her eyes and she probably was thinking that wish she could never have had to have this ‘talk’ with me, wish we could still talk about movies, recipes, et al. She told me that we come in to this world with our own baggage and we have to carry it all along. You drop your bags and you succumb to your problems and let them get the better of you; you carry it (don’t lug) and you have the strength to face your challenges rather than running and hiding away from them. Because ultimately there is no escape. Just listening to mother gave me a heightened sense of courage and rejuvenated my spirit. In the two months that I spent at home, she would tell me this every other day till she felt that her words were not falling on deaf ears and she could actually see the ‘firmer’ me. We came back to our recipe discussions and the do nots in cooking, and I’m glad that I turned out to be a better cook than I was.

Observing the dialogues that my mother and I were having, and happy that there were topics to which even my father could contribute (just kidding, Dad), he unfolded yet another fact of life in front of me saying that God gives troubles to those who have to strength to face them. This linked up very well with what my mother told me about our baggages. So really the baggage we carry is commensurate with our endurance limit. Everyone out there who feels that their troubles are surmounting the Mt. Everest, feel special, feel blessed that God has made you so powerful. Don’t sulk because it’s time to fight your battles. You were born a winner. Savor your success. Life is more than beautiful, after all.