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My website dilemma and what I am going to do about it... for now.

Posted by littlecircles on March 18, 2014 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (1)

It has been almost one year since I first launched littlecircles.net In many, many ways, this has been an exciting year and has been a mostly positive experience. I have met a lot of amazing quillers and have had the opportunity to share my love of quilling with thousands of fellow paper rollers in a way that would have otherwise been impossible. One small thing has been an obstacle that I have been unable to surmount - the giant pink elephant in the room that I have not wanted to talk about... the fact that my website sucks. I’m not being self deprecating here - I am not nodding to content nor design - I am speaking to the website in and of itself. It is absolutely awful - even if you cannot tell.


I have never created a website from scratch before. I have had one created for me, but that is a horse of a different color. I do not know how to code or anything as glamorous as all that. I can copy and paste... but a fabulous website that does not make. So when in search of a DIY website, I stumbled upon Webs.com It looked like the perfect solution. Their layouts were more modern than most, the cost was comparable to others and it was obviously geared towards people like me in search of websites for dummies. I signed up without reading nary a review and got to work adding my content. I spent hundreds of hours writing, taking pictures and rearranging time and time again. When presentable, not perfect, but of at least a little value, I launched the site to the public. The problems were apparent immediately. Half of India could not get on, pictures were showing up at random and out of order, and it was OMG s.l.o.w. And that was just on your side - my side experienced even more frustrating circumstances. I contacted customer service to no avail. They do not accept phone calls and they have literally been of no help to me at all. I tried for months to get everything cleared up, but every issue has been met with a no. I am not alone in this experience either. Their service center boards are so enraged that they close off the option to comment and all feedback is protected by password. It is dismal up in there. After hosting with Webs for three months or so, I decided to move my site to another company... but guess what? You can’t! There is no way to export all of the content from Webs to another site. They’ve got you locked in. Frustrated, I stopped posting much content and have been thinking on the situation ever since. Most of my recent activity has been on Facebook due to my fear of posting content that I may not be able to fully recover. If you have been a member of my site for any length of time, you may have even noticed some of the original features have disappeared - such as the forums section. I had decided I would no longer offer those features until I could figure out a way to ensure they would stay with my domain if I could figure out a way to make sure that all content would remain with the littlecircles domain.


Fast forward to today. I have decided that I am going to start from scratch - but with help. I’m not sure how long it will take for the new site to be up (2 months? 6 months? A year?) Not sure. A lot factors into raising the funds of course and the speediness of transferring content. My copy and pasting talents should come in handy here! But someday in the near future, we will have a new website. As for the moment however, we are going to have to make due with this one. I do not want to spend too much time adding to this site in any extravagant ways that are not easily moveable. This means that it will be unlikely there will be too many printed tutorials added. Instead, I have decided to put my focus on video tutorials. This allows me to host them on another website, but include them here. Easy to move to the new site later. My blog posting is being written on my desktop and then copy and pasted, so that is no big deal. There just won’t be many new articles, or picture updates. And unfortunately no forums as of now. If you are interested in the one on one, please join me on Facebook. I am, and will continue to be extremely active there. I am able to interact with you and answer all of your questions speedily. As things progress with littlecircles.net, I will keep you updated. I hope I will have more information soon. As for now, keep your eyes open for my new video tutorials (I will share on Facebook) and please feel free to share your suggestions!

Personal vs. Commercial Uses - Why I have decided to lift the copyright on my quilled designs and allow everyone to recreate & resell them.

Posted by littlecircles on March 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (7)

Personal vs. Commercial Uses - Why I have decided to lift the copyright on my quilled designs and allow everyone to recreate & resell them.

 

Little Circles designs and tutorials were originally created to be shared and recreated for personal use, however after careful consideration of what I want this site to be - and even more importantly - what I want this craft to be, I have made the decision to remove this limiting structure (with some rules of course).

 

When it comes to quilling, more than anything else, I want to expose as many people as I can to this beautiful craft. I want it to shine in all of it's glory and provide as many people with a satisfying pastime as is humanly possible. I have spent many hours thinking about how I can play my part in this. What is it that I provide now? What could I provide if I was really brave?

 

I have been making and selling quilled art and jewelry for many years now. The craft has completely changed my life in more ways than I can account for. It has liberated me from the hum drum and has provided me with a limitless outlet for creativity. I feel within me a deep sense of gratitude. This art in many ways has made me whole. And yet I also have this deep awareness that what I have and enjoy needs to be shared. That there is more than enough to go around. That you too, if you so wish, can tap into this creative space and use quilling to make your life a little better (whatever you see that to be).

 

For the past few years I have struggled between my desire to share and teach and the thinking that I need to reserve and hide my designs so they would not be taken and profited on by someone else - anyone else but me. I felt this knowing inside me that was constantly pressing me to teach - to give…. and I would, at least for a little while. I would share and then I would get scared because one of my designs would show up somewhere for sale in a country that I have no rights to speak up in (and for much less money than I would charge to boot) or on an e-commerce site where I had been selling my jewelry - directly competing against my own designs. It was scary and it was frustrating. I would withdraw until the urging to share would once again pull at my heart. It has been this constant back and forth for the past few years. I would feel such happiness when freely sharing and then be smacked in the face with an intense sense of lack as soon as I felt a little loss of control over 'my designs'. I am sad and more than a little ashamed to say that I literally have a few hundred designs I have created that I have never posted on the internet for fear that they would be taken from me. I even stopped selling jewelry online for almost two years because of an incident where I felt my designs were being a bit too influential in another quiller's online store and business. Thinking about this now brings me shame and embarrassment. Not only did I let negative influences effect my family (monetarily), but I also allowed this fear to keep me from potentially inspiring a new quiller to pick up some paper and give it a go. I have had the intense desire to advance this craft since the very first time I picked up a quilling tool - and instead I fear that I have greatly held it back.

 

As I write this, I have a gnawing in my stomach. Not in fear of the direction I have decided to go in all of my future endeavors, but for the way I have handled my past transgressions. I did not intend to share quite this much with you today about how I arrived where I now sit, but I now feel that it is right. It is only through that past selfishness that I now feel that I can give freely. Lesson learned.

 

I've made the decision to let my urging for sharing win. My sense of lack will have to take a back seat this time around. I have grown as a person over the past two years and have had the time to examine not only what I truly want out of my life, but also the source in which all that I have comes from. I understand that I do not like to look at the world as a place in which everyone is a 'taker' (including myself). It makes me feel bad. And above all else, I want to feel good. The way I perceive things is everything. If I change the way I look at the world, it will in fact reflect what I want to see. I want to see a world where we take care of each other. Where there is more than enough to go around. Where ideas are limitless and there is always more to be had. This is what I choose to see now and because of this, I have decided to not only freely share my designs, but to also lift the copyright on them to allow others to recreate and sell them.

 

As of today, any quilled design that has been created by me, Erin Curet of Little Circles, that is on this website is available to be copied and re sold. Not even just that - I'm going to show you how to do it. I want to share everything I know. I do not want to be scared of anything nor hold back any details. I will be busy building up this site and it's content of written tutorials and videos of all of my designs. When they are all up, I'll come up with some more…. and I'll share those too. I choose to believe that the well is deep, vast & bountiful. But wait! Yes, there is a small catch.

 

I do not believe in getting something for nothing. I do work very hard at creating these designs. I spend many, many hours working out new ones to share. This website is not free to me. And as I share my designs with you, I will no longer be the only person selling them. If you want to resell my designs, I ask that you give something in return for each one you use. I am not going to preach or tell you what that something is. Only you can determine what value you find in what I share. This is a karma kind of thing. I am not even going to police the internet and make sure you do what I ask. I trust you. Even more, I trust me - and the instinct that is telling me that this is the right direction to take in my life.

 

There will be a donate button associated with each new design that I post - you can choose to pay what you can. If you cannot afford anything - that is okay. Please make and sell the designs anyway! You obviously need some extra income and I want to help you with that. Perhaps there is another way to give something. Perhaps sharing a link on your blog, a Youtube video or Facebook post. Money is not the only thing of value. Just please do not only take. You will not feel good about it. I promise. I trust that when you are in a better place, you will remember our humble little site.

 

I hate saying that there are rules to this new direction, so I'm not going to. Maybe I'll just say *reminders* as I point out the following:

 

*This licensing allowance is for my designs only. Any and all designs that appear on this website by anyone other than Erin Curet are protected by copyright and are not to be reproduced in an manner.

*If you are reposting a tutorial, video or any other content by me or from this website - please give credit. I am sharing, please be kind and do the same.

*This licensing allowance covers designs that I have included on www.littlecircles.net only. Any future material that is posted elsewhere in print or other media is protected by copyright unless specifically stated otherwise.

*You must give something for each design you use. Be it $1 or $20, an article or share… you must five something for it's use. It is for your own good.

*This licensing allowance is good for your own personal use and resale on your personal web page or e-commerce site. Reproduction is not allowed for any commercial use whatsoever. Any quantities made over 500, must have written permission by me, Erin Curet of Little Circles.

*All designs remain my property. Recreating and reselling them do not make them your designs. No element of one of my designs may be reprinted without my consent.

*I reserve the right to withdraw this consent at anytime for any reason. So please do not abuse it.

 

So that is it. I feel a bit wiped out and a little trepidatious as I post this for all of you to see. I am not going to lie and tell you I am not scared. Because I am. More than a little. But I believe this is the right thing to do. My heart tells me so and I am going to lean into the excitement that is standing behind me - holding me up. It is there, along with all of the possibilities that await us as we expand this art form together. I have more to say about all this, and I will, but for now - I'm just going to share.

 

Much love,

Erin

Almost end of the year - time to review.

Posted by littlecircles on December 18, 2013 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

 

The end of 2013 is almost here and I, just like the rest of humanity, is deep in retrospective thought over the way I have spent the last twelve months.  Much has taken place and I met a lot of personal goals.  More than a few goals that I laid out for myself continue to sit before me - untouched.  We cannot really ever know what the future has in store for us.  In the month of December 2012, had you asked me where I saw myself in exactly one year, I would have stated matter-of-factly that I would be lounging on the shore of some Hawaiian beach.  But alas, I am not.  And I am more than a little happy about that.  Times change, goals change.  It's life and it is so much fun.

I am pretty happy with my year overall.  I struggled in so many areas, but I grew in so many more.  I learned more about myself in this year than I have in any year previous.  I accomplished a lot of goals that I thought I wanted only to learn that in fact, I did not.  And in knowing what I don't want, I am able to move closer to what I do want.  It's an ongoing type of thing.

I am just starting to compile my list of goals for 2014 and am planning on taking the risk of sharing them all with you once I feel it's complete.  Why is this a risk?  For me it is about vulnerability.  I have never shared my goals with anyone before, let alone the internet.  I have feared failure.  I have feared success.  I have worried what others might think of me if either of those two ends were met.  One of the goals I will share that I have already decided on is to do things that scare me.  Being my truly authentic self unapologetically scares the shit out of me.  Therefore it is my number one goal for my 33rd year of life.  This means many things to me on many different levels, but you may see some changes here on the website that reflect my desires.  It's going to get a little revamp.  Some of the sections that exist but I don't really have the time to keep up are going to get the ol' heave ho and some new areas may pop up.  I am going to put a bit more of a personal spin on the site and let you in more on what I am doing in my own art business.  I feel that I need to bring this website in a bit closer.  It feels too big and it doesn't fit my current aspirations.  I want to create a website that conveys my true love of this craft and what I believe it can bring into people's lives.  I am looking forward  to see how it grows and changes over this next year.   I am going to be writing a few mini posts each day for the next few weeks until I feel that the blog is caught up to my current state of mind and everything that is happening in my world of quilling and art.  If you have thoughts regarding all that I am going to be sharing - please let me know.  I love having an ongoing and open dialogue with you.

 

Long time, no see.

Posted by littlecircles on November 12, 2013 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (1)

Nope, I haven't abandoned this website... I've just been really, really crazy busy with life.  After making the decision to leave the island and return to the mainland, my life became a bit more than hectic.  Stressful does not even begin to touch it, but the move has happened and that period (thankfully) has ended.  I am ready to put the past six weeks behind me forever and embrace my future.  Things are still a bit hairy around here as we continue to unpack and deal with issues that need attending.  The kids began their new school yesterday and I am almost done with getting our living quarters comfortable.  I am hoping to begin the unpacking at initial setup of my studio this afternoon or tomorrow.  I have the time now to keep you updated as I go and I hope to be back to creating and expanding the website by next week (yea!).  Thank you all so very much for your patience, kind notes and words of encouragement over this time of absence - I appreciate it more than you know.  I promise to be around more now.

Little Circles Quilled Musings.

Posted by littlecircles on September 20, 2013 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (1)

Hello all my quilling lover friends.  It has been a little while since I have written any kind of update of what is going on in my world and that of Little Circles and although I usually like to post such things on Sundays, I have a large art show this weekend and will be unable to do so.  So here I am on a Friday.  There is so much to share with you, and if you feel moved to do so, I would love to hear from you regarding the following topics I am about to muse on.  These past few weeks have been some of the craziest in my life and my husband and I have come to some huge life decisions that not only impact our personal life, but also that of this website and ultimately you as well.  I know how that might sound (strange), but as the journey of my life unfolds, I am coming to greater realize how important it is becoming to me to share the art of quilling with as many people as I possibly can in ways that have never been explored before.  For the past five years I have considered myself an artist, a craftsman.  I still do, but as each day passes I find myself emerging into new roles as well - designer, teacher, mentor.  I am loving these directions in which I am feeling called. They are filling my soul in ways that are extremely gratifying.  I am ready to expand on the work I have been doing and take my desire to share and teach to new heights.  This is why I need you and your feedback whenever you feel inclined enough to give it.  This website was created for you. Whether you are an advanced quilling craftsman or a novice paper roller, I want you to feel inspired when you are in this space.  I want this website to be creative, informative and easy to use.  I want it to be everything you want it to be.  For that I need your help, your feedback, your insight.


What you've said.


As many of you know, I have been running a contest this week where the winner will be sent a pretty glorious prize in exchange for feedback regarding the website and a little promotion.  I want to thank all of you who have participated and engaged with me from the very bottom of my heart.  Your words of kindness and encouragement have touched me greatly and I feel so motivated to continue creating for you.  The constructive critique has been more helpful than you can possibly know and has allowed me to see what you all are thinking and that you do in fact care where this site is headed.  That is amazing.  It has given me a clearer path to take and some reassurance that the decisions I have come to are indeed in the right direction.  I want to share a little of what I have learned this week from you.  There is still time to enter the feedback contest if you would like to and I always welcome your thoughts at any time.


Content.


Having more content on the site has absolutely been the number one suggestion I have received.  I agree and want you to know that I have plans for creating and freely sharing a vast amount of quilling designs, articles and tutorials with you.  When I first set out to create this website, I had one non-negotiable rule that I set for myself and Little Circles - to share and create only the absolute best quilling materials for you.  Quantity has been done and anyone can throw together a website with a bunch of patterns that were found all over the place.  That is not my goal.  I want to encourage more people to fall in love with this craft and be moved to pick it up and that can only be done by giving and sharing content that does not yet exist.  As you know, Little Circles is a baby - only five months old.  I have never created a website before and have discovered a rather large learning curve.  The process is fun and frustrating, but I am getting better.  It takes a lot of time and I look forward to the day where I can dedicate a little less of myself to the running of the site and more to the creation of quilling designs.  I love creating and sharing my patterns with all of you.  It is such a pleasure.  An idea pops into my head, I figure out how to create it, make a few versions and photograph the steps, write out all of the content and lastly am able to share it on the site with you.  Being paper passionates yourself, I know you have an idea about the time this process takes.  At this present moment I only have the ability to post about one new project a week.  I am still splitting my time with the other half of my business (the half that pays my bills) which is art shows and commissioned work.  I do have plans to free up more time to dedicate to this website as I will share with you later in this post.  Please bear with me as I grow this site.  Because of your feedback, I am going to change my action plan slightly.  I have over 300 earring designs that I have created over the years.  By turning these into tutorials for this site, I will be able to skip the steps of design and prototyping, thus allowing me to create some content a bit more quickly.  I still want to share some of the more unique designs that are swimming around my head, but I too have to be a bit patient.  The more content that is available, the more often new quillers will find us when they search for a quilling website.


Search Bar.


This was another popular suggestion.  I listened and it is now located on the very bottom of every page.  I know this is not the most convenient location but it is the only part of my website that shows up on every page.  The side section does not.  Everything you see on the sidebar has to be re added each time I create a new page.  The information does not even show at all here on the blog or in a few other spaces (which stinks).  At least we have one at all I suppose.


Photos.


You want more photos in the gallery.  More of my work and of other quillers alike. This has definitely been a part of the website that I have not put as much time into.  I will be working on this over the next few months.  With this I want to continue only providing you with the absolute best content. Quality pictures and quality content.  If you see something amazing while cruising around the internet, send it to me with all of the artist's information.  The photography needs to be just as amazing as the quilling.  I will keep you updated as more goes up.


Broken links & spelling errors.


There are a few and I need your help finding them.  As I create more and more pages, I sometimes miss a link.  If you find one, will you contact me an let me know?  There are already too many pages for me to go through and check each one.  If you happen to find one, I would forever be in your debt if you let me know so I can fix it.


Website issues.


This part is really frustrating.  I created and host my website through a company called Webs (I am not advertising for them and do not recommend them).  While they offer a great amount of resources that are included in their product such as e-stores and forums, they also have a lot of problems and not so stellar customer service.  Many, many, many people are experiencing problems with some of the buttons on the site, loading times and mobile issues.  Unfortunately for now, I cannot fix them.  They are set up correctly, but are not working.  Webs will fix one issue and then another occurs.  I would love to move my site to another provider.  So far I have been unable to find another online service that provides all of the features this one does and that I need.  Another issue I have is that I can not take this exact website with me as I go.  Of course I can copy and paste everything but that is going to take a lot of time and effort that I do not have at this moment.  My plan is to eventually hire a website developer to create an website for me from scratch with everything I need.  This will cost a few thousand dollars in which I need to save for.  This website makes no income at this time, so for now I am forced to stay with Webs.


Interviews.


I love that you are all interested in other quillers!  I have contacted a few and will begin to do some features very soon.  I am really looking forward to getting to know some of you a bit more deeply.


Thank you for your help.


I appreciate each one of you so very much.  All of your feedback was so helpful and I encourage you to keep in touch with me.  Not only do I love hearing from you, but it truly helps the development and direction of this website.  One other way that you can be of a huge assistance to me and Little Circles is to share as much as you can in your own world.  I create tutorials and write articles in other spaces on the web to help promote this site and quilling in general.  I am getting more letters each day from people who have been moved to pick up some paper strips for the first time because they stumbled on to this website.  The more shares, pins and links back to this site, the more people will find it and get to enjoy the same materials as you do.


Future Plans.


I left my home in Michigan a year ago September.  We traveled for a few months doing art shows and then ended up staying in Hawaii.  It has been the most adventurous year of my life.  I have grown and soared.  There were more than a few stumbles and bruises along the way, but I have never in my life had such a sense of purpose and direction.  I made my dream come true of being able to make a living from my quilling.  What seemed like the impossible to me two years ago is reality today.  And now I am ready to grow bigger and accomplish new things.  My husband and I have decided to leave Hawaii and return home to the mainland.  This may sound crazy, especially since winter will soon be approaching the Mitten State.  It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.  We have fallen in love with this land of Aloha and the people who call it home. There are more art festivals each month than I can commit to and the beauty is undeniable.  However our dreams have expanded too greatly to be able to stay.  Let me explain.


Studio.


This website is quickly growing to be my top passion.  I have always followed my heart and listening has never failed me.  I have so many plans and aspirations and need the room to develop them.  One thing Hawaii is not, is spacious.  My family of four lives in a nice little apartment three blocks from the most beautiful beach in Waikiki.  It is 500 square feet.  My son and daughter share a room and Troy and I split our space with my art studio.  With the plans I have in store, we require more space.  We have a beautiful home to return to with more than enough room to dedicate space to an exclusive art studio.  I will be able to set up a photography area that will allow me to create tutorials no matter the time of day or current lighting.  I will be able to set up a video area that will enable me to create viewable materials for the site as well as online classes and project-a-longs.  But most importantly it will be able to provide me with the space to follow another dream I have been patiently waiting to pursue...


Art Prize.


Grand Rapids, Michigan currently holds the largest art competition in the Unites States.  Grand Rapids happens to be two hours south of my home. I have dreamt of participating in Art Prize for the past few years but the logistics were always too overwhelming to attempt to make it a reality.  The main issue has been the size of the piece required.  Large work has most definitely dominated the past competitions.  I have never been bold enough to attempt an extremely large piece nor had the time or support necessary.  This year away has given me the confidence in both myself and my art to commit myself to the competition.  I have some basic ideas of the direction in which I want to go.  I am extremely unsure if I can create the work I want before the 2014 show that will take place next September.  I am not willing to have Little Circles slow in order to get the work done, so I may be shooting for 2015.  We will just have to wait and see.  I want you all to be along for the ride as I go.  There is an opportunity here to expose millions of people to the art of quilling that have never heard or seen it before.  It is going to be a long process and I hope you all will want to share in it with me.


Winter.


Michigan is a pretty cold place to live over the winter months and does not offer many opportunities to sell at fairs and shows.  This is okay.  The months of down time will allow me to create more content for you and make Little Circles a more special place to be. I am excited for the opportunity to have more time to create and interact with you.  I do have a few ideas on how to make up for the income I will be losing by selling here in Hawaii but am still in the idea stage and I will continue to share every aspect of my business with you as I move along.  I know there are many of you out there who would like to make a little (or a lot) of money with your quilling and I want to help you in any way that I can.  Let me know what things you are interested in and I will try to touch on them in the future.


New Tutorials.


In cased you missed them, there are a few new free tutorials available in our Free Projects & Tutorials section that you might be interested in.  You can click the link below the photo to be taken to the quilling design.


Retro Circle Candle Holder


Mod Eye Earrings Tutorial - 4 Designs


Taj Earring Design


Small Simple Earrings, 3 Ways


Lastly, I want to once again take the time to thank you and tell you how important your feedback is to me.  Please continue to keep in touch with me and let me know what you would like to see in the future.  Where do you want your quilling to take you in the future?  I want to help you achieve those dreams.  What can I do to improve your experience?  What would make Little Circles awesome?  I am listening.  I have been told that the contact button below only works for some (stupid webs) but you can always email me privately at littlecircles (at) littlecircles.net, message me on Facebook or leave a comment after a blog post.  I don't get notified if you leave a comment, so if you want a response, email or FB are the way to go. You all are the absolute best.


Peace & Happy Rolling!

Little Circles Quilled Musings.

Posted by littlecircles on September 2, 2013 at 1:30 AM Comments comments (3)

It's Sunday evening and I am filled with excitement and anticipation with everything that has happened this week and everything that is to come very soon. As most of you probably know, this website is very new. I created a few months ago and then became quickly overwhelmed by the complexity and magnitude of what I wanted to do with it. Instead of tackling it one step at a time, I just kind of abandoned it for eight weeks while I took a long trip to Michigan to help my mother after hip replacement surgery. The entire time I was gone, I did no quilling. If you were to know me at all, you would understand how absolutely insane of an idea that is. I am always quilling. When I'm not quilling, I am designing quilled patterns or writing a quilling article or... well, you get the idea. But no, I went without for eight weeks. When I finally returned home to Oahu, I came back to all the answers. I don't know how or why, but they were all there waiting for me in my head. The respite did me good. It has been non-stop-quilling action ever since. I picked the website back up, resumed my show schedule, began accepting commissioned work again and took on some new opportunities. And I really want to share all this quilling goodness with you if that is okay. I have been trying to reconcile this website between the free quilling info mecca I dream it to be and my own quilling website as a person who makes their living through her paper rolling passion. I want the two to meld at least a bit. At this time I am the only contributor to the website, so it would be nice if you knew the girl behind the paper strips. So for this reason, I am going to take Sundays to myself on this blog. I am going to fill you in on my personal quilling projects as well as my non website quilling business. People (especially other quillers) are often very shocked when I explain what I do for a living. I probably would be to if I was not me. I would be curious to how it all works. If you are curious, keep checking back each week to see what's going on.

 

On the website.

 

First thing I want to share is a big thank you for all that participated in my little question contest. It was really fun to hear from so many of you. I really like the concept of the 'egg hunt' and will definitely be doing that again. I warn you though, it will only become harder as the website gets more content! And now for the winner: Lisa (lcjustice)! I sent you an email with all the details. Thank you so much for participating.

 

The one other thing I want to mention about the website before moving on is that I am starting a newsletter. Honestly the newsletter part will be pretty infrequent as of right now, but the cool part is that I am going to be sending out a tutorial once a month for subscribers only. There will be some more perks soon, but that is the main one as of now. So if you want to get those projects sent directly to your inbox once a month, be sure to enter in your email address at the bottom of this page.

 

Quilled Jewelry.

 

It's my bread and butter. I make a lot of it, I sell a lot of it. I don't do much online because I do a lot of shows and festivals on the island and have a hard enough time keeping up with the demand. I love quilled jewelry, but I don't love mass producing it. It is for this reason that I started this website. Creating these designs and being able to sell them has absolutely changed my life. I quilled for years before making jewelry, but it was only after I began designing and selling that I began to become successful. I absolutely adore designing paper jewelry and I am guessing there are many people out there that would like to make and sell their quilled projects too. Beginning with my next show (the first Friday of this month) I will start to share all the ins and outs of the show circuit with you. It is only one perspective, but it is what I have to give.

 

Quilled Mosaics.

 

This is my art and my true passion. They take absolutely forever and a day. I was just about to start a fun jellyfish picture that I was planning to share the process with you, but was then commissioned to do some work. It is completely different from anything I have done before and I am pretty excited to share it with you as I go. I have two separate types of quilled mosaics that I do - simple and not-so-simple. One costs my clients a lot and the other costs them way, way more. The one I am beginning this week is more simple. I think that is a good place to introduce you to the process of doing a quilled mosaic though. I am picking up supplies this week and will begin soon. I hope to have some progress to show you next week. Here are a couple of photos I pulled from the web that will give you an idea of what I will use for inspiration.


 

Designing.

 

This is a relatively new passion for me. I have always done it since I began making jewelry, but never really thought of it as designing before. Now that I have the website, I have discovered how much fun it is to create projects with the idea that other people will make them, not just me. It is a pretty cool thing to see the creations you all make based off my tutorials. I feel really honored. It has also allowed me to become even more creative. I can design projects that are much more detailed for you to make than the jewelry that I make and take to shows. For instance, necklaces do not sell very well at the shows I attend, so I don't make them often. But with the bigger audience that is you - I can create to my little heart's desire. It's wonderful. This week I have also been honored to be asked to be a guest author on Quilling Cafe. I posted the first of my tutorials created for the site and I encourage you to check it and the site out. If you have not stumbled upon the site before, you are in for a huge treat. Their membership area is vast and has a lot of extremely active quillers on board. I will add the free tutorial via a link to Quilling Cafe's website in the free projects & tutorial section of our website.



This week I have also submitted a project to a magazine. I should know if it is accepted within the next ten days I believe. I am hoping that you won't get to see the project I submitted until spring when the magazine comes out... but if it is rejected, I will let you know and show you my design. I am really hoping that I have nothing to put up here next week. I have more plans to submit projects to other publications, both print and online as well. I really feel moved to show people how amazing quilling can be and the only way I can think of actually doing that is sharing fantastic projects that people will actually want to make. If you know of more ways, let me know! That's my week in summary. It has been fun and busy. There is even more to come in the next few days. Lot's of new tutorials going up and the like, so I hope to see you around.

 

Enjoy your Labor Day & Happy Rolling!

Quilling Link Love.

Posted by littlecircles on August 25, 2013 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

It is a beautiful Sunday morning here in Honolulu and the kids are a buzz with the promise of a trip to the zoo and a dip in the ocean this afternoon. A lazy morning of drinking copious amounts of coffee with my husband and perusing the internet for quilling inspiration is enhancing the feeling of pure love of the weekends.  I'd like to share a few of the wonderful finds I have spent my time with today.


Tutorial: Anthropologie Inspired Scroll Garland

An argument could be made that this is not in fact quilling, however I would like to state that it is close enough.  And it is gorgeous!  I do not really do any other crafting in addition to my quilled work, so I don't have a crazy craft closet with supplies runneth over.  I don't even own a stapler, but I am absolutely running out to grab these materials to make these garlands.  Purely awesome.


Chirashizushi Sushi

This unique art was an instant hit with me.  As a die hard sushi lover, I was immediately drawn to this fun piece, but as I checked out the other designs from Productive Pig Paperworks (Don't you just love the name?), I found it hard to choose what picture to share with you here.  If you have the chance, be sure to check out PPP's Pinterest page as well - it is like quilling candy for the eyes.


Artist Jolene Dsouza-Michael

I stumbled once again upon this beautiful vase.  You may have already had the opportunity to enjoy Jolene's work as I have featured it elsewhere on Little Circles, but I thought it was worth sharing again.  The amount of time and work boggles the mind.  I does look like a fun type of project to do though, no?


Have a fabulous weekend & Happy Rolling!



Quilled Sunflower Necklace Tutorial

Posted by littlecircles on August 21, 2013 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (0)

A few months ago when I first launched this site, I designed and posted my very first free quilled paper necklace tutorial up on our projects page (you can find it here).  I was very excited to have created and posted some original content for my new site and began posting word of it all over the social media world.  I'm not a huge fan of most of the social media stuff mostly because it takes up so much of my time that could be spent on quilling.  The one exception to this is my Little Circles Facebook page.  I have been attempting to build an audience for only about a year at this point, but I find the immediate feedback incredibly fun.  Not to mention the amazing quilled goodies I get to feast my eyes on that other talented folk have created and share.  It makes this world a little smaller and I like that.  Anyhow, I had posted a picture and link of the necklace and hoped all my followers would enjoy it.  A few days later I got a message from a user:  How do I make the flower necklace?  I wrote back telling her that the tutorial was on the website and blah, blah, blah - all the info she would need.  A few hours later:  I can't find it, where is the tutorial for the flower necklace?  I went back through the who spiel again.  And once again she came back at me with the wanting to know how to make the flower necklace.....?   Much frustration was enjoyed on both sides I am sure, but eventually it was figured out that it was not in fact the Classy Chassis necklace she was seeing but actually a necklace she saw me wear in an interview I had done for Made with Michigan Hands.


You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

This is not the thumbnail I would have chose if I were in charge.


Forgotten.

I had not remembered that I did that interview until I went searching through Youtube and was thrilled to see the necklace in question.  I forgot I had ever made it.  I made one, never recorded the design and sold it in Brooklyn during a hipster art show.  Although I had no tutorial to pass on to the lovely woman asking for it, I promised that I would try to get to it someday.  Well, someday is today.




Sunflower Necklace Tutorial.

Before getting started and providing a link to the actual tutorial, I want to mention that you will indeed need to make the stacked quilling form first.  You might as well do it if you are putting it off because most of the patterns I post from this point on are going to need it.



Ready to get started?

Well, what are you waiting for?  Click the link below to get going.  Happy rolling!!


Quilled Paper Sunflower Necklace Tutorial






Learning styles.

Posted by littlecircles on August 21, 2013 at 3:10 AM Comments comments (2)

I am bias.  I know it.  I love paper quilling. I lurve it.  I dream in paper swirls and unique color combos and frequently wake with a start at three in the morning with an unrelenting earring design nagging at my brain that won't leave me be until it is laying on my studio table, all pretty... all perfect.  The art is my perfect outward manifestation of all the beautiful chaos contained within these walls that I call ME.  It is no real wonder as to why I can not wrap my brain around the fact that quilling is so not popular.  That it is not even not popular - it is a non starter.  Why is this so?  Why does it not catch on?  Even without my unwavering devotion to the form, I can provide many valuable reasons why paper quilling should be the prom queen of the craft world.  Take the money factor as my first example.  Every woman who has an affinity for the process of 'making' has also had the experience of being bitched at by her husband who cannot understand the concept of spending $180 on a machine that essentially cuts out paper shapes. I mean, isn't that what scissors are for?  Well, that never happens with us quillers.  Quilling is cheap.  Even for me and I am pretty sure I keep the three big US quilling paper companies in business.  Example #2:  It is portable.  Just like knitting. You can craft on the go.  Especially now that you can make this super special space saving tool (wink, wink).  I not only take my work with me to the beaches of Oahu where I live, but have also produced an entire festival season's worth of quilled jewelry while riding shotgun in a fully loaded Subaru headed across country with a goofy husband beside me, two kids in back and a ninety pound lab's big fat head on the console.  If you can create in that, your craft is a rockstar.  Numero tres: People really dig the finished work and think you are much more talented than you actually are.  I'm not kidding.  Learning how to quill is easy, I mean it's just rolling paper, and you can produce some pretty awesome stuff that baffles and boggles all that gaze upon it.  It looks so freaking complicated but.... oh.  Maybe this is where I reach the disconnect.


Here is the problem.

When it comes to the 'how to' of learning the skill of quilling, I may have had an extreme advantage over many others who have likewise attempted to learn but set their strips aside out of frustration.  Once I noticed there was no good info to be had on the internet or elsewhere in my world, I decided to go it alone.  Trial and error crafting was better than no crafting at all and in those days of brokedom, and that was the alternative for me.  I learned the art by doing, by screwing up and trying again.  I learned to work the paper and make it work for me.  I tried things.  I created things.  By the time I emerged from my paper solitude and was ready to share it with the world, I had noticed there was a bit more info on the web and lo-and-be-hold!  I was doing it all wrong.  This was okay with me however because I liked my way and it worked.  It was also a bit more suited for my lazy stylings.  What I did not know then, but am discovering now is that I had stumbled into my own unique learning style.  Had I paid heed to the books and articles I did find the months before, I believe I would not have stuck with the art at all.  It was uninspired and overly complicated for my personality.  And while I am good at reading information and teaching myself a skill set, I highly doubt I would have because the projects that were available were not something I would have wanted to spend my days making.


What I have noticed.

As anyone who has raised children or puppies or husbands would know, one tactic does not always work.  What may work to punish or encourage one individual may quite possibly have no impact on another.  What may work on a Monday might not even work again on a Tuesday.  Sometimes you need to change it up.  I think the lack of virality I speak of here my be due to this oversight into crafty people's learning styles.  A quick look around the quilling pages of the web will surely show you that we have been expecting people to learn our craft in just one way - the way it has always been done.  Well, I am going to let you in on a little something about me: I don't like to do anything the way people tell me I should.


To be considered.

I did a google search and enjoyed an afternoon of reading all about the different styles we as humans employ while attempting to learn something.  There are seven.  Visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social, and solitary.  This does not even include the weird combos that I have noticed in my own learning behaviors.  Years ago I noticed that when listening to a lecture I would not hear a word unless I kept my hands busy.  A doodle, rubbing a worry rock, fist pumping... whatever had to be done so I could manage to interpret and store the information into my brain.  Likewise I cannot stand to pursue a manual task without some auditory information to keep me company.  In my studio I quill while listening to physics and philosophy audio books.  What should you take from this?  Audible has gifted me with artistic talent and a fat bank account.  Quilling has made me smart.


Action plan.

I haven't a clue what you plan to do with this information, but I will be happy to share with you my own thinking.  I plan to shake it up.  I aim to teach in some new and innovative ways.  What is out there will work for some, but if we plan to expand and grow, we need to supplement with something a bit more fertile.  And that is what this site is for.  I was a rather lucky girl to have taught myself a craft that in fact turned into a life's purpose.  No my life's purpose is not in fact quilling.  The reason I am here and developed this website is to show women that you can take the thing you love - even if that love is something as simple as twirling little bits of paper - and turn it into a life's work of meaning. Maybe there are others looking for what I have found.  Even if there is just one sole seeker, I want to find her and give her what I know.  That is what this site is for. That is why I am here.  A sharing of knowledge in any way I can manage.  So stick around awhile and get comfy and cozy.  Keep an eye on the horizion because it is bright and full of possibilities.



What to do now?

- If you haven't done so yet, get crackin' on making your very own stacked quilling tool so you are not left out of the next 100 or so tutorials.

- Get some vision by visiting our Quillers that Inspire page.  Learn something new.

- New to the site?  Be sure not to miss out absolute free Tutorials & Projects page.  

- New to Quilling? Click here to learn the shapes and visit our Paper & Products shop to get everything you need to get rolling in one place.


Happy Rolling!

DIY Stacked Quilling Form Tutorial

Posted by littlecircles on August 19, 2013 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (20)

When I began the craft of Quilling, I didn't know that quilling was even a thing.  That is to say, I did not know such an art even existed, only that the little swirls of paper were brilliant and that my mind could not stop creating fabulous combinations of shapes and designs that I would endlessly put together.  There were so many designs swirling around in there and I was feverish to get them manifested into the real world.  I cut paper into strips and used objects around the house to turn the images in my head into reality.  I eventually realized that I did not in fact 'invent' this craft and that in actuality it has been a celebrated pastime for a few hundred years.  I was surprised by this realization while visiting a large craft chain in a nearby city that had a book displayed and a small selection of paper and quilling tools for sale.  I promptly bought all three and took them home.  While I did find some useful information in the book, I had no interest in the projects it contained.  They did not much resemble the type of work I had been doing.  I began to search the web for more information now that I knew what to call my new obsession.


What I did not find.

I found almost nothing.  The year was 2008 and my searching produced very little. 'How to quill, Learn quilling, quilling for dummies, etc. - all nada.  I found a lot of passionate enthusiasts and advocates for the craft, but very little instruction or pattern that I had any interest in.  I did however find a few sources for pre cut paper.  When the first box arrived at my doorstep, my mind went dizzy with the possibilities.  I set aside the book (actually I believe I even gifted it away) and ended my internet quest.  I went it alone, figuring that with enough trial and error, I would eventually figure out this paper twirling thing.  For me, this was the best way to learn.  One idea would lead to another and then something else would pop in.  It was, and continues to be an exciting and creative experience.


What nada did for me.

Since I had no idea what to do nor what not to do, I played a lot.  I used anything and everything I could try.  I did everything by eye alone and immediately began designing my own projects.  I used objects from around the house and began to explore color and discover new techniques.  I had my husband make me the things I envisioned using to enhance my creations.  The first thing, besides the paper and a quilling tool, that became an essential in my supplies box were forms.  Cylindrical objects to stretch my paper around to create hoops of various sizes.  I saved all sorts of pill bottles and the like.  I had a large rolling pin that gave me the size I favored in my larger earrings, but was an absolute bitch to use. The tube my crazy glue came in became one of my favorite (and still is) quilling forms, and while I found that a sharpie works, it is not ideal due to it's length.  I had my husband Troy cut me dowels in various widths and lengths until I found what worked best for me.  I still use the first set he made me.  As I began to design jewelry in a serious way, I painted the ends of each form a different color so I could easily identify the difference in size and record my patterns in order to duplicate it.  This worked for a couple of years, but as I continued to make, I continued to grow.  I needed more sizing options than were available at my local hardware store.  


The Little Circles Stacked Quilling Form*.


Out of need, the stacked quilling form was designed and made out of my very favorite material.  It has been such a help to me, not only in my work with paper and design, but it has also allowed me to become more mobile with my craft.  I always envied the days in which I could take my knitting onto a plane and purl away the hours.  The amount of large pill bottles and forms made this too annoying to pursue.  The stacked quilling form changed that for me.  I love it so much that I wanted to share it with you too.  Not only do I hope it makes your tool kit a little less bulky, but I am also hoping that with a new tool at your disposal, you may be inspired to dream up some new and exciting projects.  It inspired me.  Today, I record all of my patterns using this tool.  And now that you can all have one too, I can share more of my designs with you here on this website and feel confident that you can easily reproduce them in exact measure if you so desire.  


Let's get to it.

This tool is extremely easy to make albeit a bit time consuming.  It measures about five inches in length and consists of 10 different sized forms (in half inch increments) stacked upon each other.  You can of course make one in whatever sizes (circumference) you wish, but for the purposes of this site, all of my designs that I share with you in the future will be posted using this tool and these measurements for the most part.


Supplies.

Each tier of the stack consists of 2 discs of 1/4" paper strips glued together.  This is what I had on hand.  If you are ordering paper especially for this project, I would suggest ordering 1/2" paper - it would make half the work.  Likewise you could make four discs in 1/8" paper if you have that in your stash in large quantities.  As for the amounts, that also depends.  In the example provided above, I made each tier a different color.  I used paper from both Lake City Crafts and Quilled Creations.  The thickness varies quite a bit from color to color and the lengths vary between companies.  The first form I made was just using a bunch of scraps, but it wasn't pretty.  Functional though.  If you are going to make a pretty one, the largest tier will not take more than one package.

You will also need the following:

A slotted quilling tool

Glue

A ruler

Sealant (I used clear nail polish)

Scotch tape

A needle or pin


Let's begin.

You will need a way to measure the discs.  There are ten altogether measuring from 1/2" in diameter at the top to 5" at the base.  If you have a template board or circle sizer in the appropriate measurements, you could use it.  I don't, so I didn't.  Instead, I used a ruler and measured out 1/2 inch spaces along a 5" scrap 1/4" strip as shown below.



Start to Roll (and roll, and roll and roll).

I started with the base because I like to get the tedious stuff out of the way.  All you need to do is create large closed coils to stack together using your strips and a quilling tool.  If you do not know how to make one, you can learn to do so HERE.  Using the scrap piece of paper, keep checking the diameter until you reach the 5" mark exactly.  As you roll, pull the paper extremely tightly to make the coil as tight as possible.  I used the tool about half way through each coil until I did not feel I could wind it tight enough any longer.  I then removed it carefully from the tool and round the remainder by hand - this allowed me to stretch the paper very tightly.



Make 2.

It is important to make these the exact same size for a smooth finish.  Keep checking the second disc against the first as you go along to ensure a great fit.



Glue.

Once you have two discs of exactly the same size, you are ready to glue them together.  If you used 1/2" paper, you can obviously ignore this step.  Spread the glue in whatever fashion you like, but stay away from the hole in the center and the outer edges.



Press the two discs together very firmly.  Press your fingers around the side to make sure the edges fit together perfectly.



Optional hardening.

Using a sealer that will soak into the coils before gluing them together is an option you can consider.  I do not think it is necessary if you were able to roll the coils extremely tightly.  If you do decide to harden the interior of the coils, use a sealer that is very thin.  It needs to soak between the layers and not remain on the surface.  Be sure that all coils have completely dried 100 % prior to gluing them together.



As you progress.

Once done with the base, you will need to make the remaining 9 tiers in the exact same manner as stated and shown above.  As you glue each tier on top of another, use the pin to ensure you are centering them correctly.  Is this essential? Nope, but it makes it look pretty.  I like pretty.




Finish it up. 

Once all ten tiers are in place and the glue is completely dried, I suggest sealing the outside.  You can mark the sizes of each tier with a sharpie if you like before doing so.  I used two coats of clear nail polish.  This will help keep the paper clean as you use it over and over again in your future projects.  It also makes it shiny... thus pretty.... and as I stated before, I like pretty.  Once the sealer is dry, I like to wrap each coil with  clear scotch tape.  This allows the paper to slide from the form very easily when you use it. 


A word.

This tool is extremely useful in a lot of quilling projects.  Truth be told, I still use my dowels, pill bottles and super glue containers, but this is my go to guy when I am on the road (often), demonstrating at festival and shows (even more often), and quilling at the beach (damn near every day since I live on a beautiful tropical island).  I hope that you take the time to make one and try it out for yourself.  If you find it as useful as I do, please feel free to leave me a comment here and share the link to this tutorial on your own site.  The more we help each other develop easier and innovative ideas in quilling, the more people will be inspired to take up this amazing craft.  I appreciate your support!


In need of a project to put this tool to use?

Try the Classy Chassis Necklace


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Happy Rolling!

*Copyright Erin Curet 2013. All rights reserved.