Monthly Archives: April 2017

QUILLING: Techniques, Tools and Definitions

QUILLING: Techniques, Tools and Definitions




Quilling (also known as paper-scrolling) is a paper art whereby multicolored strips of paper are shaped, scrolled and pasted to produce various shapes and objects. Assemble and grouped together, they form a work of art. Historically, paper quilling dates back to ancient Egypt.

Buy or paper strips make them from paper that is flexible. Other considerations are weight and thickness.

3mm width is the standard and preferable width. Larger works may need 6 mm width while 1.5 mm is preferable for embellishments and smaller pieces.

Thick colored paper or watercolor paper is referable for the background. When using colored paper, organize the background color so that it contrasts or blends with the colors of the composition. The paper that is thick, smooth and stiff is ideal.


Slotted tool – This is used for scrolling the strips; insert paper strip into the slot and roll or use the handle for bigger coils.

Small bamboo knife – Use it for smoothing and scrapping the paper strips.

Straight pins – These help fix shapes of the designs.

Glue – Use it for pasting strips, etc. on the background.

Curved tip tweezers – Use them to grip, place and fix small pieces or strips.

Needle tool or toothpick or other applicator – Use them to apply glue on paper strips.

Scissors – They are used for trimming and cutting.

Paper shears – Shears are used for special effects’

Utility knife –  A utility knife is used to cut.

Tweezers – They are used to hold paper while quilling or gluing.

Ruler – This is used to measure the paper.

Dowels – Dowels are used to help make various coils (fingers work, too).

Markers, watercolors, paints and brushes – These materials and tools are used for coloring and/or designing your papers.

Board/card stock – These are used for pinning or gluing the coils in place.


Smoothing  – Hold one end of the strip between your left thumb and index finger. Use your right hand to smooth the strip with the bamboo knife with your right thumb on top. This will create a curl. This can also be done by using only your right thumb and finger.

Scraping – Using the bamboo knife, scrap the strip very hard between your thumb and knife or scrape hard with your thumb and index finger.

Scraping and smoothing require using different strengths. Smoothing is the preparation before shaping, scraping and scraping is part of shaping.

Bending – Bend the strip with both hands to create a curve.

Scrolling – Use a slotted tool or small cylinder to scroll the strip to form a coil.

Pulling – Stack several strips and glue one end. Use one hand to loosely hold the middle of the stack and use the other hand to pull the strips into different lengths to create a shape.

Pasting – Pasting fixes the processed strips to form basic shapes and for mounting those shapes on the background. Proper placing and mounting of the last composition is important for overall effect.

Pinching – After scrolling the strip, use your finger to pinch the coil. This creates many variations and shapes.

Pressing – Use thumb and index finger to press the strip or coil to form a shape.

Stacking – Stack several “elements” to crate layering and three-dimensional effects. Add more layers as needed.

Adjusting – Adjust basic components, strips, shapes and compositions to create the best effect.




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Just Loved Reading: Paper Boy by Vince Vawter

Just Loved Reading: Paper Boy by Vince Vawter

Just Loved Reading:


Middle Grade Fiction

Vawter, Vince. Paperboy. New York: Delacorte Press, 2013

Words in the air blow away as soon as you say them but words on paper last forever.” (Paperboy, p 21)

Memphis, Tennessee, 1959. The protagonist in Paperboy can’t say his name without inhaling big gulps of Gentle Air as his speech therapist taught him. (We learn his name in the last chapter and that his first name and his last name start with the same letter.) Some words are easier to say than other words depending on the first letter of the word because some letters are easier to pronounce than others.

He calls his best friend Rat because it’s easier to say than his real name, Art.

He throws a mean ball, though – it’s the one thing he knows he’s good at –  in the opinion of his team. He feels at home on the baseball mound but not everywhere else in his white suburban world.

He takes over Art’s paper route for one month even though he knows it will be hard for him to communicate with the customers on collection day. He knows he’s taking on a challenge. But the people and the events that he encounters, the hidden family secret he uncovers and the surprising new friends he makes during that month and on that paper route changes his attitude life forever.

And that is just the beginning.


The protagonist is one of the most likable, sympathetic, inspiring children in children and Young Adult literature that I have ever read about. I wanted to hug him. Other readers may want to hug him, too. He never stops thinking of ways to overcome his stuttering but confesses his loneliness because his stuttering sets him apart from other kids. In spite of everything, he doesn’t give up or feel sorry for himself. Instinctively, he lives one day at a time but tries everyday to overcome his “affliction.”

The reader will root for him through every step of his journey from trying to collect money to witnessing a knifing to becoming friends with a deaf boy and a retired sailor to discovering a family secret. This boy is a hero because of the way he handles himself in these situations with the kinds of people he encounters and the decision he reaches about his family’s past.

In the author’s note, Vince Vawter, a stutterer, quotes James Earl Jones, who overcame his stutter and became a renowned actor: “One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter.” Like the author, the hero in Paperboy realizes that although it is hard for him to speak, he is better at writing words (and throwing a fast ball).

Paperboy will lift up your spirits.

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Ages: 5 – 12 years

Time: one hour


Pink craft foam sheet

Blue craft foam sheet

Yellow craft foam sheet

Yellow felt square 14” x 20”

Dowel rod 18”

String – double the length of the dowel rod

Measure and cut the yellow felt square to 14” x 20” and place it vertically. Make a loop by measuring and folding a 1” seam and iron. Measure and fold a second 1” seam. Iron and glue the second fold. You will be inserting the dowel

rod through this loop. (This felt piece should now measure  14”x18”.)

Using templates or stencils trace and cut a large egg from the pink craft foam sheet. Glue it on the center of the yellow felt piece. Cut the double cross pattern, 5 small eggs, six small petals, and 4 large petals out of the blue craft foam sheet. Cut six small petals and 4 large petals from the yellow craft foam sheet. Cut 5 small eggs and 2 tiny circles from the pink craft foam sheet.

Glue the double cross on the large egg. Place 4 large yellow petals near the center of the top cross. Glue a pink dot in the center of the cross. Arrange 6 blue petals near the top and sides of the cross. Glue 4 large blue petals near the intersection at the bottom of the cross. Glue a pink dot in the center of the bottom cross. Arrange 6 small yellow petals near the bottom and sides of the cross and glue. Glue small blue and pink eggs in a random pattern around the central egg.

Cut the dowel rod to about 18”. Insert a loop at the top. Cut the string to a length suitable for hanging. Tie the string to the ends of the dowel rod. Decorate your home by hanging the Easter Egg Banner from a window, on a wall or door.

VARIATION: What other symbols have special meaning to you? Use them in your own Easter Egg Design.

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JUST LOVED READING: The School The Aztec Eagles Built

JUST LOVED READING: The School The Aztec Eagles Built



The School the Aztec Eagles Built

Non-Fiction/Middle Grade

Nicholson, Dorinda Makanaohalani. The School the Aztec Eagles Built. New York: Lee and Low Books, 2016.

            Relations between Mexico and the US were not always cordial especially when they fought over what were once Mexico’s northern territories. In 1835, Texas declared its independence from Mexico. This led to the US – Mexican War which lasted from 1846 to 1848. When it ended, Mexico lost Texas, Nevada, California, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Wyoming and Colorado.

On May 13 and 22, 1942, German U-boats torpedoed two unarmed Mexican oil tankers off the Florida coast. Germany refused to apologize for the aggression and Mexico declared war on the Axis powers, Germany, Italy and Japan. Mexico had a small military and had never fought another country overseas.

US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mexican President Manuel Avila Comacho met to discuss how the two countries could help each other. By this time, Japan had attacked the US at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The result of these discussions was the formation of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force. The flight operations unit was known as Air Fighter Squadron 201 or the Aztec Eagles.

The Squadron consisted of pilots and ground crew who took care of the airplanes. They trained initially in Idaho and then in Texas where they encountered prejudice from the locals and distrust from the American air pilots with whom they were going to work. Eventually, the American and Mexican pilots forged a mutual respect. The Squadron flew missions from the Philippines which ended when the US dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When the pilots and crew returned home, they were hailed as heroes and decorated veterans.

Angel Bocanegra was a school teacher in his village of Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico. Tepoztlan had a small two room schoolhouse that could barely hold a couple of the grades. Many of the children formed classrooms on neighbors’ porches, on the grass and anywhere there was space to sit and learn.

Bocanegra enlisted as one of the Squadron’s ground crew. President Comacho reviewed the men before they left for the US and asked if anyone had any requests. Bocanegra shouted out that he had a request for a schoolhouse for his village. President Comacho agreed.

When Angel Bocanegra returned to his village, he saw a brand new building named Escuela Escuadron 210.


This book narrated the little known story of the Aztec Eagles, Squadron 210 of the Mexican Air Force and how World War II helped to establish goodwill between the US and Mexico. The footnote about Angel Bocanegra was interesting, too. But the book also narrates an account of the Bracero Program brokered by President Roosevelt and President Comacho. The program allowed Mexican workers to enter the US on temporary work permits. So from 1943 to 1945, over 100, 000 laborers worked on farms and railroads. This helped to plug the hole in the work force left by enlisted soldiers and sailors and was another way Mexico, with its small military, could help with the war effort.

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