Crafty Manolo


Making Your Own Evening Wear

August 29th, 2013
By Margaret

Regarding the title of this post: don’t do it.

In fact, I can’t caution you against it strongly enough. Instead of trying to make your own wedding dress, or your prom dress, just go to a site like DressFirst and pick out something nice, click the purchase button, and wait for the UPS man to show up with the package. It’ll save you a lot of heartache in the end.

The problem isn’t that you don’t have excellent tailoring skills, it’s that unless you’re a professional seamstress and/or dress designer, making fancy evening wear is a very specialized skill, one in which minor mistakes can quickly spiral out of control and turn into world-class disasters. And because the typical fabric used in constructing homecoming dresses and prom dresses and bridesmaid dress is so expensive, a simple slip of the scissors or the sewing machine can cost you a bundle.

When you move into formal wear, you’re moving into very dangerous territory. The jungles of Africa have nothing on it.

If, however, you choose to ignore my warnings and do want to start making evening wear, use yourself as the guinea pig first. Wear your own clothes until you get good enough to make things for others. The last thing you want is to promise to make someone a prom dress (for example) only to find that you’re not able to complete the dress in time for the big event, or that your skill set wasn’t up to the task of producing something that’s supposed to be elegant and well-finished.

So, to recap. Want to make evening wear? Don’t do it.



Creating a Demonstration Survival Kit

December 17th, 2012
By Twistie


Photo via Historic Cold Spring Village

If you’ve ever demonstrated your craft in public, you know that it’s a far more perilous activity than most would suspect. In addition to the danger of losing your voice through constant talking, there’s the danger of losing materials to grubby hands or sticky fingers, and of course your mind when you spend most of the day answering the same three questions over and over and over and over and over again.

Then there are the crafts that leave us more open than others to minor injuries that require swift attention, though not grievous enough to warrant a trip to the ER, hunger pangs when things are just too busy for you to take a break, sunburn if you’re out of doors and nasty drafts if you’re inside… the list goes on.

But a few simple items packed in advance and used as necessary can help you make it through your weaving art demo safely and with a minimum of injury to you and to the public.

Read the rest of this entry »



Twistie Is a Sad Sock Monkey

December 5th, 2012
By Twistie

It is with a heavy heart that I have a sad announcement to make: the Maonolosphere is shutting down, and that means this is my very last post to you here on Crafty Manolo.

I still can’t quite make myself believe it, but it’s true.

This blog is very close to my heart. I love handcrafts, and I love writing, so writing about crafting has been an absolute delight for me.

But all things must end eventually, and that includes the superfantastic ones.

I will miss you all more than I can possibly say.

Still, while this is a blow, it’s not the end for me. I’ve decided to take this as the kick in the pants I needed to move onward and upward with my writing. I intend to put together a book proposal, roll the dice, and see what happens.

So stay crafty, my friends. May all your future sock monkeys be happy ones.



Give a Little, You’ll Never Regretsy It!

December 4th, 2012
By Twistie

There are a lot of worthy causes in the world. Most of them would like some money, too. But if you’re looking for a cause that’s not too big and where you can see real good done for specific people, you could do worse than take a look at Regretsy today.

You see, today they’re kicking off their second annual Secret Santa.

That’s right! Those heartless mockers of the worst of Etsy are opening their creaking chest cavities to give Christmas presents to children in need. If you know a child who isn’t going to have much in the way of a Christmas this year, you have until the seventh to nominate them. If you just want to help out, go throw some money at the problem. The goal is to help two hundred kids get some unexpected holiday magic thrown their way. Each child will receive one individually chosen present. Where possible, it will be just what they want most. Where not possible, it will at least be tailored to their specific tastes.

Oh, and since PayPal were such Grinches last year, all funds will be handled through Regretsy’s WePay store.

The craft community is good at sharing joy. Let’s all do our parts.

Oh, and if you know of a craft-related charity/program you’d like to see supported, feel free to let us all know about it in comments.



Ancient Craft, Modern Twist

December 3rd, 2012
By Twistie

I love it when someone comes up with a way to use an ancient technique for a new purpose. In a lot of ways, I guess this naalbinding iPhone case isn’t that new a concept. After all, naalbinding has been used to make bags to carry various things for thousands of years. But the iPhone is a relatively modern thing, and the bag is a simple project the beginning naalbinder can accomplish quickly.

To find out how, just go to this page of instructions on All Fiber Arts, get your iPhone ready, and have fun.



Boy Oh Boy… Or Is It a Girl?

November 30th, 2012
By Twistie

PRAS returned this week after ducking out on Thanksgiving night… which was probably a good idea. Some of what I saw last night would not have sat well after a full meal of turkey and salad and mashed potatoes and gravy and pumpkin pie.

Anyway. Last time on Project Runway All Stars: Designers are inspired by photos sent in by fans. Laura does her best low-rent Marie Antoinette impression while Joshua feels her pain. Anthony Ryan wins with a dress where I can see the inspiration, but am not wild about the results and Andrae is finally given a mercy killing for his painfully bad zip up panel skirt and matching tube top.

What happened this time? Read on to find out!

Read the rest of this entry »



Inspiration Gallery: Gifts From Your Kitchen

November 29th, 2012
By Twistie

With the holidays coming up quickly and belts everywhere tightening, it can be hard to come up with great gifts for friends and family… that is, unless you’re a fellow crafty person! Just a few basic ingredients and a little time and effort will produce delicious gifts nearly everyone on your list will love.

For instance, see that elegant cruet of rosemary infused olive oil? If you have a rosemary bush nearby, bottles with firm stoppers or caps, a stove and some olive oil, you’ve got a great gift for the foodie on your list. Just follow the simple instructions at Lulu’s Bites and delight your friends!

Oh, and don’t forget that you can use the same method with a lot of other herbs, too. Thyme? Or maybe even some chili peppers? And citrus zest is a winner, too.

But how about some things that are ready to eat rather than an ingredient for future cooking?

Read the rest of this entry »



Image By Image

November 28th, 2012
By Twistie

One thing I love about the online crafting community is that I get to see work by people I might otherwise never hear about. That’s probably my single favorite thing about my single favorite feature on the blog CraftyPod. Sister Diane sends out a series of questions to a crafter who responds with visual answers.

The most recent Image Only Interview is with Barbara McIntyre of Browneyedbabs.

This is the illustration she picked for how she feels when crafting. It means ‘excited,’ BTW.

Check out a few of these delightful and imaginative interviews. Then go check out some of the equally delightful and imaginative interviewees. You’ll be glad you did.



Cone On In

November 27th, 2012
By Twistie

It’s that time of the year when people who wouldn’t put a wreath on their door at any other time… put one up. There’s something about the winter holidays that does that to people.

But of course the thing I like about it is that it’s easy to get creative and come up with something rather fabulous with a minimum of funding, time, and even effort.

For instance, that gorgeous pinecone wreath up there? Made with found pinecones, an oven,  a glue gun, some spray paint, and a ribbon fashioned out of burlap. Chances are that if you’re crafty, you’ve already got at least a couple of those things lying around your home. The rest? Won’t cost much and are easy to find.

To get the skinny on how to do it, head on over to Twigg Studios and simply follow the simple instructions. Start in the morning, and I’m betting it could be on your door or hanging over your mantelpiece either in the evening, or the following morning.

Oh, and keep in mind that the oven setting of 180C comes out to roughly 350F.



Quickie Question: Dear Santa?

November 26th, 2012
By Twistie

Dear Santa,

There are a couple things I’d love to find under the tree this year. Here they are:

First off, I’d like a nice selection of rovings in pretty colors to do more needle felting with. I like this selection of 50 colors from Mielke’s Fiber Arts. At just $32.00, it’s even a deal.

I could also use some pretty new lace bobbins from Knotwork Lace Tools. Pretty and practical. I love these bobbins!

So what about all of you? What crafting goodies would you love to have Santa deliver down your chimney?

Tell us all about it!








Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik

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