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Archive for December, 2010

Quickie Question: What Was Your First Craft Project

Monday, December 20th, 2010
By Twistie

via National Park Service

The first craft project I remember was something we did in school for Christmas. It must have been kindergarten, though it could have been first grade.

Either way, we took cleaned lids from cottage cheese tubs, glued dried pasta and tiny pine cones to them, spray painted them gold and glued them onto wide lengths of grosgrain ribbon with a thin stick at the top. Then we tied string to the sticks, and voila! Christmas ornaments for Mom and Dad to ooh and aah over.

For some reason or another, they really did. In fact, they hung it up in the hallway. I finally took it down myself when we were cleaning out the house after my father’s death.

So how about you? What are your earliest memories of making crafts?

Book ‘Em

Friday, December 17th, 2010
By Twistie

If you’ve been thinking of taking up book binding, now might be a good time to head over to Amazon to get a great deal on a brand new book that will give you everything you need to know.

Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings Structures & Forms by Alisa Golden will teach you the basics and a lot more. Scrolls, Jacob’s ladders, case bindings and more are explained. In addition to the projects explained, there are photographs of over books created by over 40 established book binders.

The list price for this treasure trove is just $19.95, which is a good deal. However, the fact that it doesn’t come out until January 4, 2011 lets you in on an even better deal. Pre-order it from Amazon and you can get it for just $11.05.

A fantastic deal on instructions in a new (or continuing) craft sounds to me like a great way to get 2011 off to an amazing start.

Carpe Diem Chau

Thursday, December 16th, 2010
By Twistie

Every once in a while you find a crafter whose work is intriguing both artistically and technically. Diem Chau is one of these crafters. She’s come up with a subtle and unique way of expressing herself that is at once wistful, delicate, and oddly bold.

What precisely does she do? She embroiders pieces on silk, usually of people or body parts, frequently with threads or braids depending from the piece, and then attaches them to pieces of porcelain found in thrift stores.


Inspiration Gallery: Tie Dye

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
By Twistie

via Tie-Dye Heaven

I’m coming out of the closet. I am an old-school, Earth mother, hippie at heart. No patchouli, please, though. It makes me gag.

The fact is – patchouli aside – I love all those back-to-the-garden crafts that people decided they’d created in the late sixties. One of those crafts is tie dyeing. It’s as simple as can be. Just a few basic tools and some creativity can turn boring white tablecloths into something like the Electric Kool Aid Acid wash number shown above.

Or you can do something that shows more obvious control of the medium, like this gorgeous lotus blossom motif on a marbled background:


Big Fat Hairy Deal

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010
By Twistie


See those flowers? They’re made of human hair. In point of fact, this wreath was made from the hair of fifteen different people.

Hairwork was once a popular craft, though it’s fairly rare today. Sometimes it was made up into display pieces like this one, but it was more often used to make rings, brooches, and other small pieces of jewelry. In fact, it was often referred to as ‘jewelry of sentiment.’

That sentiment could be quite varied, too. While hairwork is often associated with mourning, it was also popular for lovers to trade hair jewelry and was also made up to give friends and family members who were about to go on long journeys or move long distances. A parent might have a piece made of hair from his or her children. In the days before Polaroids, hairwork was a good way to keep a small piece of a loved one close.


Quickie Question: What Is Your Dream Toy?

Monday, December 13th, 2010
By Twistie

It’s true. We crafters tend to love toys. There’s always a new piece of equipment or an exciting fiber we haven’t tried. For my part, I’d like a couple more bobbins from this fabulous lady, and a four-way roller pillow. It looks like this:

Perfect for working four patterns at once or lacing with three really good friends.

What? I have peculiar dreams.

But what about the rest of you? What’s the thing you want to make your crafting time even better?

Ancient Art, Newfangled Instruction Method

Friday, December 10th, 2010
By Twistie

One of the things I love best about the internet is the way it brings people together from all over the world. Through this connection, ideas and skills that might otherwise die out can be revived. For instance, the internet is helping build a renaissance of lace making, and one of the people doing her part is Doreen Holmes. She’s the lady who made the gorgeous needlelace flower shown above, as well as this rather spectacular needlelace peacock below.


It’s a Wrap

Thursday, December 9th, 2010
By Twistie


With Christmas  coming up, let’s talk a moment about gift wrapping, shall we? Sure, all the papers and ribbons and sparkly things look great sitting under the tree, but what about the detritus scattered all over the room ten minutes after the first package is handed to its new owner? Not to mention the fact that many gift wraps are of dubious recyclability.

Don’t worry, I’m not turning into a pre-haunting Scrooge on you. I’m just developing an interest in a different way of gift wrapping. Specifically, I’m getting quite interested in furoshiki, the Japanese art of wrapping gifts in squares of silk fabric.


Getting Started Tossing Bobbins

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
By Twistie


This is a fully dressed lace pillow. Looks scary, huh? All those bobbins that all look different. All those pins. All that… stuff.

When you get right down to it, though, bobbin lace is not a difficult craft to pick up. While there are challenges to last a lifetime and dozens of different styles to master, at any given moment, bobbin lace boils down to just a couple different moves using no more than four threads at a time. As for the bobbins, they’re just thread holders with handles so that you can manipulate the threads without touching them. It doesn’t matter in the work whether they all match perfectly or look quite different. Just don’t mix Midlands and Continental bobbins.

Frankly, if you can tell your right from your left and have basic manual dexterity, you can learn to make bobbin lace. There’s plenty of fine-tuning, of course, but given that children as young as six used to be professional bobbin lacemakers all over Europe, you start to realize that the essentials aren’t exactly rocket science.

But where do you learn how to do it? And where do you get the basic tools?


Mask Arrayed

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
By Twistie

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth

Oscar Wilde said that, not me.

Of course, it helps if the mask is a really good one. Some of my personal favorites come from a company called Peekaboo Masks. Each one is handmade of leather, carefully sculpted into an intriguing shape, and decorated in rich colors. Here are a couple more examples  to give you an idea of just how fabulous they are: (more…)

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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