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Archive for June, 2011

Save Now On Scrapbooking Supplies

Thursday, June 30th, 2011
By Twistie

Hey all you scrapbookers out there in Craftland! Roberts Crafts is having a huge scrapbooking sale now through the Fourth of July. Get 25% off all regular priced scrapbooking supplies. Just use discount code SCRAPBOOK26W to get the savings.

This would be great for commemorating that family reunion, college or high school graduation, new baby, retirement party, major wedding anniversary, or first house purchase coming up in your family.

After all, we crafty people enjoy a good bargain, too.

Drop and Give Me Fiber!

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
By Twistie

15th century French illustration of drop spindle and walking distaff via Ewephoric

Spinning is almost as old as any form of civilization. After all, many agree that without clothes, civilization is, at best, tenuous, and spinning allows us to have both cloth to cover our nakedness and thread to keep those clothes from flapping pointlessly in the breeze:

Oh, Natasha Richardson! This was not your finest public moment.


So if we’re not all going to be naturists, we are going to wear clothes at least in public. And before the advent of harnessed electricity, refined gas, and all those other much, much later technological advances, well, we had to make that thread and cloth somehow. The drop spindle – and later the spinning wheel – and the loom were how we got it done before there was much written recorded history or the internet.

Sure, we can just go out and buy clothes, fabric, yarn, or thread today without worrying about producing our own… but where’s the fun in that? After all, I can go out and buy microwaveable meals, too, but I still prefer to cook most of the time. It’s tastier and I get a sense of accomplishment.

Yarn may not taste much better from a drop spindle, but it’s certainly more of an accomplishment than buying it ready spun! It’s something you can do with your hands while waiting for other things or while listening to music or watching TV. And when you’re done, you’ve got something useful to show for your time, whether you’ve made something just right for that chunky knit sweater you want to get done before the first snowfall or something delicate enough to turn into a spider web of lace.

If all of this sounds like fun to you… it is. And if you think you’d like to give it a try, check out these instructions from Just remember the heed the author’s warning:

WARNING!!! Spinning reduces stress and promotes well being. It can also be habit forming and lead to obsessive behaviors such as, but not restricted to: caressing and hoarding all fibers; dying them with food colors and things from your garden or whatever you have laying about; spinning the fluffy bits of the weeds in your fields, the cotton wad in your vitamin bottles and even the lint from your dryer! Proceed with extreme caution!

Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Hooray for the Red, White, and Blue Crafts!

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
By Twistie

So. It’s mere days to the Fourth of July, and you’ve decided at the last minute to throw a barbeque before heading out to see the fireworks. Your bank account is running on empty, the kids are in desperate need of a good project to keep them out of your hair, and you’re searching for inspiration. What do you do? What do you do?

For starters, you can take a look over at where you can find the instructions for making these fun, festive flowers our of painted coffee filters.

Or, for an amusing retro hanger to place on your door, take a look at this project posted today at Vintage Image Craft:

All you’ll need is a wire hanger or two, some crepe paper, the image which you can download from their site, and a few other basic craft supplies you probably have in your home already.

Or for something every bit as easy, but just a little more sophisticated, head over to Woman’s Day for instructions on making these simple, yet elegant, centerpieces with glass vases, colored sand, a few blooms, and a couple tiny flags:

There’s no need for last minute or simple to mean dull, ordinary, or unimaginative. Let’s get creative!

Quickie Question: Sweet Charity Projects?

Monday, June 27th, 2011
By Twistie


Mmm… sorry. Long weekend. American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Legs in searing pain… brain fuzzy… but at least I used enough sunscreen to avoid burning, so hopefully I won’t need the ACS’s services for skin cancer.

So I spent twenty-four hours on and around the track, walking, helping shlep campsite gear and equipment for the stage (Mr. Twistie was entertainment chairman for our town) and that after spending days baking delicious, fudgey brownies to sell.

Last year I made cookies and was the only person on the site selling home baked goodies. Another team member was the only person doing face painting. This year, half the teams were selling baked goods (the team next to ours was selling entire loaves of banana bread for a buck!) and while the Redhead was still painting Harry Potter scars and rainbows on kids’ cheeks, there was another team down the track doing outrageously ornate face painting with sparkles. Plus there was one team doing massages for five bucks! Free for cancer survivors.

Yeah, we didn’t really set the world on fire with our goodies this year. Sigh. At least I have some tasty brownies to enjoy… and we did exchange some brownies for some free barbeque at dinner time on saturday.


If there’s one thing I know about crafty people, it’s that we tend to be generous. Every time there’s a big charity event, I see my fellow crafters selling their goods for the cause.

So I’m wondering… all of you out there, have you ever donated your time, talent, and craftiness to a Worthy Cause? What did you do? Did it raise much money? If you were doing something like the Relay, what would you make?

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go soak my sore feet in epsom salts.

Time for Tiles

Friday, June 24th, 2011
By Twistie

Sometimes we dream of doing upgrades to our homes, but find the decorative materials available lacking in some way. You can’t find precisely the shade of blue you wanted for the tub surround, or just the style of eggplant motif you need for the kitchen backsplash. Maybe you have visions of a very specific kind of stepping stone in the garden.

Well, despair no more! Because now you can head over to and help yourself to a copy of Making and Installing Handmade Tiles by Angelica Pozo. It’s published by Lark books, which is always a sign of quality in craft instruction manuals, whatever the technique.

You’ll learn about basic tools and techniques, how to apply glaze, carve, inlay, do mosaic work… nearly anything you could possibly want to know about making and using ceramic tiles!

Best of all, it’s a steal right now. Originally priced at $17.95, it’s been reduced to just $8.55.

At that price, you can probably afford the tools, too. Just a thought.

Inspiration Gallery: Glass Painting

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
By Twistie

It’s fun. It’s festive. And I’m kind of in love with the wonky shape of these pretty green bottles. Even the somewhat minimalist, crude sun on the right is making me smile… though I’m more drawn to the Klimt-esque dotted scrolls on the left.

All in all, if I were to begin painting on glass, I imagine this is what my early efforts would most closely resemble. I’m a dab  hand at painting  a wall, but fiddly things like glass bottles? Actual figurative work? Yeah, not so much. Still, even these simple efforts that are nearly as wonky as the bottles themselves have a certain charm to them. I may even try it, using the instructions found here.

But of course there’s so much more than the sun from a small child’s crayon drawing or simple motifs ripped off from famous paintings to do with glass and paint in tandem.

Got Sack?

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
By Twistie

Summer means that it’s time to get out in the sun and play. And one of the many games to be played outside is hacky sack. Invented in 1972, hacky sack has been a favorite on college campuses and in city parks ever since.

But buying those little footbags does run into money over time.

If you enjoy a game of hacky sack, or if you know someone who does, why not use scraps of leftover fabric and tag ends of crochet thread to make your own?

a knol at has clear directions for how to sew up a footbag quickly… even one that looks like a tiny soccer ball!

If crochet is more your style, head over to and check out these instructions for the popular rainbow striped hacky sack.

Or, at, you can learn how to recycle your old, worn out socks into – among other things – yes, hacky sacks. Or drink cozies, which might come in handy after your game.

Happiness is a Bubbly Gun?

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
By Twistie

So. These guns? Are actually handmade soaps. Pomegranate and vanilla, no less. They also come in Tangerine and lychee, or Tattoo Aftercare. They run $3.15 apiece from the creators at SouthSideSoaps of Montreal via Etsy.

I love the scents chosen… but I have to say I don’t think I’d deal well with facing a gun at my own sink in the morning when I go in to do my daily ablutions. Maybe I’ll stick with the tea tree ones. I’m not as excited about the scent, but I gotta say waking up in the morning to dinosaur heads sounds a lot more like my cuppa… well… tea tree, apparently.


PS: Don’t forget the Crafty Manolo Contest in progress now! I’ve gotten some really great entries… but you’ve still got time. Just get your entry to me by sunday, July 3 at 6pm PDT. Remember, even if you don’t win, you’ll get a chance to have your craftwork featured in a future article right here on Crafty Manolo.

Quickie Question: War Wounds?

Monday, June 20th, 2011
By Twistie

via Happy Goat Ranch

It’s a little-known fact that crafting can be far more perilous than most people realize. Many of us work with sharp, hot, or extremely heavy items that can cause pain and even bleeding if we lose concentration or balance for even a moment.

Even with the relatively safe craft of bobbin lace, I have on more than one occasion pricked myself badly on a pin or given myself a nasty papercut (they hurt more with heavy stock!) on a pattern. Working with hot glue on centerpieces for a dance once, I gave myself several nasty burns.

Then there are all the people I’ve known over the years who have managed to run the sewing machine over their thumbs, gotten real gashes from saws, knives, sheet metal, and glass… yeah, crafting is not for the weak.

So what about all of you out there? What’s the worst craft-related injury you’ve ever suffered? What’s the most ridiculous one? Have you ever had to give first aid to a crafting buddy?

Or would you rather just look at cute pictures of goats?

Thumbs Down

Thursday, June 16th, 2011
By Twistie

It seems Jake the cat has had enough of my taunting him  about how my thumbs are more opposable than his. He took his revenge on tuesday afternoon by leaping off of my hand in such a way that he bent my left thumb waaaaay back and sprained it.

Have I mentioned I’m a southpaw? I am. Ow.

Back soon. Typing hurts.

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