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Archive for September, 2011

Now THAT Was a Make It Work Moment!

Friday, September 30th, 2011
By Twistie

Wow. Last night there was a Project Runway first that I never expected to see!

For my thoughts, join me after the cut. For those who haven’t watched, don’t wish to be spoiled, or just don’t really care… move along, nothing to see here. Except this pretty picture of the inimitable Tim Gunn (Call me, Tim! I’ll bake the scones!) deep in thought.


In Preys of Cobblers

Thursday, September 29th, 2011
By Twistie

I love cobblers!

No, no! Not that kin… well, yeah, okay, I do love that kind of cobbler, too. But as delicious as that looks, I’m talking about the other kind. The kind that makes shoes.

We all wear shoes. They protect and spiff up our feet like nobody’s business. Shoes are just plain awesome. That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.

I remember as a child going with my mother to her cobbler. You see, every year she had a pair of hand tooled leather sandals made for her. Same design, same very dark brown leather every time. Except when she was going to the opera or a formal wedding, those were the only shoes she wore, rain or shine. I loved going with her to the cobbler, and wished that instead of going to Penny’s to find the one blasted hideous pair of shoes that would go over my little cube feet every year that I could have a pair of gorgeous, dark, supple leather sandals made just for me, too.

These days I kind of wish I had broached the subject to someone other than my own brain. I love pretty shoes as much as the next girl, and it might be nice to remember some actual pretty shoes on my own feet from those days instead of the parade of hideous, orthopedic monstrosities that encased my poor little toes back in those days.

Then again, my parents would probably have said sandals were not the right thing for a growing girl’s feet. The schools would probably have agreed on rainy days.

The siren lure of custom shoes still calls me to this day. And while I still love those flat, strappy leather sandals Mom wore, my horizons have broadened. I would like fashionable shoes that fit my still cubist feet and my particular sense of style.

Then  what to my wondering eyes should appear but Shoes of Prey. Individually designed and handmade really fashionable shoes. Shoes like this:

Stylish shoes that can be customized to your feet and your preferences. I don’t even like peep toes, and I find myself lusting after these!

No, it’s not cheap. Prices start at $180.00 for ballet flats and go up depending on heel height, materials, and custom issues like very wide or narrow feet. Then again, I can walk into Nordstrom and easily spend more on shoes that aren’t going to fit my feet properly. And if I have a philosophy about paying for clothes, it’s that feet are vital to your ability to function all the way to your head, so it’s worth paying extra for them to seriously fit and properly support you.

Besides, those shoes at Nordstrom? Are going to be worn by  hundreds, perhaps thousands of other women. These? Will be one of a kind.

Now that’s worth the extra!

Have ATAT It

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
By Twistie

If you’re looking for a baby gift for the Star Wars fanatic in you life, this pet ATAT onesie by Etsy artist Ironspider may be the answer to your prayers. It’s hand screen printed on soft cotton and comes in sizes from 3 months to 24 months.

But what about your more grownup Star Wars fan? Well, the same print is available as a tee shirt in both children’s and adult’s sizes, and as a tee shirt dress in women’s sizes (only through size L, sadly).

Not into Star Wars? Check out Ironspider’s other fine designs. I’m particularly taken with this one.

Inspiration Gallery: Papier Mache

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
By Twistie

Most of us have done a little papier mache in our time. It’s one of those crafts that shows up a lot in elementary school classrooms and summer camp arts and crafts lessons. But have you done any lately? I know I haven’t. But looking at this illustration of Muslim men painting papier mache ornaments over at Wikipedia, I may have been inspired. And so I thought I’d pass the inspiration on to all of you.


Quickie Question: Seasonal Crafts?

Monday, September 26th, 2011
By Twistie

Ah, Autumn! That snap in the air, those piles of leaves on the ground, the kids are back in school… it’s almost like a whole new world, isn’t it? It’s certainly a time of transition.

And so I find myself wondering, does anyone out there tend to change their crafts with the seasons? Do you put away your scrapbooks and start casting on new knitting projects? Stop pickling and start quilting? Or if you continue to do the same crafts, does your stylistic or material focus change?

I find myself pulling out warmer colors to use in the colder months. Sure, lace isn’t going to keep anyone warm at night (unless your knitting up those fabulous Shetland shawls… and those are only going to go so far), but while I tend to reach for icy blues and cooling greens during the warmer months, as soon as the first leaf hits the ground, I’m itching to work in yellow, red, orange, and all the colors that make me feel cozy and warm.

What changes about your craft with the seasons?

Oh Happy Day!

Friday, September 23rd, 2011
By Twistie

Yes, my friends, Twistie is a tremendously happy camper this morning. Those of you who do not wish to be spoiled by how last night’s episode of Project Runway led to this orgy of cheer and goodwill toward men (and women) would do well to move along now and not follow me beyond the cut.

The rest of you, come on in the back with me where we will pop virtual bubbly and giggle a lot.


Let’s Get Geeky and Crafty

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011
By Twistie

As I noted in yesterday’s post, the world of sci-fi seems to have little appreciation for crafts. But I’ve also noticed that crafters as a species do seem to have a lot of use for sci-fi and other speculative creativity. In fact, there’s a super-cool blog called Geek Crafts that’s dedicated to the intersection of geekery and crafting. If you haven’t ever been, go check it out now. Go on. I’ll wait.

Cool, isn’t it?

And as you can see from the illustration at the top of this post, Susan Beal, who writes for Geek Crafts, has written a book of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and gaming-related craft projects for you or the crafty geek in your life.


Will There Ever Be Crafts in Space?

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
By Twistie

Like many crafters, I’m a great big sci-fi geek. I can quote you chapter of verse of most iterations of Star Trek, hold an intelligent discussion of where George Lucas went wrong with the Star Wars franchise, compare and contrast many of the societies visited through the Stargate, and quote virtually every line from Galaxy Quest (That was a hell of a thing).

But there’s one thing that has always bothered me about all of these sci-fi icons and many, many more that I’ve seen and read over the years: nobody makes crafts for enjoyment.

Sure, sometimes on Stargate or various versions of Trek they would come across a charmingly bucolic society. In these places, everybody had to produce food, clothing, shelter, etc. so that everyone would survive. But virtually all of  these charming, peaceful, gentle worlds are utterly without artistic addition. Nobody makes jewelry that doesn’t have a specific, ritual meaning. Nobody adds a flourish to the legs of a chair, or embroiders a pillow simply so it will be pretty. Nobody is shown making something of a purely decorative nature or just for fun. It’s all simply, rustic, and utilitarian.

And when these shows visit advanced societies, everything is about scientific advancement. Nothing wrong with that, of course. I’m in favor of finding cool ways to cure diseases, travel longer distances with lower environmental impact, provide inhospitable lands with food and water, and all sorts of things like that. I find these ideas and many like them to be entirely fab and gear.

But these societies seem to have little or no art. Sometimes there’s a terribly refined style of music (which sounds much more like Muzak to my ears), but nobody seems to create visual or textural art. Nobody creates a thing that isn’t either scientific or intensely practical. It’s all smooth, shiny, refined and utilitarian.

Come on, producers of sci-fi worlds! Would it kill you to have some form of embroidery or model making survive the millennia? If there’s someone on a starship who plays the trombone, couldn’t there also be someone on that ship who tats? It takes up a lot less space and makes a lot less noise, after all.

Okay, Data paints. There is that, and I’m in favor, entirely. But wouldn’t there have been one traditional Bajoran craft that Ensign Ro picked up in the camps? Didn’t Guinan’s people have to do something when they weren’t all listening to each other? Out of all the human societies the Goa’uld transplanted into outer space, wouldn’t Daniel Jackson have found one that still created purely decorative jewelry? Couldn’t Amy Pond scrapbook about her journeys with The Doctor? Well, no, actually I don’t think she would. But Rory totally would. In fact, I feel quite sure he does it whenever Amy isn’t looking.

I love speculative entertainment. But I also love making lace. I appreciate many forms of craftwork, and want to encourage them. I don’t believe that the human race will ever get to a place where we don’t need to express ourselves creatively by hand.

Just once, I’d like to see someone create a sci-fi show or film that agrees with me on that.

I Wouldn’t Do It To a Dog

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
By Twistie

That poor pooch!

Okay, I’m going to come right out and say this: I really, really dislike the practice of dressing up pets. I find it undignified. That’s my personal opinion, and I’m sticking by it. Your mileage may vary, and we won’t have a problem about that as long as you aren’t coming over to dress my cat up… not that you’d find him if you tried that. He’d be hiding and I would aid him in any way I could.

But even if you’re into dressing up the critturs in your life, would you really inflict this ‘Yoda’ costume on your pup? I wouldn’t. In fact, the expression on this poor, forlorn canine really sums up my feelings on the subject.

On the other hand, I have to admit I could see a use for the crocheted light saber rattles. Same artist, much cooler result. In fact, I have some terribly pro-creative friends who are huge Star Wars nerds, too. If they present the world with another tiny one, I know what to give as a baby present!

Quickie Question: How Would the Industry Change?

Monday, September 19th, 2011
By Twistie

 (image from the Etam show, Paris Fashion Week, Fall 2011, via Posh

After friday’s article on Olivier Green’s appalling behavior on thursday’s episode of Project Runway, reader Mallory posed an interesting question in comments:

…I’m ready for a season of PR where the female designers dominate – at least they know what DD means. I appreciate to no end the creativity of male designers, but part of me kind of resents the fact that so many men think they know what being a woman is (visually) all about. I’ve always had thoughts about what the fashion industry would be like if there was more of a female presence from the beginning of the modern fashion industry.

And now I’m curious what you all think. How would the fashion industry be different if it had been dominated more by women in the beginning? Would it be pretty much the same as it is now, or would it be something completely different from today’s industry? Would the work of the people who sew the clothes be valued more? Would fashion honor comfort as a legitimate goal? Would it be worse than ever? Would fashion ever have become the massive multi-billion dollar industry it is today, or would it be a pastime for a few restless souls? Would there be more choice or less?

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? I’d love to know what you all think on this subject.

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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