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Archive for November, 2011


Inspiration Gallery: Presents With Presence

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011
By Twistie

It’s that time of the year. We’re all going to be giving as well as receiving gifts for one holiday or another, and hey! some people have birthdays and weddings and so on at this time of year, too. So gift giving is sort of an thing on most of our minds right now.

I have to admit, I’m rarely as creative about presentation as I am about the actual gifts. I figure if I get paper and a ribbon on it, I’m doing pretty good. But then I see ideas that make me wonder if I couldn’t do better. You know, things like the adorable packaging above crafted from tissue paper, silhouettes from a clip-art book, and a couple stickers. This and eleven other simple but effective and fun ideas can be found in this slide show at Country Living. I may well be adapting a couple of these concepts to my own fell purposes!

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Be an Evil Mad Scientist… Or Just Visit One

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
By Twistie

Have you ever wondered what sort of crafts an evil mad scientist might do? Well, they might do the deadly champagne cork pictured above (extremely tongue in cheek instructions here), or he might create something less obviously dangerous and less obviously evil, such as this nifty LED Menorah:

But whether your taste runs more to deadly champagne corks, kits for electronic Menorahs, or the infamous eggbot which can print on real eggshells (comes in both standard hen and ostrich), it’s exciting to know that Evil Mad Science is having an open house this coming sunday, December fourth, from five to nine pm.

So if you’re slightly crafty, slightly geeky, fond of great silliness, or just wanting to meet the store cat, Zener, and you’re in the Sunnvale, CA. area (note to Buffy fans: that’s SunnyVale, not SunnyDale) then come on out and see what evil lurks in the hearts of men. The place to go is:

Evil Mad Science

175 San Lazaro Ave, suite 150

Sunnyvale, CA.

BTW, about that champagne cork? I wouldn’t advise trying it at home. I’m just sayin’, m’kay?


Quickie Question: Most Unusual Crafting Material You’ve Used

Monday, November 28th, 2011
By Twistie

(Illustration via Craft Elf, where you can find instructions for this melted snowman Christmas ornament)

When we’re setting out our crafting supplies, most of us tend to think in relatively traditional terms. Thread, needles, hooks, felt, wood, carving tools, beads, etc. We take the things our crafts are generally made from, and we make more. It’s great. I love to work in linen and silk threads whenever possible. Chances are you have favorite materials to work in that you know will make your work turn out great.

But sometimes it’s fun to experiment and see what will happen. The Christmas ornament above, for instance, is made of glue. Oh, there’s a bit of pipe cleaner and some black beads, and a little thread for hanging the piece on your tree. But most of it is simply glue melted onto a piece of foil, which is later removed. Glue! I don’t know about you, but I think that’s kind of an awesome fun idea.

And as much as I love using linen and silk and even cotton to make my lace, I also enjoy using copper wire, and have been known on more than one occasion to work some brightly colored rayon threads into my lace.

So what about you? What unusual materials have you played with? How did it work out?


It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas Shopping Season

Friday, November 25th, 2011
By Twistie

As you read this, I’m probably still sleeping off that second slice of pumpkin pie… or starting my day with a big, strong cuppa Joe – black like the remnants of my shriveled soul, natch – and another slice of pumpkin pie.

But it being Black Friday, and the official start of the Christmas Shopping Season, I have a few thoughts about great places to direct your favorite Santa’s helpers, or to seek out terrific holiday gifts for the crafty person in your life.

Sometimes the thing you need most for your craft materials is someplace to neatly store and organize them. This denim sewing storage box has a convenient carry handle, and an organizing tray inside. At 12.5″L x 9.5″H x 7.5″W, it’s big enough to store a lot of materials, but small enough to transport easily. Oh, and at Overstock.com, it’s just $39.69.

In fact, I think it would work for many crafters, not just those who sew. I know I use something fairly similar to keep my bobbin lace tools in order.

But of course not all of you can use a sewing box. So let’s see what other superfantastic crafting goodies I can find for you.

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Happy Thanksgiving from Crafty Manolo!

Thursday, November 24th, 2011
By Twistie

(Photo via Women’s Day where you can find instructions… if you dare)

Be sure to set a place for me!

Or, well, not. But have a great day, a great meal, and lots of fun, no matter who is at your table.


Inspiration Gallery: Batik

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
By Twistie

This is the ‘Sidumolyu’ batik pattern. It’s traditional in Indonesia for weddings. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

But one of the great things about batik as a technique is its versatility. So let’s take a look at some less than traditional directions we can take it in, shall we? Yes, we shall!

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Wash With It Or Eat It?

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
By Twistie

I love handmade soap.

And wandering Etsy, I found this delicious sounding one. Pumpkin and cocoa. Two of my favorite flavors, and – amazingly enough! – two of my favorite scents of all time.

The marbled look is attractive enough for any bath, and the scents… oh the scents!

So if you’re looking for something to add a touch of holiday cheer to your soapdish, or a great stocking stuffer for someone who loves to smell good, this is a winner. And at just $5.00, it may well be the perfect answer to your office Secret Santa exchange, too!

Not wild about pumpkin and cocoa? That’s okay, the same shop sells such delicious soaps as grapefruit and basil, or spearmint, too, as well as some comfortable looking crochet goodies.


Quickie Question: Any Thanksgiving Crafts?

Monday, November 21st, 2011
By Twistie

(Image via Alphamom, where you can also find instructions)

So. Thanksgiving crafts. I’m finding as I delve into the subject that the vast majority of crafts projects for this holiday are geared toward keeping children quiet more than anything else.

They seem to range from the ‘cut, paint, and glue’ ouvre that strikes terror into the hearts of parents who hope to keep their living rooms presentable to the ‘let’s overdose on sugar’ kitchen projects like the… very special Rice Krispy turkeys shown above.

In fact, I can’t remember the last time I made a craft for Thanksgiving. It must have been in about third or fourth grade, when we probably made construction paper  cornucopias or something for our parents to gush over.

Sure, there are more adult Thanksgiving crafts out there, wafting across the ether. There are books of projects and websites with ideas for table decorations that aren’t hand turkeys or paper pilgrim hats. But I sometimes find myself wondering who makes them, if anyone.

As much as I love handcrafting things, I have never once as an adult made or invented a craft project around Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. I don’t make pine cone place card holders or autumn leaf candle holders. I have never once made a table cloth, table runner, or set of napkins for Thanksgiving. I don’t even put flowers on the table or make fancy garnishes for my dishes! It just doesn’t actually happen in my world.

So I’m curious, do any of you make Thanksgiving crafts? If so, what? If not, is there something you think would be fun to do? Or is cooking and eating a fantastic meal enough for you?


Hopefully They Won’t Induce Narcolepsy

Friday, November 18th, 2011
By Twistie

Mr. Twistie and I have a very good friend who has a habit we tease him mercilessly over. He loves the series Mythbusters… but whenever he puts it on his television, he falls asleep within minutes.

I’m wondering if he could stay awake for these awesome embroidered portraits of hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman?

Meh, if he falls asleep, we’ll just blow something up to dispel a myth. That should wake him up again.

Meanwhile, I’m going to admire the  exquisite representations of both gentlemens’ beards and spectacles. They really are tremendously well done.


Beautiful Handcrafted Things

Thursday, November 17th, 2011
By Twistie

Sometimes it’s fun to just wander around and see what cool things there are out in the wide world. This fabulous Chinese dragon isn’t even the most spectacular piece of origami on the aptly named page ‘Origami that Will Blow Your Mind.’

There are some other really cool things I found around the internet, too. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

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