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Archive for November, 2011

By Hook or By Crook: A Brief History of Crochet

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
By Twistie

This table is crocheted. How fabulous is that? It’s the brainchild of furniture artist Marcel Wanders, and details on it can be found here. I’m sure when the first person began crocheting, she – or he – never imagined it being used for such a purpose.

But how long ago did that person fail to imagine crocheted furniture? Well, it’s difficult to say precisely… but sometime in the first three decades of the nineteenth century seems the most likely period.


Quickie Question: What Can’t You Pass Up?

Monday, November 14th, 2011
By Twistie

Ah, the siren song of the cash register!  It calls most of us for one thing or another. For one, it’s beads. For another, paint. For yet another, bits of detritus that will one day be turned into amazing pieces of found object craftiness.

So I’m going to come clean: (clears throat) My name is Twistie, and I’m a bobbinaholic. If I see a lace bobbin, I must have it if at all possible. I will ignore the fact that I am spending the grocery money if I find an antique bobbin with a cool bit of decoration, or a modern bobbin made of an unusual material. I have come mighty close to maxing out a credit card because I had one day in a lacemaker’s supply and they had fabulous bobbins and I couldn’t make up my mind which to buy… so I went a little nuts. I have wandered eBay for hours looking at all the pretty bobbins, and sending in bids on the ones I liked best. Yes, I have won quite a few of those auctions.

I don’t go to eBay much anymore. It was too expensive for me. I do need to remember to feed Mr. Twistie, too. But if he buys one more guitar this year, he’d better be prepared for me to go on the hunt for another hanging bobbin. I’m just saying.

What about you? What crafting tool or supply can’t you pass up, no matter what? Is it thread or tile? Beads or drill bits? Are you constantly searching for the Most Awesome Glue Gun of All Time? Tell me all about it!

Inspiration Gallery: Steampunk

Friday, November 11th, 2011
By Twistie

Steampunk is one of those styles that just seems born to inspire crafters. After all, a  big part of the aesthetic is interesting juxtapositions of materials. Gears, rivets, leather, and Victoriana  meld into a fun and funky style that often includes goggles. Who couldn’t love something that calls for goggles not as protective safety gear, but as an artistic statement? Okay, I know somebody out there can’t, but I have something of a fondness, and I know I’m far from alone.

So let’s take a look at what can be done with a few basic crafting tools and materials, a bit of imagination, and another reading of Jules Verne’s novels.

I love this clockwork dragon. It’s made of polymer clay festooned with steampunk gears and such. Just look at how the tail looks like articulated copper! Whether you’re looking for instructions for a craft project, materials to bring your own vision to life, or to purchase a finished product to wear on your Mad Victorian Scientist outfit, CF Originals is a great place to go. That’s where I found this adorable guy. Oh, and if you have an idea you don’t feel up to making yourself, she does commissions, too.  I’m just saying.


Well, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time….

Thursday, November 10th, 2011
By Twistie

First off, I’d like to apologize for the lack of posts the last couple days. I was sick and my eyes wouldn’t focus through the fever, alas. It’s difficult to spell properly under those circumstances, and my prose becomes somewhat… less than exquisite. Oh hell, in point of fact I become more garbled than Ozzy Osborne on helium. Not pretty.


In honor of the fever dreams that plagued my last couple days, I bring you some thoughts on crafts gone horribly wrong.

 (Photo via Wonyk)

We all have crafting ideas. Some, admittedly, are better than others. What possessed the artist to create a teddy bear our of belly button lint and then enclose it in a glass jar, I cannot say. I occurs to me that I might have looked for a led-lined enclosure, but maybe that’s just me.

The poor thing, while articulated, which is something of a feat in that scale, appears to have been put together like Frankenstein’s monster out of mismatched bits of other teddy  bears who had passed on. Even the eyes appear to be two different sizes.

And yet, somehow, there is a bizarre poetry – possibly strongly influenced by Richard Brautigan – to the concept of making an adorable little toy out of something as pointless, unpleasant, and just plain nasty as belly button lint. Just think how long one would have to harvest the materials to come up with enough lint to make this small, bedraggled creature! Even if you had friends lining up to donate their own fluff, it would take a ridiculously long time. This tenacity and originality of vision seems to me to be worthy of a certain admiration, even if the results are less than stellar.

Yes, I doff my entire hat collection to the few, the proud, the ones who come up with utterly deranged crafts projects while in the throes of too much pizza and beer, an excess of video games, or just plain deeply confused mental states. Whether or not you add very much to the sum total of greatness in the world, you certainly add to its whimsicality and unpredictable nature.

So, belly button lint teddy bear maker, I salute you.

Quickie Question: Making Any Crafty Gifts for the Holidays?

Monday, November 7th, 2011
By Twistie

Ah, November! It’s properly cold outside, and we crafty folk have already begun to plot what we’re doing to… er… for our unsuspecting friends next month in the whirl of holiday gift-giving season.

This year I intend to capitalize on my lovely new stove, and my brand-spanking-new digital candy thermometer to give various of my friends and family members gifts of homemade citrus curds and candies. Oh, there will be a few books and movies and suchlike, too, but we’re on a tight budget, and a few jars of curd will make a lot of people happy.

So what about all of you? Are you knitting mittens? Crocheting pretty hats? Weaving up some placemats for someone’s table? Carving something decorative or practical? Restoring a favorite chair? What crafty things are you up to for your friends and family for the holiday season?

Plant a Seed of Creativity

Friday, November 4th, 2011
By Twistie

Now that the weather is getting colder and wetter and generally less fun to be out in, it’s time to move any green thumb you may have indoors for a bit. In short, it’s time to think about terrariums.

The illustration above comes from this easy to follow set of instructions on terrarium planting at It gives you all the basics you need to know from choosing your container and plants to tips on general upkeep. Who knows? If I could find a flat surface the cat doesn’t like to nap on, even I with my Anti-Green-Thumb of Plant Death might be able to keep one going for a while with those useful hints.

But all the terrariums shown in that tutorial are kind of… classic. Basic. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but I’m always looking for something a bit more unusual and preferably either macabre or whimsical.


Quickie Question: Where Is the Line?

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011
By Twistie

I know, I know, Quickie Question is a monday thing. Well, it’s my blog and I can change the rules midstream if I like, so there.


This is Morgan Philips IV, aka The Sucklord. He’s an artist, currently competing on the Bravo reality series Work of Art. He’s a toy designer and artist and an evil genius. He’s also one of several artists currently on the show whose work begs the question: what is the point where it stops being crafts and starts being art?

Sucklord’s work tends to include glueing Star Wars action figures to most pieces, and has been known to feature sculpting styrofoam, as well. Another artist on the show, Michelle, works in elaborate paper sculptures. Dusty’s audition self-portrait was made by glueing crayons to the canvas in a 3-D masterpiece of alternative pointilism. In short, nearly everything half these artists have shown could fit comfortably into a fine craft show, as well as a fine art gallery.

So where is the line? Who determines whether it’s art or craft? Is the demarcation even valid anymore? Or do we simply emulate the famous words of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart about pornography: I know it when I see it?

Tell me what you think, people!

Etsy Gets the Thanksgiving Spirit

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
By Twistie

Yesterday, you may remember, I was bemoaning the dearth of good Thanksgiving craft ideas floating around the web. Well, I did the smart thing after that and headed over to Etsy to see what the talented folks there were up to for Turkey Day, and they did not let me down. Check out a few artists, purchase an item or two, or allow their creativity to spark yours in a completely new direction.

First up, is this festive leaf-shaped confetti by theemae74. Use it to decorate your table, fill a holiday note with an unexpected bonus, or use it in your latest scrapbook. At $1.20 for a minimum of 100 leafs, you can’t go too far wrong.


Let’s Talk Turkey Day

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
By Twistie

 (turkey bread basket project via Family Fun)


It’s now November. Thanksgiving is a couple mere weeks away. I thought it might be fun to do a roundup of the best holiday projects so you, my crafty friends, would have some great stuff to do for your tables. This bread basket was the best I found.

For most holidays, it’s easy to find a great mix of glorious and ghastly projects.. but something about Thanksgiving seems to bring out the worst in crafters. I get that most of the projects are aimed at kids, and mostly at teaching them fairly questionable history, at that. I get that toilet paper roll pilgrims and clothespin turkeys are easy for little hands. But I find it difficult to believe that a holiday centered around the table cannot produce serious, adult, elegant craft.

Have you got a great Thanksgiving project? Seen one on the net? Tell me all about it!

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