Crafty Manolo » 2012 » January

Archive for January, 2012

Berry, Berry Good

Monday, January 16th, 2012
By Twistie

I don’t know about all of you, but I can always use a good tea towel. I like to have a good supply on hand, too, because I use the suckers. My kitchen isn’t just decorative, after all. So I like to have pretty things in it that I can also use.

That’s why I love this pretty screen printed hemp and organic cotton tea towel by jennarosehandmade over at Etsy. It’s  bright, cheery and useful all at once for just $15.00.

Mmm… berries. I like.

A Night at the Opera

Friday, January 13th, 2012
By Twistie

No, no, no! Not the Marx Brothers’ film… though that is pretty amazingly brilliant.

No, I’m talking about last nights’ challenge on Project Runway All Stars.

Darlings, the designers were given the task of making gorgeous evening gowns fit for a night attending the opera.

This was a challenge dear to my heart, since I’ve been an opera fan for many, many yonks. Enough yonks that I got to see Dame Joan Sutherland live in a gorgeous production of Norma when I was just a wee little Twistie. Okay, I’m still just as much a wee little Twistie vertically. I was fifteen. Dame Joan announced her impending retirement within the year.

But I digress. And I’m going to cut now for spoilerphobes and those who just don’t care about PRAS.


Catwalk or Catnap?

Thursday, January 12th, 2012
By Twistie

(Image via

So. 24-Hour Catwalk has come to the US. The British version has been doing well for some time with Elizabeth Hurley as the hostess with the mostest style. Over here, we have Alexa Chung (far right, shown with judges James LaForce, Cynthia Rowley, and David Blasberg) putting designers through their paces.

The rules are simple but deadly. Four designers arrive and are presented with mystery boxes, a la Chopped. Once the designers open their boxes of doom, they are given two hours to create fashion out of whatever happens to be in the box. They must sew something, though they are allowed to pin it together so long as the needle and thread are used somewhere, and they must use the item in the box in the final design.

At the end of two hours, the judges look at what has been wrought, send two of the designers home, and give the challenge to the remaining two contestants. Said contestants are given twenty-four hours, three sewing assistants, a theme, and another mystery box to create three co-ordinated looks for a catwalk show. The winner goes home with bragging rights and ten grand in cold, hard cash.

All in all, it ought to be one of the more entertaining reality shows on television. You’ve got eager contestants, wildly implausible challenges, big money on the line, and – let’s face it – designers as a class tend to come with fantastic bitch virtuosity that leads to some brilliant (and creative) smack talk.

Alas, it’s all gone wrong in the casting. The designers were entertaining enough in the premiere, though I missed the sort of pull quotes one gets on Project Runway. And while the assistants all got to have their say to the camera and on set, most of them were a rather dull bunch. But where things really fall down is with the host and judging panel.

Out of the four, I found Rowley the most compelling, and I think a good deal of that was the fact that I kept agreeing with her. Chung, in particular, is just not very good television. Every time she came on camera, I wanted to take a nap. The clothes she wore may have been fashion forward… but they came across as what her mother might have dressed her in for her second grade class photo. Juvenile yet dull is not a good way to come across as an authority figure on reality television.

I did leave the show on my DVR for the time being, and hope to see some more exciting television out of such a fun premise… but we’ll see after it’s been on a couple weeks.

After all, Chopped, Top Chef, and Project Runway All Stars are all in full swing right now, and even  Angela Lindvall (who I happen to find by far the least compelling of the hosts of these shows) has more personality in her pinkie than I saw in Alexa Chung’s entire body.

Quickie Question: Crafts for Famous Folk?

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
By Twistie

Some years ago, I was at a Star Trek convention where Gates McFadden (aka: Dr. Beverley Crusher) gave a talk on her Trek experiences. Mr. Twistie and I went to listen. The talk was nice enough, and then Ms. McFadden opened the floor to questions. Sure, there were a lot of the expected ones (who’s the better kisser: Jonathan Frakes or Patrick Stewart? Her answer: I can’t say, but both were pleasurable experiences), and a few annoying or irrelevant ones.

There was, however, one person called upon who didn’t actually have a question. She had a gift. In fact, it was a beautiful needlepoint portrait of the Enterprise D. McFadden seemed genuinely touched by the gesture, and I know I was sitting there thinking what a cool idea it was.

So I find myself wondering, if you made a craft project for a famous person, who would you give it to and what would it be?

Pushing Daisies… Pushing Crafts

Monday, January 9th, 2012
By Twistie

I wonder how many of you remember the short-lived wonder that was Pushing Daisies. I was a huge fan. Every week it felt like this glorious world teetering on the pin-point intersection of the whimsical and the macabre was created just for me. The hero was a pie maker who could revive the dead, with caveats. The heroine was his murdered childhood sweetheart who he revived, with consequences.

I remembered the revived sweetheart and dog, the synchronized swimmer aunts of the dead girl and their cheese fixation, the scheming waitress with a crush on the hero, the private eye who used the hero’s talent to help him solve crimes… so that he could collect all those juicy rewards.

All of that had stuck with me. Funnily enough, until Mr. Twistie gave me the entire series on Blu-ray for Christmas and (just two nights ago) set up the Blu-ray player we bought three months ago (I’d have done it myself, but it turned out to be far more complicated than I ever imagined, between all the things plugged in back there and… well… I married a sound guy. It’s always more complex where anything involving sound is involved), and I could sit down and watch the show again… I’d forgotten how many crafts were involved in this show.


Welcome Back to the Runway!

Friday, January 6th, 2012
By Twistie

So… did anyone else watch? Or was I alone for this one?

I have to say I miss Heidi Klum’s wacky humor, Tim Gunn’s (call me, Tim!) avuncular charm, and Michael Kors’ fascinating flights of simile… but I still really enjoyed the first episode.

Of course I have a lot more to say, but I’ll put it after the cut to avoid spoiling anyone who doesn’t want to be spoiled.


The All Stars Game I’m Ready to Watch!

Thursday, January 5th, 2012
By Twistie

Oh, my beloved Austin Scarlett! I fell hard for you in the first episode I ever saw of Project Runway. Between you and my equally beloved Tim Gunn (Call me, Tim!) I was hooked before the first commercial break.

Those of you who are just as hooked as I am on this paragon of reality television remember that Austin didn’t make it to the finale (though his highwayman inspired dummy collection seriously rocked, IMNSHO). But tonight… tonight he gets a second chance to win all the marbles.

Yes, tonight at 9pm (8 Central) is the premiere of Project Runway All Stars! Thirteen fan faves are back to try again for PR glory. In addition to Austin Scarlett, the contestants are: Michael Costello, Mondo Guerro, Sweet P, Rami Kashou, Mila Hermanovski, Anthony Williams, Jerell Scott, Kara Janx, April Johnston, Elisa Jimenez, Gordana Gelhausen, and Kenley Collins.

Unfortunately, while the contestants are all familiar, the rest of the cast has changed for this one. Instead of my gloriously deranged Heidi Klum, the show will be hosted by  model and sometime actress Angela Lindvall. Taking the roles of Michael Kors and Nina Garcia are designer and annoying pop culture icon Isaac Mizrahi and British designer, model and actress Georgina Chapman. Stepping into Tim Gunn’s elegant shoes is Marie Claire editor Joanna Coles. While I’m going to miss my Tim more than I can say, I have to say that I’ve always appreciated Joanna Coles’ perspectives when she’s guest judged. Nobody can replace Tim Gunn in my heart, but Coles has potential in my book.

I do have to say I loved her comment to Digital Spy that she found her catchphrase becoming ‘What if she wants to wear underwear?’.

So who’s going to be watching tonight? Who do you hope wins? Who would you like to see booted first? Me? I’m still in love with Austin Scarlett… and there’s a big piece of me that would snigger like Muttley to see Kenley go home first.

ps: Those of you who are interested in baking and cake decorating might want to check out my article for today on Manolo for the Brides. I’m just saying.


A Great Resource for the Beginning Tatter

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
By Twistie

Have you been thinking about taking up tatting? Rebuilding rusted skills? Teaching someone to play with a shuttle or two? Then hie thee over to Angel Babies. Yes, I know, the name doesn’t say anything about tatting, but that’s what the site is all about.

From basic instructions to individual projects to slightly more advanced instructions to books of patterns, you’ll find everything you need to get you started, restarted, or ready to pass on the gentle art of tatting to a novice. Everything – including the books – is aimed at the beginner.

For my part, I’ve never attempted the art, but I have to say those dragonflies are tempting me to try something new!

A Totally Appropriate Cat Toy for the Whole Family to Enjoy

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012
By Twistie

I want to go on record as saying that the title up there? Is not my description of this amigurumi catnip human fetus cat toy. It is the creator’s description of it.

On the upside, the catnip is 100% organic.

Some days it just doesn’t pay to gnaw through the straps….

Quickie Question: Inspiration?

Monday, January 2nd, 2012
By Twistie

Darlings, this is me right now… except I’m not dressed, wearing lipstick, or capable of brewing my morning Joe yet.

The fact is the last couple weeks have been insane for me. Oh yes, you saw the breezy posts all last week, but the fact is Mr. Twistie and I were on a four-day hellride to Yuma, AZ and back again (What? We have friends there). And since we got back, we’ve been doing New Year’s up brown. I’m frankly ready to go back to bed and sleep for the next week and change.

In short, I’m pooped. My brain is fried. I got nothing left in the tank. What’s more, I’m feeling wildly uninspired just now.

And so I ask you all, when you get to this point, how do you recharge the old batteries and find new inspirations to get you on your crafty way making beautiful things again?

Who knows? Maybe you’ll inspire me!

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