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Archive for May, 2012

Nothing Like Crocheted Flip Flops for Summer

Thursday, May 17th, 2012
By Twistie

(via What Not to Crochet)

I have no idea where the good people at What Not to Crochet found these… acts of footwear, but I definitely agree they were a monumentally bad idea. The yarn is acrylic, and the perpetrator assures us the leather soles are not animal cruelty since they come “from a cow that’s already dead.”

Well, at least there isn’t a cow walking around with a gaping wound shaped like two flip flop soles.

On the other hand, since the entire point of flip flops is to provide breezy footwear that slips on and off easily at will by the poolside, I don’t think crocheting acrylic shin guards and knee-high straps improves the usefulness of the item in question.

But maybe I’m wrong.


Tips for Teaching Crafts

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
By Twistie

(Illustration via 5 Artistic Expressions)

I remember when I took up bobbin lace I was informed by several of the books I got early on that it was important to keep the craft going by teaching at least three other people to do it, too. I took that challenge seriously. I taught one on one, helped run a beginner’s workshop, did demonstrations where I handed out information for getting started and helped people try out a demonstration pillow… yeah, I don’t know how many kept doing it, but I pointed a few folks in the right direction to get going.

Of course along the way I made some spectacular goofs. That first demonstration where we didn’t bring along lists of recommended books and suppliers was a classic. I also picked up a few tips that would work with pretty much any craft you might want to teach someone to do. And today, I pass them on to you.


For Those Who Love Flowers, but Can’t Grow Them

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012
By Twistie

I have Black Thumb. It’s the equal opposite of Green Thumb. Where some people can make any plant thrive in even the most unlikely circumstances… I look at them and they shrivel up and die. Roses quail at my approach, and mighty oaks quake with fear. In short, nobody who loves a plant should ever leave it to my tender mercies. We’ll all suffer.

But I still adore flowers. I always like to have them around me.

Enter the woman who can make it happen… for a price.

See I attended a crafts street fair the other day, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but these gorgeous, hand crafted clay flowers created by Vanida. I swear that when I first got to her booth, these flowers looked real to me. So go on, get a Lady Slipper orchid. It may set you back $79.00, but it will last forever looking just as good as it does today.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sold.

Quickie Question: Crafting for a Cause?

Monday, May 14th, 2012
By Twistie

(Illustration via Knitted Knockers)

I love a good cause. I always have. I started doing walk-a-thons for charity when I was… oooohh… about twelve or so. I’ve written my representatives, signed many a petition, written checks, collected signatures, even walked a picket line or two in my day. Activism has been a part of my life almost as long as I’ve been around.

And yes, I’ve done crafts for some of these causes. I’ve donated crafts to auctions to raise money, supplied dozens of bake sales, and for the past couple years I’ve crafted goodies to sell at my team’s booth at our local Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society.

So I’m wondering, do any of you out there craft for good causes?

Happy Mother’s Day From Crafty Manolo!

Sunday, May 13th, 2012
By Twistie

Teach your children well. Or, if you’re like me and don’t have any of your own, teach someone else’s children. Share the joy of crafting with the next generation.

It Takes Moxie

Friday, May 11th, 2012
By Twistie

I’ve always felt it took a certain amount of moxie to be a craft artist in a mass-produced world. Little did I know there was a craft artist called Moxie. This is one of her works from a series entitled icons & totems & pieces of the past which showed at Gallery Hanahou in New York City last year.

Moxie’s craft of choice is needle felting. Yeah, that little Leggo boy I remember well from my own misspent youth is entirely needle felted, and displayed in what appears to be a wooden cigar box.

I’m also loving the Hungry series, though it might disturb some very delicate sensibilities.

For a bit more background, read this cool profile on CNN. Then head to her website and learn some more. I, for one, think she’s pretty fabulous.

She Wrapped It Up

Thursday, May 10th, 2012
By Twistie

I remember my senior prom. The only reason I got a new dress was because my mother saw one she knew I would adore in my size on such a ridiculously good sale that she bought it without even consulting me. Luckily, she knew my style really well. It was just the dress I would have picked left to my own devices.

In fact, the only reason I went to my senior prom was that my boyfriend at the time started talking about what he was going to wear, and, well, I figured that meant he wanted to go.

Other girls, though, put a lot more thought and effort into prom. Diane McNease certainly did!

See the bodice of her prom dress? She constructed the entire thing out of Starburst wrappers. The skirt is a far more conventional black satin over layers of tulle.

McNease got inspired when she saw a friend folding Starburst wrappers to make bracelets. Somehow this lead to a dare, which McNease happily took:

“Someone said I couldn’t do it. That’s the last thing you should say to me.”

After a year and a half of collecting wrappers (she started out eating all the candy herself, but quickly found that was too much… and had no difficulty recruiting volunteer candy eaters), and another five months folding and then hand sewing strips of wrappers. Her father helped her with the construction of the bodice and her friend Bria Johnson made the skirt to go with it.

Partway through the process, McNease discovered she wouldn’t be the first teen to don a Starburst wrapper prom dress when Tara Frey’s mother, Kerrin, announced the dress she had spent six years making for her daughter’s prom.

McNease says she was already underway with her plans when Frey’s dress hit the headlines:

“But I really admire her dress. Especially the shoes. They are fantastic.”

Even more than the fun dress, I like this girl’s creativity, determination, and generous attitude.

Diane McNease, I offer you a twenty-one Starburst salute!

I See Paris, I See France, I See Your Purse is Underpants

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
By Twistie

I think we can all agree there really are certain things that Simply Are Not Done. There’s a reason a lot of things fit into that category.

For instance, when I see a purse made out of a pair of men’s tightie whities, my first reaction is not ‘How Clever!’ but ‘How much do I have to drink before I forget I ever saw this?’

The one redeeming feature of this nightmarish offering by Etsy artist TWEEK’d is that the man panties are new and untouched by human rumpus.

Still, there’s no way I’m fishing around in there for my keys!

Dogs That Make Me Smile

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
By Twistie

A new flea market started up recently in my town. Mr. Twistie has been going with his friend the Drummer. Last week, he asked me to come along so I could try out the schnitzel at one of the food trucks. I gotta say, that was the best darn schnitzel I’ve ever had. Light, crisp, flavorful, and the housemade horseradish sauce was out of this world!

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Great schnitzel is a wonderful thing, but this blog is about crafts. Schnitzel, however, got me to the flea market where I found a surprising pair of craft artists whose work delighted me.

Smiling Dog Studio is the brainchild of craft artists Jane Brooks and Val Yandell. Val takes the photographs. Jane works in assemblage. Together they create fabulous jewelry like the piece shown above, as well as ornaments to hang around your house like this fun antique camera image:

You can find Smiling Dog Studio at various craft events around the Bay Area, or you can contact them online for custom work

So poke around their site, ask them a question… they won’t bite. And neither did their dogs, Wasabi and Fig, who I also met at the flea market. Nice doggies!

Quickie Question: Epic Crafts Failure?

Monday, May 7th, 2012
By Twistie

(Illustration via Holly’s Arts and Crafts Corner, where you can read the epic tale of this disaster… and how she salvaged it in the end)

It’s happened to every single one of us, if we’re honest. We had great ideas and the best of intentions. We worked hard. We went in with such optimism… and then disaster befell us anyway.

Maybe we read the directions wrong. Maybe we chose the wrong materials to work with. Maybe we experienced equipment failure. Maybe we just honked off the crafting gods with our hubris. It doesn’t matter how it happened, it only matters that it happened: we wound up with crafting disasters.

The first one I remember dates back to when I was seven years old and my mother was trying to teach me to embroider. I did just fine with satin stitch and back stitch and cross stitch and the lazy daisy. I was feeling pretty chuffed with my little self. And then she tried to teach me the French knot.

Again and again I tried with all the concentration my eager little soul could muster – which was actually quite a bit for an active seven-year-old – and did precisely what I thought my mother was doing with her needle and thread. Clearly I was doing something wrong. The dratted thing unraveled itself and turned into a French Entire Lack of Thread on the Fabric. It’s been more than forty years, and yet to this day I find myself constitutionally unable to make a successful French knot.

So what about you? What’s your crafting Achilles’ Heel? What massive goof have you perpetrated on the world of craft? Did you ever manage to make it better?

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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