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Archive for July, 2012

Quickie Question: Play With Your Food?

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
By Twistie

(Via instructibles where you can find instructions for making these alligator ‘Nomsters’)

Disaster at Casa Twistie! Our refrigerator – the one that’s needed two new motors(!) in the six years we’ve owned it – bit the dust in the wee hours. I’m going to spend the day cleaning rotting food out of the fridge and researching replacement models. Great.

So since food is a miserable thing in my home right now, I long to make it fun again.

I’m curious, have you ever come up with a particularly imaginative way of styling some sort of food? Funny breads, molded Rice Krispie treats, sugar art, or cheese sculpture… tell me all about it!


Monday, July 16th, 2012
By Twistie

Check out these ridiculously adorable Dalek egg cozies! I mean, who wouldn’t want an alien killing machine with a plumber’s friend for a weapon keeping their soft boiled morning treat safe?

Okay, maybe there’s someone out there who wouldn’t, but I totally would. Geekery, crafts, and cooking all working together to make me happy. That’s what the world needs more of.

Anyway, the original, crocheted version was created by Cosy a Go Go (where some other fabulous crocheted sci-fi/fantasy inspired egg cozies live, so be sure to check them out).

Then Lyle’s Knit spread the word and did a knitted version, available here as a free PDF. Oh, and if you knit but not in the round… you might want to check out Anne’s variation, the flat knitted Dalek egg cozy, which is also a free PDF, but available here.

Daleks may never rule the universe as long as The Doctor keeps fighting them and winning, but at least your eggs will never get cold when you rush off in the TARDIS to help him out.

Then again, if your eggs do get cold, you can always have a Jelly Baby.

Inspiration Gallery: Topiary

Friday, July 13th, 2012
By Twistie

(Image via David Sobek’s Homepage… but I wish I knew who had made this fabulous lawn tableau)

I remember the first time I saw a topiary. It was a Disneyland when I was knee-high to a very short grasshopper. I was intrigued. I wanted to know how someone shaped trees and bushes into images from fairy tales. I haven’t been to Disneyland in many and many a yonk, and it wouldn’t surprise me greatly if I never went back at this point. I’m not much of a Disney kind of gal. But the topiaries… I love a good topiary. They make me wish I was better with plants.

I would absolutely make the pilgrimage to visit Liverpool’s South Parkway rail station to see this topiary of the Fab Four… and so would my Beatle’s loving husband!

Of course topiary, like painting, doesn’t have to be representational. The Japanese school of karikomi runs to more abstract forms.

But my favorite topiary story ever is that of Pearl Friyar. When Mr. Friyar bought his house in Bishopville, South Carolina, many of the neighbors complained that an African American wouldn’t take care of his garden. So Friyar decided to take up that challenge. He decided to make the best, most elaborate garden in the town… and he did. He’d never done topiary before.

Here’s what he has wrought:

(Image via Studio G)

And that’s just a tiny fraction of his amazing work.

Plants are gloriously malleable things. I think it’s great when someone coaxes one into an unexpected shape and makes us see it in a whole new light.

34C or 20/20?

Thursday, July 12th, 2012
By Twistie

Every once in a while you run across some sort of craft item that just leaves you wondering what the Sam Hill someone had ingested to make them think that was a good idea.

This was one of those days for me when I found these on Etsy:

Where even to begin?

Well, let’s start with the idea that someone thinks it’s a good idea to correct the vision in our nipples and work from there, shall we? That alone would be bizarre and disturbing enough for anyone, but wait! There’s more! And I’m not talking about the incredible Ginzu steak knife! No, I’m talking about the fact that there are four styles to choose from: the Harry Potter (with lightning bolt necklace!), the Hipster, the Cat’s Eye, and – as pictured above – the Woody Allen. Why Woody Allen? Let’s let the creator explain that one:

“Mia Farrow, Diane Keaton, Scarlett Johansson–we all know Woody Allen has a thing for ladies, so why not strap a pair of these endearingly nerdy Woody Allen glasses on *your* special ladies?”

Yes, because I want my breasts fondled by the eyewear of a man noted for loving and leaving a long list of gorgeous, talented women and winding up marrying his own stepdaughter. Sure, there was nothing illegal in what he did… but that doesn’t make my breasts long for the touch of his spectacles, either.

The saving grace to these (if there is one) is that they’re not very expensive. Three of the designs are just $9.00 each. Because of the coordinating necklace, though, the Harry Potter ones (and do we really want to wear the vision corrective lenses of underage boys on our headlights?) run a whole $14.00.

All the same, the Etsy shop has been open since November, and so far I see a sum total of three sales made.

Maybe it was the artist’s business sense that needed glasses.

Table That Idea

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
By Twistie

This is the Madrid pattern of table linens from Table Tableaux.

This is designer and manufacturer Nancy Hofer in her natural habitat. She created the design above and many more.  Other designs she’s done that I like include Martini, Tea Time, and Lisbon.

Each of these designs and more are digitally printed on cotton/linen blend fabric with water based inks, and then sewn into table runners, place mats, and napkins. Every person involved with the process is paid a living wage, too, so it’s fair trade made in the US of A! Hofer even does tiles of some of her designs and will be happy to discuss custom designs with you.

Check out her fabulous designs, people. And then dream big.

Now when I start my Yellow Submarine kitchen, I know who to call about coming up with just the right linens for the table. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!

What To Do When the Washer Eats One Sock

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
By Twistie

It’s a well-known fact that washers and dryers eat socks. It’s equally well-known that they typically eat only one from each pair they attack. I don’t know about you, but after years of dealing with voracious laundry rooms and laundromats, I’ve wound up with dozens of unmatched socks I don’t know quite what to do with.

I’m thinking what I might do is pick up a copy of  Sockology by Brenna Maloney.

In this, her second book of crafty instructions for what to do with leftover socks, Maloney gives us another sixteen adorable stuffed critters to delight folks from three to three hundred. Whether your taste is more toward the super cute ducks pictured on the cover, the wacky toe sock rooster, or the cool aliens in jumpsuits (because in old sci fi movies, astronauts from Earth wear jumpsuits but aliens are often completely naked and Maloney felt it was time for the tables to be turned… though she mercifully does not give us patterns for naked astronauts) and gloriously deranged robots (she manages to make socks into cubes!) you’re sure to find a fun, easy way to upcycle those mismatched socks into something to amuse you or someone you love.

The patterns aren’t difficult, either. They’re sewn by hand using only running, back, blanket, and satin stitch. If you’re an experienced sewer, one of these should take roughly an afternoon to do.

Even if you never make a single pattern from the book, Maloney’s breezy prose will amuse you enough to make the cost worth it. Oh, and the cost? If you order it through Amazon, that would be just $12.08 (retail price $17.95!) plus it qualifies for free Super Saver Shipping on orders of $25.00 or more. At that price, you can afford some socks just to make into monsters from under your bed or big-mouthed frogs.

Time to Gear Up

Monday, July 9th, 2012
By Twistie

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I love a good upcycle project. What you may not know is that I have a thing for weird clocks. The more unusual, the more I like it.

And so it was that when I was walking the Temescal Street Fair in Oakland yesterday, I happened across something that pairs these two loves, I knew I had to tell you about it.

See these super funky clocks? They’re made from worn bicycle chain rings and reclaimed fabrics. The clock movements are quartz and American made. Each clock is unique, but Liz is open to doing custom work, if you have a specific color or gear in mind.

Best of all, you don’t have to wait until she does a fair in your fair city to get one, because she has an Etsy shop. Both of these clocks and a whole lot more are available from $36.00 – $52.00 each. Think of the years of timekeeping and conversation starting you’ll get out of them, and it works out pretty darn reasonable!

Paper Tiger… and More

Friday, July 6th, 2012
By Twistie

Paper is an amazingly versatile medium. You can cut it, fold it, print it, tear it. sculpt it,  You can make a spectacular tiger head, and you can create a fabulously detailed tomtit:

That is, you can do that if your name is Kiki Peeters. She does amazing paper sculptures and elegant prints. Go check out her gallery and have some fun!

As Mr. Spock Would Say… Fascinator

Thursday, July 5th, 2012
By Twistie

Once upon a time, a fascinator was a hooded scarf, not unlike this knitted opera hood:

(Via World Turn’d Upside Down)

Now they look more like this:

(Via MHL)

Don’t ask me when the definition changed, because I honestly don’t know.

Still, as much as the word ‘fascinator’ still immediately raises the image of a practical head covering for me, I really love some of the things being done  with the more modern version.

So imagine my delight when I wandered over to Criminal Crafts the other day (pairing two of my all time favorite subjects: crime and craft) and found an article about crime-related (and some not-so-crime-related) fascinators.

You couldn’t pay me to sit down and read the 50 Shades of Grey books… but I would absolutely rock this intense fascinator any day of the week.

Have I ever mentioned I look absolutely sparkly in grey?

Check out the fun!

Happy Fourth of July from Crafty Manolo!

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012
By Twistie

And always remember that the flag we celebrate today was sewn by a crafty woman.

Thanks, Betsy!

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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