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Archive for August, 2012

Number Ten, Number Ten, Number Ten….

Friday, August 31st, 2012
By Twistie

So, darlings, last night’s Project Runway certainly had me on pin cushions and needles trying to figure out which way the judges would jump. I’m still not certain I get how they did. Nevertheless, I’ll tell you all about my take on the episode and see if I can figure it out as I go.

As per usual, I’m cutting so as not to spoil anyone, and because if I didn’t the whole review wouldn’t fit on the page.


The Gospel According to Tim

Thursday, August 30th, 2012
By Twistie

You all know how I feel about Tim Gunn. He is totally my gay imaginary celebrity boyfriend and I long to feed him fresh-baked scones.

But I also enjoy reading his books. He’s got a breezy, opinionated flair for language and he knows his stuff, even when I disagree with him on  how to interpret it.

Well, now he’s written Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible: the Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet.

Ever wondered what Queen Victoria’s corset has to do with what you’re wearing now? Tim can tell you. What togas then mean for you now? Tim is here to explain it. How the Sixties were the downfall of underwear? Well, my guess is that one is one of those issues where he and I would have a lively (albeit friendly) debate whilst dripping clotted cream in our excitement… but I’m still interested in his argument.

It’s available right now for pre-order on Amazon (release date September 11, just in case anyone is wondering what to get me for my birthday on the thirteenth) for just $16.46 (list price $28.00) and eligible for Super Saving free shipping on your purchase of $25.00 or more.

Oh, and I’d also like to note for my fellow Project Runway fans that in an article that ran on Racked National just yesterday, Tim called contestant Ven Budu ‘atrocious’ and let it be known that the editing in last week’s episode was actually flattering to Ven. Also, gird your loins, folks, he let slip that there’s going to be an upcoming challenge in his least favorite category that ‘will not disappoint you in terms of horrible.’

Never Honk Off the Crafty

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
By Twistie

There have been many cases of political and social unrest connected with live theater. In 1937, Mark Blitzstein’s allegorical musical, The Cradle Will Rock, was actually shut down by the WPA for fear of legal retaliation. So the author, the director (Orson Welles), and producer (John Houseman) rented a theater down the street and set up  a performance with Blitzstein and his piano. Various cast members risked retribution by Actor’s Equity to perform their roles.

But that’s  a story for another day.

Once upon a time, theater caused not just protests, but actual riots. One of these occurred in August of 1805 in the little theatre in the Haymarket.

You see, that was the month and the year that a benefit revival of a 1767 satire by that prolific author Anonymous entitled The Tailors: A Tragedy for Warm Weather was to be performed. Unfortunately, actual tailors plying their trade at the time did not see anything very funny in this little burlesque.

Threatening letters were sent to those connected with the production. The actual tailors vowed to arrive en masse and hiss the play. One of the letters was even signed DEATH. The company, however, did not take this seriously. Plans for the play continued as scheduled.

When opening night arrived, it turned out they might have done well to pay attention. Nearly every seat in the house was filled with an angry tailor. They booed, they hissed, they hurled sewing shears at the stage. Outside, still more tailors were trying to get in and cause yet more confusion and consternation.

A magistrate and the local constable were called out, but they were inadequately equipped to deal with the situation. Eventually, a troop of the Life Guard was called in and some sixteen arrests were made.

Let that be a lesson to us all: never, ever honk off crafty people. We may be gentle, peace-loving souls most of the time… but we can be roused, and when we are, we are formidable.

Also, we are armed with many sharp, pointy objects.

Quickie Question: Words to Craft By?

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
By Twistie

I love this variation on the popular Keep Calm and Carry On meme. Another one I love is the one that says Keep Calm and Simply Walk Into Mordor. This one, however, strikes me as particularly appropriate to those of us who get crafty and create stuff.

I’ve always been fond of a good quote or seventeen. Over the years I’ve collected lovely quotes on a wide variety of subjects. Every once in a while, I find a pithy quote that really seems to sum things up for me and put things in perspective.

For my crafting side, I have a particular fondness of this quote from the late, great Gilda Radner:

I can always be distracted by love, but eventually I get horny for my creativity.

I, too, need to be creative despite all distraction. Of course quite a few of those distractions (husband, cat, friends, physical appetites) also fuel my creativity. They inspire my need to create, to craft, and to write.

Ultimately, though, I need time by myself to get into my own brain and start making things. If I don’t get that space… let’s just say you’d probably rather spend quality time with The Hulk.

And so it is that this quote resonates with me on a visceral level.

What about you? Have you ever found a quote that feels like it sums up your feelings about crafting, your specific craft, or generally being creative? What is it and who said it?



Picture Perfect

Monday, August 27th, 2012
By Twistie

Looking for the perfect wedding gift for very special friends? A special album for your own wedding, vacation, or baby snaps? Just a gorgeous handmade bound book to fondle when  nobody’s looking?

Three Trees Bindery may be just the people whose Etsy shop you want to check out.

The covers of this custom photo album are made of wood painted black. The binding is done in natural color waxed linen thread for maximum contrast. Two carved windows in the front cover hold black and white feathers protected by sheets of clear mica. The hand torn pages are heavy acid-free paper to preserve your memories safely. A silver plate on the front cover is stamped with the names of the happy couple and their wedding date.

Then again, the plate is also available in copper or brass or may be left off entirely, reducing the price by $30.00. The covers can be painted another color, if you so desire, and the binding thread is also available in more colors. The book can even be made larger or smaller than the proposed 6×8 144 page size in the example, though that will also – obviously – change the price.

As shown, it’s $275.00. I know I’ve spent that on less interesting wedding gifts.

To learn more about the philosophy and techniques Three Trees Bindery follows, check out where they’re featured currently on the Etsy blog.

Who is it That Needs This Makeover?

Friday, August 24th, 2012
By Twistie

I’m just going to come right out and say this before we get started with this week’s Project Runway recap: All women are real women. Models may come from an amazingly restricted end of the gene pool, but they are real women. Everyday women in the street may not be models, but they deserve every chance to dress in ways that make them feel beautiful and comfortable. Any clothing designer who forgets either of these things makes us all suffer with his or her  severe case of cranial rectosis.

And now, on with the show.


Shrine On You Crazy Diamond

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012
By Twistie

There are times in life when we just have to let something go, but we want to honor and preserve the memory. That’s when a shrine is a good idea.

Maybe it’s a marriage or long-term friendship that has ended. Maybe it’s a beloved pet who has passed on. Maybe it’s those delicious, gluteny treats you’ve had to swear off for your health. Maybe it’s even your favorite TV show that just went off the air. Whatever it is, it deserves to be treated with respect and made as pretty as possible.

And that’s where Alphastamps comes in, because they have a cool kit for building your shrine, whether it’s to your poodle, your former career, or your dream of being an Olympic gymnast even though you’re forty, stand six-foot-one, and couldn’t turn a cartwheel if world peace depended on it.

The kit comes with all the pieces you need to build a masonite stage, complete with proscenium arch and curtain swags. It’s just $13.99 for the kit, bring your own glue.

Not so big on theatrics, but still in need of a good shrine or reliquary? Well, there’s the Gothic Arch version for just $4.99, made of masonite, cherry wood, and acrylic,  and there’s the Coffin version of the same materials for just $3.99, and there’s the Mini Dashboard Shrine kit, just in case you want to make a shrine to Meatloaf. Put it by the light. It’ll be paradise.

Tori Spelling vs William Morris?

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
By Twistie

In this corner, the Bearded Battler from Blighty, William Morris!

And in this corner, perennial star of reality television, Tori Spelling!

Yeah, seems a little incongruous to me, too.

But that’s the death match New Yorker columnist Alexandra Lange pits against one another in her recent article Don’t Put a Bird On It: Saving “Craft” from Cuteness.

Lange finds Spelling’s current reality show, Craft Wars, an offense against William Morris’ leadership of the Arts and Crafts movement… oh, and Etsy is an anti-feminist horror because many of the crafters are women who make cute things.

I would posit that Craft Wars is to serious crafters (who still exist in large numbers across the country and across the world) what the funky craft projects published in Victorian women’s magazines are to the Arts and Crafts movement. In short, both ends of the spectrum have always existed side by side. Sure the average Victorian housewife didn’t have Beadazzlers and plastic mesh (although they did have something like Yankee Candles), but that hardly means every proposed – or even finished – home project was tasteful, useful, and  not cute.

I would also posit that the worst aspect of Etsy isn’t the cute, it’s the plethora of buy and sell imported goods available that dilute its purpose of selling handmade items.

Am I a fan of Craft Wars? No. I’ve seen about half of a couple episodes and, well, it didn’t do that much for me. I hate the fact that there are builders who create the larger, sturdier bits while the contestants mostly decorate stuff with what the judges are pretty sure to say is nowhere near enough glitter.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t think there’s a place for something like it in the crafting world. I think my feelings were summed up best by commenter LGREYFORTWHITE, who said:

“I’m of two minds here: I had a parent who was a professional silver-and goldsmith. Family friends were all weavers, ceramicists, hand-printers, glas-blowers, metalsmiths working in all the differents media…. So, yes, I too recoil a bit when glueing pencils onto a window box is lumped into the ‘craft’ category. However, I have also witnessed acquaintances of mine start out stringing beads into nice earrings and necklaces, and become motivated to learn the full spectrum of jewellery-making techniques, or set about learning to make the glass beads by hand. So, starting off with something elementary may lead people to more engaging work. Not all of them will “graduate”, of course, but some will.”

And you know what? If even one of them does so because of watching an episode of Craft Wars, then it will have served a useful purpose.

Bananas are Good. So are Bookcases

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
By Twistie


My name is Twistie and I’m a biblioholic.

I am also a huge Whovian.

What’s more, I’m a crafty person.

Because of these three things, I want to run right out and make this bookcase:

Want to join me in placing your books (or adventures in time and space) in a TARDIS? Find out how at alantronics.

Now, one question: do I need a sonic screwdriver to put it together? I’m just asking.

Clutching at Straws to Make Mathtastic Mobiles

Monday, August 20th, 2012
By Twistie

This is a decahedron himmeli mobile.

Okay, a decahedron is a polyhedron with ten flat faces. A himmeli is a traditional Finnish Christmas ornament, usually made of straw, created to encourage a good harvest.

And I couldn’t have defined either of these concepts yesterday. The reason I can today is that Aunt Peaches has posted a set of instructions for making a decahedron himmeli out of not straw… but drinking straws.

How cool is that?

Me? I’m headed to the dollar store for straws!

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