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Archive for October, 2012


But Are They All Really That Bad?

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
By Twistie

Okay. I get it. I get how this torchiere lamp made of melted Lego blocks made Buzzfeed’s list of Twenty-nine Terrible Craft Ideas. The idea wasn’t a good one to begin with and the results do not offer any hope that it could turn out to be more brilliant than you might imagine.

This was a bad idea… as are the tampon heart earrings (dipped in red dye at the bottom, no less!), the studded back pockets on a pair of innocent jeans, and the painting of spermatozoa down the leg of another innocent (well, perhaps slightly debauched) pair of jeans. As for the unicorn bicycle, yeah, that’s nothing but an invitation to a butt-whumping for the hapless child who rides it. That does make it a monumentally bad idea.

On all of those, Buzzfeed, you win.

On the other hand, can one really call posing a guinea pig in a piece of foil with a pat of butter on its back a craft? Or is it merely a joke? And while the toilet paper earrings (beaded earrings in the shape of rolls of toilet paper, not toilet paper made into earrings, incidentally) may not be in the best of taste… I do find them cheekily amusing. They are certainly nicely made.

And then there are the flashes of brilliance. The playing card corset is just plain amazing. Practical? Not for long term wear, certainly, but holy wow is it gorgeous! And the sock monkey chair? Want!

I do also have to wonder what the provenance of the Louis Vuitton print assault rifle and the sperm jeans are. There’s no word on that. Bad ideas, certainly. But are they real craft projects or Photoshop jokes?

Enquiring minds want to know.


Love Is: Security

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
By Twistie

I grew up reading the adventures of Linus VanPelt and his friends in Peanuts. Actually, I lived in the same town Peanuts creator Charles Schulz lived in, visited his ice rink, and eventually grew up to sell him books at two different bookstores conveniently located close to said ice rink.

But that part is neither here nor there.

What is here and now and the whole point of this blog entry is Project Linus.

Some of you may have already heard of this wonderful organization, others not. But I urge you all to check out their website and get involved.

You see, Project Linus does just what one might expect: provide security blankets to children. The children range in age from infants to teens, and the reasons range from illness to disaster victims to homelessness and abuse. This is about helping children in crisis with something that tells them someone cares and wishes them well.

The project will only accept blankets made by hand from smoke-free environments and free of strongly scented detergents. They must also be free of easily swallowed (and thus choked upon) decorations such as buttons. But from there, it’s a free for all. Pick your size, your materials, your techniques, and do your best work.

If you are not in a position to make a blanket, the project will also happily accept donations of money and materials, too. And if you know a child in need, the website will direct you to the chapter to contact for help.

We all need a little security in life. Children facing chemotherapy or recovering from abuse need it even more.


The Value of the Unfinished

Monday, October 15th, 2012
By Twistie

This is how many of us view unfinished works. We cringe when we think of the quilt squares that never got sewn together, the embroidery that we lost interest in halfway through, the bit of knitting that never seemed to go anywhere, and the piece of furniture that we abandoned because it just didn’t look like it was going to come out comfortable.

So we hide them away in corners. Sometimes we believe that we will finish them, other times we just aren’t quite sure how to get rid of them, along with all the bits and pieces we picked up thinking we could use them in our crafts, but never found the right project.

Mr. Twistie is, as I believe I’ve mentioned several times before, a musician. He’s also a composer. He has a huge file of songs he’s abandoned over the years in a filing cabinet. They weren’t getting anywhere, he couldn’t make them say what he wanted them to say, the tune and the lyrics never quite gelled together, his songwriting partner hated them, the issue became moot, two phrases and a snippet of a tune never quite turned into anything more… the reasons they languish in his cabinet are myriad.

And yet, every once in a while, he starts going through that cabinet and pulling out bits of unfinished songs and suddenly magic happens.

A phrase here and a stanza there suddenly make sense together. The lyrics from this and the tune from that bring new life to one another. A long lost point gets made, and a new song is born from the ashes of half a dozen old ones that just didn’t make the grade.

Sometimes it really is a good idea to hang onto all those half-finished potential disasters. Sometimes when you look at them again later on alongside some other unlikely stuff, art is born.


Three For All

Friday, October 12th, 2012
By Twistie

Last week on Project Runway: Designers create avant-garde outfits based on make up collections. Nearly everyone does something that’s half good, half bad except for Sonjia who chooses this moment to attack her model with Irish wedding table linens and is sent home. Four are designing for Fashion Week. What will happen this week?

(more…)


Easy as Pumpkin Pie!

Thursday, October 11th, 2012
By Twistie

I love a good low-budget, high-impact crafts project. If it’s also ridiculously easy and fun to do, well, that’s my idea of gravy!

Krafty Kat came up with just such a simple, inexpensive, hyper-adorable idea recently. I’m not quite sure how I missed this charming wreath of yarn pumpkins, but I’m seriously considering making one myself, now… and I’m not a wreath person!

Oh, and if the bright orange is too cheerful or gaudy for your taste and you’re still looking for a Halloween theme wreath, check out her instructions for this Black Crow wreath made of a wire coat hanger and garbage bags.

Very crafty, Kat.


Butter Me Up

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
By Twistie

It sounds like a concept for one of Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries. It sounds like a throwaway line on an episode of Paula Deen’s cooking show. It even sounds like something Martha Stewart might suggest to make life so much better.

What it doesn’t sound like is something that people do competitively or for a living… but it’s real.

What it is? Butter sculpture.

That’s right. Sculpting with butter. See that manatee and diver above? They are painstakingly carved out of butter and displayed in a refrigerated case. Well, they were back in january at the Manatee County Fair in Palmetto, FL. That gorgeous sculpture is the work of food artist Jim Victor, and he’s done some truly amazing work. Seriously, he sculpted Paula Deen’s grandson in butter, Milton Hershey in chocolate, and the Mona Lisa is all Italian food products. When you get done marveling at those, be sure to see what he does in wood and mixed media, too.

But the butter. For another idea of how amazing this medium can be to sculpt in, take a look at Sri Lankan  artist Vipula Ahtukorale’s magnificent Pied Piper in pastry margarine:

And, with the new movie Butter opening in limited markets last weekend, we add to this notable list… Jennifer Garner.

The film follows Garner as the reigning queen of butter sculpture at the county fair while she is challenged by upstart newcomer Yara Shahidi. So far the reaction from audiences has been lackluster. All the same, I may just go see it when it comes to my neck of the woods. I have some burning questions about butter sculpture and I’d like to see it in action.

Still, I would have loved to see Christopher Guest and his crazed band of co-conspirators get ahold of this concept. Imagine what Fred Willard might have sculpted!

Actually, that just might not bear imagining.


Want. Take. Have.

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
By Twistie

Ahem.

My name is Twistie, and I’m a Buffyaholic.

I have no shame. Give me some Sarah Michelle Gellar staking vampires and I’m a happy camper. I can quote you chapter and verse and argue minutia for hours. I own action figures, including the rare and popular Bunny Suit Anya. I geek out if I get a glimpse of an actor who played third vampire on the left in an early episode. I even have autographed photos on my bedroom wall. No lie.

So this:

doesn’t suck to me, as Buffy herself might say.

It’s the work of Etsy artist Skeeboo, and would set you back twenty smackers plus shipping, if you’re looking for the Halloween or Christmas… or just what the hey gift for the Buffy fanatic in your life. (Waves eagerly) She even makes an adorable tiny razorback, if you want Buffy to have a more convincing school mascot than the one Principal Flutie provided as inadvertent hyena food. What? I told you what a geek I am! Trust me on this.

Oh, and Skeeboo? If you ever feel like providing one, I do firmly believe that a Slayer needs her Watcher.

You know, just in case she ever needs to blow up a library or something.


Pumpkins Without Knives

Monday, October 8th, 2012
By Twistie

I love Halloween. I love jack o lanterns. Unfortunately, they’re kind of a mess to make what with the cutting and the disposing of the pumpkin guts and all of that. Plus I’ve never gotten very good at carving, so most of them turn out looking like that first one I did by myself when I was eight… which looks like most of the jack o lanterns down the block.

On the other hand, I always have a ready supply of odd, ends, and general detritus I figure will be useful for something someday, and plenty of imagination.

That’s why I love the inspiration  of this article at Better Homes and Gardens on using that random junk to decorate your pumpkins.

Upholstery tacks, keys, gears, washers, bits of chain and wire… whatever you can think of has the potential to make a unique statement on your porch this Halloween.

Check out the gallery, gather up your goodies, get a pumpkin, and go to town!


And Then There Were Five

Friday, October 5th, 2012
By Twistie

Last week on Project Runway: Heidi product placements her children’s line of clothing, demonic baby dolls from the depths of perdition, Christopher and Sonjia win for making adorable itty bitty gender reinforcing outfits while Elena is sent to the Eastern Front… I mean home for making a baby rummage sale all in one outfit.

What will happen this week? Tune in below to find out.

(more…)


Pipe Nightmares

Thursday, October 4th, 2012
By Twistie

Many of us who like to create holiday (or other festive occasion, or just because) treats do our best to make them pretty, too. To that end, we may wind up piping decorative icing swirls or making shapes in meringue using the old standby of a pastry bag and specialized tip.

There are, sadly, times when this works out spectacularly badly. One of my favorite tales in this regard, because I’m a smutty-minded adolescent at heart, is this tragic tale of meringue mishap suffered by Cakeboule last winter.

In my experience, most meringue winds up featuring a similar point somewhere in the shape, so perhaps the key is placement rather than avoidance. You know, like these ghost cupcakes.

 












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