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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.


Hedgie Love!

Thursday, April 26th, 2012
By Twistie

(Image via Tumblr feed Ask Hedgehog, which is well worth checking out for its own sake)

It has long been my considered opinion that hedgehogs rank well up among the cutest creatures in the world. They’re pocket-sized and sneeze in self-defense. How can you beat that?

Well, there are other people out there taking inspiration from hedgehogs, and I thought I would share a couple of them with you today.

Gilad’s Origami page features this noble example of the hedgehog. Be sure to scroll down to see a couple kick tushie badgers, an awesome okapi, and a rather spectacular anteater… and then go check out the rest of the site, including some diagrams of  fun origami projects you can do. The hedgehog, alas, is not included.

If you’re looking for a fun project to do with your kids, you might do worse than head on over to Kiddly’s archive and check out the instructions for making this pine cone and polymer clay hedgie.

The blog has been on hiatus since 2007, but there are some really great ideas if you go browsing.

This delightful hedgehog plushie was featured at The Art Zoo. I only wish instructions had been included.

And finally a graphic reminder from Disney Family Fun that just because it is possible to do something doesn’t always make it a good idea. I give you the hedgehog cupcake:

What To Do With Easter Now It’s Over

Thursday, April 12th, 2012
By Twistie

There’s a downside to most major holidays: the detritus.

And in the post-Easter haze, there are a lot of little plastic eggs that use to be filled with candy and tiny decorative items sitting around empty and forlorn. What the heck are you going to do with them all?

Well, if you’re smart and crafty, you might head over to Creativity in Progress and learn how to make these adorable teacups for your child’s playtime enjoyment.

Do you have a great idea for using up the leftovers from holidays? If so, feel free to share in comments!

Going Swimmingly

Thursday, March 15th, 2012
By Twistie

Kiddies, I hurt my dominant index finger last night in a bizarre restaurant accident. Typing is tough today.

And so instead of something profound, I leave you with this fun, no-care fish bowl, suitable for even the most pet-unfriendly apartment:

Somebunny Is Getting Dipped

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
By Twistie

With Easter just around the corner, it’s a great time to indulge yourself in seasonal sweet treats.

Now personally, I’m not that wild about Peeps. Then again, I don’t like marshmallow. Never have, never will. Still, while I consider them useful only for scientific experimentation, and some others mark them for grisly death, there are those who truly love eating the little suckers.

Ah, but doesn’t everything taste better enrobed in chocolate? Okay, there might be something that doesn’t, but marshmallow clearly isn’t one of those mutant food items. It’s better with chocolate.

So if you like Peeps, and you like chocolate, and you’re looking for a fun holiday project to share with the kiddies, you should definitely check out this article at Makes and Takes from a couple years back with instructions on chocolate coating your Peeps.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
By Twistie

(Image via Alphamom, where you can find links to this and several other attractive, kid-friendly Valentine’s projects)

Happy Valentine’s Day from Crafty Manolo!

And if you can’t be with the craft you love, honey, love the craft you’re with.

Quickie Question: Most Unusual Crafting Material You’ve Used

Monday, November 28th, 2011
By Twistie

(Illustration via Craft Elf, where you can find instructions for this melted snowman Christmas ornament)

When we’re setting out our crafting supplies, most of us tend to think in relatively traditional terms. Thread, needles, hooks, felt, wood, carving tools, beads, etc. We take the things our crafts are generally made from, and we make more. It’s great. I love to work in linen and silk threads whenever possible. Chances are you have favorite materials to work in that you know will make your work turn out great.

But sometimes it’s fun to experiment and see what will happen. The Christmas ornament above, for instance, is made of glue. Oh, there’s a bit of pipe cleaner and some black beads, and a little thread for hanging the piece on your tree. But most of it is simply glue melted onto a piece of foil, which is later removed. Glue! I don’t know about you, but I think that’s kind of an awesome fun idea.

And as much as I love using linen and silk and even cotton to make my lace, I also enjoy using copper wire, and have been known on more than one occasion to work some brightly colored rayon threads into my lace.

So what about you? What unusual materials have you played with? How did it work out?

What We Learn At Mom’s Knee

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
By Twistie

Crafting has always been a part of my life. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother sewing, embroidering, knitting, and generally creating beautiful things out of nearly nothing. A ball of yarn, a bit of thread, an unassuming yard or two of cloth, these homely things became magical in her hands. They turned into art for the walls, fanciful dresses I wore to school, and warm, snuggly scarves to ward against the winter chill… such as it was in California.

She taught me, one by one, to do the same things. Most of them didn’t stick particularly well, but I learned from each and every one. I learned from observation and from getting my hands stuck into the middle of things, too.


Inspiration Gallery: Jack O Lanterns

Thursday, October 13th, 2011
By Twistie

As the witching hour approaches for Halloween, I find my mind meandering into the fun I had as a child carving jack o lanterns… and I wonder what people are up to in the art form. Let’s take a look, shall we?

I’ve seen a lot of amazing pumpkin carvings in my day, but never before have I seen an animated one! Head on over to this thread on Instructables to learn how it’s done.


Hooray for the Red, White, and Blue Crafts!

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
By Twistie

So. It’s mere days to the Fourth of July, and you’ve decided at the last minute to throw a barbeque before heading out to see the fireworks. Your bank account is running on empty, the kids are in desperate need of a good project to keep them out of your hair, and you’re searching for inspiration. What do you do? What do you do?

For starters, you can take a look over at where you can find the instructions for making these fun, festive flowers our of painted coffee filters.

Or, for an amusing retro hanger to place on your door, take a look at this project posted today at Vintage Image Craft:

All you’ll need is a wire hanger or two, some crepe paper, the image which you can download from their site, and a few other basic craft supplies you probably have in your home already.

Or for something every bit as easy, but just a little more sophisticated, head over to Woman’s Day for instructions on making these simple, yet elegant, centerpieces with glass vases, colored sand, a few blooms, and a couple tiny flags:

There’s no need for last minute or simple to mean dull, ordinary, or unimaginative. Let’s get creative!

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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