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Archive for the 'Crafts' Category

Newsflash: Crafts Are Good For You

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
By Twistie

(Image of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, working on a mosaic via  South Bank Mosaics)

We all know that doing various crafts can be fun. We know they give us individual fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment. Many of us find crafting relaxing, too. Crafting can add beauty to our lives and homes.

But it’s also good for us, both physically and mentally.

According to this article by Sara Gormley, OTS, College of Saint Mary, crafts can be an important part of recuperative therapy:

A simple mosaic craft activity that includes pre-cut tiles and all items prepared and set up for the patient provides illustration for the benefit and appropriate application of the use of this craft for treatment of either a physical or cognitive disability.  While creation of a mosaic tile may appear to be a simple leisure activity, this task places demands on the patient.  The patient needs to understand and remember the instructions, attend to task and maintain body position.  Selection of and picking up the tiles requires oculomotor control, visual discrimination and specific movements of muscles and joints. These include, but are not limited to: scapular protraction and retraction while reaching for materials and finger flexion, extension and thumb flexion and opposition when manipulating the craft tiles. Applying this craft in a group setting would provide the opportunity to address social and communication skills as well.

 The funny thing is, before she took a course in the uses of crafts in therapy, Gormley found the concept laughable.

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:

Quickie Question: How Was Your 2011 Crafting Year?

Friday, December 30th, 2011
By Twistie

As 2011 wanes, it’s time to take stock of what we’ve done over the past 365 days.

My crafting year was slowed down by several bouts of illness and a painful lack of empty flat spaces in my home. Still, I did get a few projects done. I made bookmarks for the Crafty Manolo yarnbombing run, six in all. I’ve repaired a couple pieces of jewelry I own. Oh, and on the culinary side I’ve made my first run at homemade puff pastry. Guess what?


I can’t wait to do it again.

So what about all of you? What have you made in 2011? How did it go? Are you happy with what you did? Do you have any major crafts plans for 2012?

Tell me all about it!

Quickie Question: Crafts for the Sick

Thursday, December 8th, 2011
By Twistie

It’s that time of year! No, I’m not talking about glitter and faux snow, I’m talking about fevers, and coughing, and snot, oh my!

It’s no secret that at this time of year more people catch more bugs and spend more time in bed with snuggly blankets, chicken soup, and reruns of their favorite mindless television shows. I’m under the weather myself, and sitting here wishing I had the complete Pushing Daisies to make me feel better.

But I’m curious, my fellow crafters. Do you ever do crafts when you have a cold? Has anyone come to your sick bed with something handmade to make you all better? Let’s hear about it! And please pass the Kleenex. I’m all snotty. Sniffle.

I’ll Never Be Mean to a Tree Again

Friday, December 2nd, 2011
By Twistie

Those were the first words I said as I left the theater after seeing The Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers. Yeah, the last march of the Ents made an impact on me as a viewer. Watching those trees go postal on Eisengard seriously thrilled and intimidated me.

And so it is that I must pay tribute to the amazing OneLug team whose Lego recreation of that scene boggles my mind with its amazing attention to detail and creative use of those delightful plastic blocks that I spent so many hours manipulating as a child.

Be sure to check out the slideshow for more detail. Here you can see not only the tremendous amount of thought that went into the project, but Treebeard carrying Merry and Pippin… not to mention a tiny Saruman hiding in the tower, soiling his robes in terror.

Good times, my friends, good times.

Now go out and be nice to a tree.

Inspiration Gallery: Presents With Presence

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011
By Twistie

It’s that time of the year. We’re all going to be giving as well as receiving gifts for one holiday or another, and hey! some people have birthdays and weddings and so on at this time of year, too. So gift giving is sort of an thing on most of our minds right now.

I have to admit, I’m rarely as creative about presentation as I am about the actual gifts. I figure if I get paper and a ribbon on it, I’m doing pretty good. But then I see ideas that make me wonder if I couldn’t do better. You know, things like the adorable packaging above crafted from tissue paper, silhouettes from a clip-art book, and a couple stickers. This and eleven other simple but effective and fun ideas can be found in this slide show at Country Living. I may well be adapting a couple of these concepts to my own fell purposes!


Be an Evil Mad Scientist… Or Just Visit One

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
By Twistie

Have you ever wondered what sort of crafts an evil mad scientist might do? Well, they might do the deadly champagne cork pictured above (extremely tongue in cheek instructions here), or he might create something less obviously dangerous and less obviously evil, such as this nifty LED Menorah:

But whether your taste runs more to deadly champagne corks, kits for electronic Menorahs, or the infamous eggbot which can print on real eggshells (comes in both standard hen and ostrich), it’s exciting to know that Evil Mad Science is having an open house this coming sunday, December fourth, from five to nine pm.

So if you’re slightly crafty, slightly geeky, fond of great silliness, or just wanting to meet the store cat, Zener, and you’re in the Sunnvale, CA. area (note to Buffy fans: that’s SunnyVale, not SunnyDale) then come on out and see what evil lurks in the hearts of men. The place to go is:

Evil Mad Science

175 San Lazaro Ave, suite 150

Sunnyvale, CA.

BTW, about that champagne cork? I wouldn’t advise trying it at home. I’m just sayin’, m’kay?

It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas Shopping Season

Friday, November 25th, 2011
By Twistie

As you read this, I’m probably still sleeping off that second slice of pumpkin pie… or starting my day with a big, strong cuppa Joe – black like the remnants of my shriveled soul, natch – and another slice of pumpkin pie.

But it being Black Friday, and the official start of the Christmas Shopping Season, I have a few thoughts about great places to direct your favorite Santa’s helpers, or to seek out terrific holiday gifts for the crafty person in your life.

Sometimes the thing you need most for your craft materials is someplace to neatly store and organize them. This denim sewing storage box has a convenient carry handle, and an organizing tray inside. At 12.5″L x 9.5″H x 7.5″W, it’s big enough to store a lot of materials, but small enough to transport easily. Oh, and at, it’s just $39.69.

In fact, I think it would work for many crafters, not just those who sew. I know I use something fairly similar to keep my bobbin lace tools in order.

But of course not all of you can use a sewing box. So let’s see what other superfantastic crafting goodies I can find for you.


In Preys of Cobblers

Thursday, September 29th, 2011
By Twistie

I love cobblers!

No, no! Not that kin… well, yeah, okay, I do love that kind of cobbler, too. But as delicious as that looks, I’m talking about the other kind. The kind that makes shoes.

We all wear shoes. They protect and spiff up our feet like nobody’s business. Shoes are just plain awesome. That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.

I remember as a child going with my mother to her cobbler. You see, every year she had a pair of hand tooled leather sandals made for her. Same design, same very dark brown leather every time. Except when she was going to the opera or a formal wedding, those were the only shoes she wore, rain or shine. I loved going with her to the cobbler, and wished that instead of going to Penny’s to find the one blasted hideous pair of shoes that would go over my little cube feet every year that I could have a pair of gorgeous, dark, supple leather sandals made just for me, too.

These days I kind of wish I had broached the subject to someone other than my own brain. I love pretty shoes as much as the next girl, and it might be nice to remember some actual pretty shoes on my own feet from those days instead of the parade of hideous, orthopedic monstrosities that encased my poor little toes back in those days.

Then again, my parents would probably have said sandals were not the right thing for a growing girl’s feet. The schools would probably have agreed on rainy days.

The siren lure of custom shoes still calls me to this day. And while I still love those flat, strappy leather sandals Mom wore, my horizons have broadened. I would like fashionable shoes that fit my still cubist feet and my particular sense of style.

Then  what to my wondering eyes should appear but Shoes of Prey. Individually designed and handmade really fashionable shoes. Shoes like this:

Stylish shoes that can be customized to your feet and your preferences. I don’t even like peep toes, and I find myself lusting after these!

No, it’s not cheap. Prices start at $180.00 for ballet flats and go up depending on heel height, materials, and custom issues like very wide or narrow feet. Then again, I can walk into Nordstrom and easily spend more on shoes that aren’t going to fit my feet properly. And if I have a philosophy about paying for clothes, it’s that feet are vital to your ability to function all the way to your head, so it’s worth paying extra for them to seriously fit and properly support you.

Besides, those shoes at Nordstrom? Are going to be worn by  hundreds, perhaps thousands of other women. These? Will be one of a kind.

Now that’s worth the extra!

Let’s Get Geeky and Crafty

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011
By Twistie

As I noted in yesterday’s post, the world of sci-fi seems to have little appreciation for crafts. But I’ve also noticed that crafters as a species do seem to have a lot of use for sci-fi and other speculative creativity. In fact, there’s a super-cool blog called Geek Crafts that’s dedicated to the intersection of geekery and crafting. If you haven’t ever been, go check it out now. Go on. I’ll wait.

Cool, isn’t it?

And as you can see from the illustration at the top of this post, Susan Beal, who writes for Geek Crafts, has written a book of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and gaming-related craft projects for you or the crafty geek in your life.


Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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