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Bead Week: Where to Get Them?

Monday, June 4th, 2012
By Twistie

Welcome to Bead Week at Crafty Manolo! All week long we’ll be talking about where to buy them, how to use them, beads in history, and, well, whatever else I can think of having to do with beads.


I love beads. They’re pretty, they’re fun to play with, and you can usually pick up a fair number for a relatively small amount of cash. Today I thought I would share a few favorite sources of gorgeous beads.

The one above is a lampwork bead from Shipwreck Beads. It’s a 27mm dichroic glass bead in shades of blue with a 2mm hole. I love the color, the shape, and the subtle sparkle in it. The price? A quite reasonable $9.99 each.

Shipwreck carries a wide variety of gorgeous beads (glass, wood, ceramic, Swarovski crystal, gemstones, and many, many more materials), findings, tools, books, and even finished pieces of jewelry. If you need a bead or a way to use it, this is a great place to start.

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Fun Crafts, Free Patterns

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
By Twistie

(Magnet available from Zazzle)

Sometimes it’s fun to wander the web and see what goodies we can find to try out for free in the crafting world. Whether it’s a new craft entirely or a new technique in something we’ve done before, or just a fun variation, there’s always something fun and free out there. But don’t just take my word for it! Here are a few examples to whet your appetite for crafty goodness online.

Mosaic Patterns Online features a new free pattern each month. This month it’s your choice of this gorgeous butterfly or a really spiffy dragonfly. Oh, and if you download the free pattern, you can also get a discount on some of the supplies for making it a reality.

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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:


Inspiration Gallery: Glass Painting

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
By Twistie

It’s fun. It’s festive. And I’m kind of in love with the wonky shape of these pretty green bottles. Even the somewhat minimalist, crude sun on the right is making me smile… though I’m more drawn to the Klimt-esque dotted scrolls on the left.

All in all, if I were to begin painting on glass, I imagine this is what my early efforts would most closely resemble. I’m a dab  hand at painting  a wall, but fiddly things like glass bottles? Actual figurative work? Yeah, not so much. Still, even these simple efforts that are nearly as wonky as the bottles themselves have a certain charm to them. I may even try it, using the instructions found here.

But of course there’s so much more than the sun from a small child’s crayon drawing or simple motifs ripped off from famous paintings to do with glass and paint in tandem.
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Fire in the Hole!

Thursday, March 31st, 2011
By Twistie

Photo by Greg Crane

Do you know about the Crucible?

No, I’m not talking about Arthur Miller’s classic play about the Salem witch trials written in response to the McCarthy hearings. I’m talking about the school of fire arts in Oakland, California.

What are the ‘fire arts?’ Well, any craft or performance style that requires fire of some sort to make it work. At the Crucible you will find classes on such diverse topics as: ceramics, glass work, blacksmithing, kinetics and electronics, welding, and fire performance, among others.

Whether you want to learn about making neon sculptures, enameled jewelry, or bicycle repair, this is the place in the Bay Area to go. Oh! And look at that! They’re having an open house on April 2 from noon to four pm.

If you happen to be in the area, drop on by and check out the range of classes. Or, you know, just marvel at the fire eaters  and fire dancers.


Inspiration Gallery: Stained Glass

Thursday, January 20th, 2011
By Twistie

This magnificent stained glass window resides in Lincoln Cathedral in Lincolnshire, England. Some of you may have seen it in the film of The DaVinci Code, some of which was filmed in Lincoln Cathedral after Westminster Abbey turned down the opportunity.

I didn’t see the film, but I love the window. In fact, I have a great fondness for Medieval stained glass. It’s so intricate, so colorful. Gorgeous.

On the other hand, I can definitely appreciate something more modern and less exuberant. Then again, I can really enjoy a piece that has some real humor to it, like this brilliant piece by Dig Dug of a classic video game machine:

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