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It’s the Morning After the Election…

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
By Twistie

… and whether you’re basking in the sweet joy of victory, gnashing your teeth and swearing revenge in your defeat, or – like most of us – seeing how you did in a mixed bag of wins and losses, I think there are a few things we can all agree were Bad Ideas in the world of election-related crafts.

Love her or hate her, do you really need that many Michelle Obamas on your fingernails? I think I could do without.

(more…)


A Brief Crafting PSA from Crafty Manolo

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
By Twistie

When this:

seems like a good idea? It’s time to get out of the house a lot more.

That is all.


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.

 


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Stitches

Thursday, June 14th, 2012
By Twistie

Have you ever wanted to take a family photo and turn it into a cross stitch pattern? Well, it turns out you can do just that for free online at MyPhotoStitch.com.

Just upload a photo from whatever source you have, and the site will convert it into a cross stitch chart, complete with suggestions about what colors of DMC thread will look best.

Of course there are limits on how big the picture can be and how many colors are involved, because, well, this is a free program and it’s got limits like all free online programs. Still, they do suggest in the FAQ that you can send in a bigger, or more elaborate photo and request a custom job.

Anyway, the pattern stays available for about an hour online, during which time you can download it and print it off. There is, however, a gallery of patterns put up (with the originator’s permission) and available for download to anyone. I was particularly amused by the cross stitch pattern of some random knitting… and the zombie Hello Kitty, of course.

But wait! There’s more! The good folks at Regretsy saw this one and couldn’t help themselves. Helen Killer asked readers to create patterns and send her the images. She would then pick her favorite and have the reader make it, or send money to commission someone else to do the stitching and display the results on Regretsy.

Of course the readers have already sent in a plethora or possibly several myriads of demented, twisted, bizarre, or otherwise potentially scandalous ideas and Killer has opened up the floodgates to a reader’s poll to determine the winner. When last I looked, Carol Channing shouting ‘raspberries!’ was in the lead, closely followed by the Captain Picard facepalm. I voted for Spock and Jesus. Then again, readers are invited to vote early, vote often, and vote whimsically.

Warning: some of the images are astonishingly unsafe for work. Visit the poll from your desk (or anywhere else, for that matter) entirely at your own risk and don’t say I didn’t warn you. Just keep in mind that scatological humor runs rampant at Regretsy.


Sweets and Not So Sweets for the Sweet

Monday, February 13th, 2012
By Twistie

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and we all know what that means. Flowers, chocolate, prix fixe meals at restaurants we rarely can scrape up the funds to go to, and… well, all that usual stuff.

Me? I like the chocolates and flowers. Mr. Twistie and I usually go out for dinner the night before V-day, but he’s been seriously overworked and exhausted this year, so I’m going to take the opportunity to make a really nice home cooked meal for him this time around. Then I’ll tell him to go the heck to bed early and get some damn rest. Sometime in March it will probably occur to him that he didn’t take me to a fancy meal and he’ll take me out then… when I can order whatever I please and the restaurant won’t be overstuffed with people. That suits me just fine.

But for those of you celebrating in a very slightly less unconventional way, there are still options to make the day special.

The first of these comes from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, where you can find full tongue in cheek instructions and a photo tutorial on turning an ordinary heart-shaped box of Valentine’s candies into a fun way to present the love of your life with tiny fiddly electronic components. It’s simple and versatile. After all, if your love doesn’t want transistors but would love bits of festive colored rovings, some good sewing needles, or other small crafts supplies, this would work really well for that, too.

And for those of a more traditional bent and reasonably good kitchen skills, Epicurious has Jacques Torres’ fabulous chocolate truffle recipe filled with great hints and yummy alternatives.

Either way, this is probably better than a drugstore teddy bear holding a red satin pillow that reads ‘I wuv you beary, beary much.’


Finally My Palms Can Breathe While My Fingers Keep Busy With the Electrical Sockets

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
By Twistie

When I went to write my article for today, WordPress decided they didn’t want to let me in… for several hours. This happens. It ‘s annoying, but I survive, mostly without too much complaint. But finding myself with some time on my hands, I decided to spend it avoiding everything I have left to do for Christmas and go wander around Regretsy for a while.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear? Glingers.

Glingers are the result of a poll on Regretsy to pick the next big Etsy trend… for 2011. Yeah, I’m behind the curve. The poll is a year old. But in my defense, the bastard child results of the poll were reposted just a few days ago. Still, one of the responses (along with Amish Goth and Vintage Tampon Quilt Batting, both of which amused me greatly) was gloves that are just fingers.

Thus the glinger was born.

People sent in photos of the glingers they made, along with their tongue-in-cheek praises of their many virtues.

Regretsy reader Tonya had this to say of her grass green knitted glingers:

They’re perfect for those times when your fingers are cold but you need your palms free for things like accepting communion wafers or giving hand jobs

The title of this article is a direct quote from another Regretsy glinger devotee, Mary. But my personal favorite quote comes from Regretsy commenter and Evil Genius, Audrey:

Using the power of science, I made these labpunk scienceglam handless gloves happen in my artistic ability, a mystical unraveling of creative and scientific talent completely uncorrupted by artificial constraints such as ‘taste’ and ‘human decency.’ The lucky buyer can use them in the context of fashionable crimes, leaving no fingerprints while maintaining the important fashion objective of looking like a complete and total tool.

Also of interest on Regretsy, learn why if you’re trying to do good for others, PayPal may not be your best partner in generosity. While the situation has been resolved, it still doesn’t make me want to rush to PayPal the next time I need to help someone financially.


Well, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time….

Thursday, November 10th, 2011
By Twistie

First off, I’d like to apologize for the lack of posts the last couple days. I was sick and my eyes wouldn’t focus through the fever, alas. It’s difficult to spell properly under those circumstances, and my prose becomes somewhat… less than exquisite. Oh hell, in point of fact I become more garbled than Ozzy Osborne on helium. Not pretty.

Anyway.

In honor of the fever dreams that plagued my last couple days, I bring you some thoughts on crafts gone horribly wrong.

 (Photo via Wonyk)

We all have crafting ideas. Some, admittedly, are better than others. What possessed the artist to create a teddy bear our of belly button lint and then enclose it in a glass jar, I cannot say. I occurs to me that I might have looked for a led-lined enclosure, but maybe that’s just me.

The poor thing, while articulated, which is something of a feat in that scale, appears to have been put together like Frankenstein’s monster out of mismatched bits of other teddy  bears who had passed on. Even the eyes appear to be two different sizes.

And yet, somehow, there is a bizarre poetry – possibly strongly influenced by Richard Brautigan – to the concept of making an adorable little toy out of something as pointless, unpleasant, and just plain nasty as belly button lint. Just think how long one would have to harvest the materials to come up with enough lint to make this small, bedraggled creature! Even if you had friends lining up to donate their own fluff, it would take a ridiculously long time. This tenacity and originality of vision seems to me to be worthy of a certain admiration, even if the results are less than stellar.

Yes, I doff my entire hat collection to the few, the proud, the ones who come up with utterly deranged crafts projects while in the throes of too much pizza and beer, an excess of video games, or just plain deeply confused mental states. Whether or not you add very much to the sum total of greatness in the world, you certainly add to its whimsicality and unpredictable nature.

So, belly button lint teddy bear maker, I salute you.


Who Says It Has To Be Wholesome?

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
By Twistie

The common  assumption when you tell people about your crafting is that you make things that are kewt and kwaint and kind of cheesy. But that is not necessarily the case. Nor is it necessarily all about artistic and classy. Just as with any other segment of the population, we crafters have our resident sickos who make life that much more… interesting.

And so it is with Croshame aka Shove Mink. She’s a San Francisco crocheter, zine author, and generally delightfully sick puppy. In her crafting, she concentrates on designing and creating surprisingly macabre amigurumi pieces which she calls ‘antigurumi.’ Thus the adorable monkey committing suicide at the top of this entry. I chose it in part because it sums up the attitude of her work so well, and in part because it was quite possibly the most family-friendly SFW image I found in her gallery.  But really, do be sure to see the Exorcist Playset. It’s devilishly good.

Look, just check out her stuff and read a few entries in her blog. You’ll be as hooked as I am in no time! Geddit? Hooked? On a crochet artist?

I’ll… just… be over here while you do that, m’kay?


Pretty or Tasty… Maybe Both

Thursday, May 26th, 2011
By Twistie

picture via Cake Picture Gallery

I think I was about ten when my mother took the Wilton cake decorating course.

Cake wasn’t a frequent thing in my home up to that point. It got trotted out mostly for birthdays. Even most holiday meals didn’t end with cake. Thanksgiving was pumpkin pie and a steamed pudding, Christmas was usually a fun dessert made of crushed candy canes frozen in whipped cream (too delicious for words!). The only holiday that had a cake attached was Easter, when Mom would bake a cake in the cast iron lamb mold, cover the white frosting with shredded coconut and surround it with brightly colored jelly beans. Birthdays didn’t include much decoration. Just cakey, chocolatey goodness.

But once Mom got a piping bag in her hand and a couple lessons, world watch out! Suddenly the kitchen bulged with different shapes and sizes of cake pans. She got a huge selection of decorative tips to play with. Chocolate was no longer the goal, but the first step on the journey to cake. Sure, the flavor was nice, but what was it going to look like?

The cakes, sadly, became boxed mixes and the frosting a Crisco ‘buttercream’ that tasted like sweetened sawdust… but they sure looked pretty.

Her finest effort was probably a gorgeous pastoral scene on sheet cake with a castle built at one end and dozens of fabulous flowers growing out of a bright kelly green swathe of frosting grass. Alas! one of the cats managed to get up on the table and stepped right in one corner of the cake. Never one to be phased for long by disaster, Mom whipped up a bit more frosting, added a touch of black food coloring, and carefully built up a frosting well to cover the damage. That corner was not served, and nobody noticed that there was any problem.

For my part, well, I don’t decorate my cakes so much. I bake from scratch, use butter in my buttercream, and worry a lot more about the flavor of the beast than the look. If I manage to make it pretty, that’s nice, but it’s a bonus rather than the point of the exercise.

Every once in a while, though, I do think fondly of Mom’s cakes. And then I wonder if I should try picking up a properly-tipped pastry bag and see what I can do with a cake that really tastes good.


Sock Monkey Errata

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
By Twistie

via Sock Monkey Fun

The other day, I asked you to tell me about your most frustrating crafts projects. The fabulous and elegant Zelma told us of her woes creating a sock monkey with erroneous instructions, and thus the band Sock Monkey Errata was born.

Everyone here is welcome to join the lineup, playing whatever instruments they please. I, of course, will use my honking huge voice to be the lead singer, because I write the blog and I get to do that. So there. I will also bake delicious post-gig pies and cakes.

But we need musicians, luthiers, roadies, and sock monkey providers, people. Who’s in the band and what are you doing for us lately?

And if you need some inspiration, go check out Sock Monkey Fun with its many excellent photos of sock monkeys in the wild. If nothing else, you’ll get a giggle or three out of it.












Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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