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Clutching at Straws to Make Mathtastic Mobiles

Monday, August 20th, 2012
By Twistie

This is a decahedron himmeli mobile.

Okay, a decahedron is a polyhedron with ten flat faces. A himmeli is a traditional Finnish Christmas ornament, usually made of straw, created to encourage a good harvest.

And I couldn’t have defined either of these concepts yesterday. The reason I can today is that Aunt Peaches has posted a set of instructions for making a decahedron himmeli out of not straw… but drinking straws.

How cool is that?

Me? I’m headed to the dollar store for straws!

Left Out No More

Monday, August 13th, 2012
By Twistie

(Image via M3)

Happy Left-Hander’s Day!

Yes, it’s a real day. August 13. And this month friday the thirteenth lands on a monday, which makes it more dangerous. Bonus points to anyone who knows where that concept comes from.


As a southpaw, sometimes it’s hard to find equipment set up for me, let alone instructions to use it properly.

So in honor of the day, I have found a selection of tools and instructions to help my fellow right-minders be super crafty.


Keep Cool, Thanks to Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
By Twistie

Looking for a way to beat the heat? Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories is here to help!

Check out their instructions for making an ‘epic-scale’ Water Weenie.

Oh, and if you make one? Give me a call. I’ll come scamper on your lawn while you hose me down… in a completely platonic way. What? I’m married!

Keep Your Identity Secret!

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
By Twistie

Sure, they’re for kids, but I see no reason these awesome felt superhero masks couldn’t be expanded for grown-ups. Jessica at Cutesy Crafts came up with them for favors at a child’s superhero/princess theme birthday party (there’s a boy and a girl both celebrating their birthday together, and there will be instructions for princess crowns, too)… but I want them for my next birthday bash.

Go visit Jessica’s site for more information and instructions… and superhero/princess cake pops, too.

Now, do I want to be Spider Man, Iron Man… or maybe I can come up with a Cat Woman mask.

What? I imprinted early on Eartha Kitt.

Smoke Gets In Your Fridge

Thursday, July 19th, 2012
By Twistie

Today’s article is a bit of a quickie.

You see, disaster struck Casa Twistie earlier this week. Our refrigerator bit the dust big time.

So Mr. Twistie and I took a ride to a Great Place to Get New Appliances, pointed at a new one, said ‘we’ll take it’ and opted for the extended warranty. When the new one gets delivered this morning, we’ve arranged to have the old one hauled off and recycled.

Turns out, we didn’t realize we could recycle it ourselves… into a smoker.

If you’ve got a fridge on it’s last legs, and it’s not a side by side (freezer on the bottoms apparently works best), and you like smoked meat, this might just be your answer.

After all, as it says in the article,

Abandoned fridges come in handy for more than just smothering wayward pre-schoolers to death



Monday, July 16th, 2012
By Twistie

Check out these ridiculously adorable Dalek egg cozies! I mean, who wouldn’t want an alien killing machine with a plumber’s friend for a weapon keeping their soft boiled morning treat safe?

Okay, maybe there’s someone out there who wouldn’t, but I totally would. Geekery, crafts, and cooking all working together to make me happy. That’s what the world needs more of.

Anyway, the original, crocheted version was created by Cosy a Go Go (where some other fabulous crocheted sci-fi/fantasy inspired egg cozies live, so be sure to check them out).

Then Lyle’s Knit spread the word and did a knitted version, available here as a free PDF. Oh, and if you knit but not in the round… you might want to check out Anne’s variation, the flat knitted Dalek egg cozy, which is also a free PDF, but available here.

Daleks may never rule the universe as long as The Doctor keeps fighting them and winning, but at least your eggs will never get cold when you rush off in the TARDIS to help him out.

Then again, if your eggs do get cold, you can always have a Jelly Baby.

As Mr. Spock Would Say… Fascinator

Thursday, July 5th, 2012
By Twistie

Once upon a time, a fascinator was a hooded scarf, not unlike this knitted opera hood:

(Via World Turn’d Upside Down)

Now they look more like this:

(Via MHL)

Don’t ask me when the definition changed, because I honestly don’t know.

Still, as much as the word ‘fascinator’ still immediately raises the image of a practical head covering for me, I really love some of the things being done  with the more modern version.

So imagine my delight when I wandered over to Criminal Crafts the other day (pairing two of my all time favorite subjects: crime and craft) and found an article about crime-related (and some not-so-crime-related) fascinators.

You couldn’t pay me to sit down and read the 50 Shades of Grey books… but I would absolutely rock this intense fascinator any day of the week.

Have I ever mentioned I look absolutely sparkly in grey?

Check out the fun!

Bead Week: Roll, Blow, or Craft Your Own

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
By Twistie

Welcome to day three of Bead Week at Crafty Manolo! Set a spell and see if something appeals.

Sure, it’s fun to buy beads. That’s something I enjoy doing on a fairly regular basis, often with no clue what I’ll do with them later. I just like having lots of beads to choose from when I decide on a project.

But what about making the beads themselves? Most of us never do that. And why not? I can’t think of a good reason. Maybe if we all take a look at ways beads can be produced, some of us will find a way that appeals to our crafting genes. Even if we don’t, we’ll certainly have more appreciation for those who do the job!

Over at Shermo Beads, Ann Sherm Baldwin has a great visual tutorial on making lampwork glass beads. She recommends (and I heartily second this advice!) that if you want to try it yourself, it’s probably better to take a proper class. Still, this tutorial will not only help you see whether this is a craft for you, it will also give you a better appreciation of the work involved in making those gorgeous beads. So put on the pretty, sparkly safety goggles she has thoughtfully set out, and take a look.

Art Trader Magazine Online has a good tutorial on using polymer clay to make Pandora style beads. Wendy, this is for you. Wouldn’t this be a great way to come up with beads with big enough holes to use for your knitting?

I’m just sayin’….

Paper has a terrific blog on techniques and projects for paper beads. I found myself kind of intrigued with the idea of using posterboard, which is how these beads were made. Learn how here.

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make wooden beads? eHow has a clear set of instructions for free. Oh, and if you’re looking for wood and carry your own saw, I’ve got a tree out back that could really use a good pruning. No, really, I do.

You can even make beads from beads. Somehow I’d never really thought about using seed beads to make bigger, more elaborate beads, but the results can be amazing. Check out how with this peyote-stitch bead tutorial on Beading Arts.

Happy beading, everyone!

Bead Week: Do It Yourself… Or Let Tamara Do It

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012
By Twistie

Bead Week Continues. Enjoy!

Like this beaded leather cuff? I certainly do! It’s fun and funky and a bit retro and terribly Boho, which is a look I’ve always loved. Anyway, you can buy the cuff for $145.00 from Tamara Scott Designs on Etsy, or…

You can buy the instructional PDF for just $20.00 and choose your own materials and colors to work with.

Don’t want to spend full price and don’t want to go finding all the bits yourself? No problemo! For $80.00, you can get the fully supplied kit in your choice of the black or the brown colorway.

Just add tools and talent, and voila! Awesome jewelry and new techniques to learn!

Oh, did I mention that while this looks a lot like bead embroidery on leather, it’s actually beaded motifs attached to leather? Looks fun to me.

And if leather cuffs aren’t your thing, not to worry. Tamara has a lot of great jewelry (in finished, pattern, and kit form, depending on your preference) to show you.

Go thou and check out this great work!

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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