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Archive for the 'Jewelry' Category


Hair Today….

Thursday, June 28th, 2012
By Twistie

Before we get started, I want to apologize for the lack of posts this week. Fevers are conducive to crossed, unfocused eyes, not writing intelligible sentences. But I’m better now and back to work. so let’s hit the ground running, guys!

I adore this brooch by artist Melanie Bilenker. Such a charming, quiet moment observed with simplicity and grace. So what’s it made of? Let me see… ebony, gold, resin, pigment, and hair. That’s right, hair. Melanie Bilenker’s hair, to be precise.

No etching techniques, as you might expect at first glance. Instead of an etching tool, Melanie places her lines with strands of hair.

Her inspiration is historical and sentimental:

The Victorians kept lockets of hair and miniature portraits painted with ground hair and pigment to secure the memory of a lost love. In much the same way, I secure my memories through photographic images rendered in lines of my own hair, the physical remnants. I do not reproduce events, but quiet minutes, the mundane, the domestic, the ordinary moments.

Go check out her work. It’s amazing.

Oh Mr. Twistie? If you’re wondering what I’d like for my birthday, this is a hint.

Well, that or a shopping spree at the Nikon 1 from Jessops. I’l like that, too.


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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How To Use It: Playing Dress Up

Saturday, May 19th, 2012
By Twistie

We love to craft. We love to make things with our hands. We love to show off our work.

Then again, the last thing we want is to look like we’re auditioning to play Ma Ingalls in a low-rent touring company of Little House on the Prairie. We prefer to exhibit a sense of style, a little elan in our homes and our wardrobes.

To that end, I’m going to show you a few classic, well-cut clothes and suggest some hand-crafted embellishments to go with them.

For instance, this silk cashmere knitted turtleneck dress from the Spiegel catalog is a stunner in its own right. It’s a versatile style that can go from the office to an evening of dining and theater without missing a beat. You could wear it to a wedding or on a romantic getaway. It’s also a breeze to accessorize with handmade jewelry, a painted silk scarf, or a jaunty hat of your own devising.

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Dogs That Make Me Smile

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
By Twistie

A new flea market started up recently in my town. Mr. Twistie has been going with his friend the Drummer. Last week, he asked me to come along so I could try out the schnitzel at one of the food trucks. I gotta say, that was the best darn schnitzel I’ve ever had. Light, crisp, flavorful, and the housemade horseradish sauce was out of this world!

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Great schnitzel is a wonderful thing, but this blog is about crafts. Schnitzel, however, got me to the flea market where I found a surprising pair of craft artists whose work delighted me.

Smiling Dog Studio is the brainchild of craft artists Jane Brooks and Val Yandell. Val takes the photographs. Jane works in assemblage. Together they create fabulous jewelry like the piece shown above, as well as ornaments to hang around your house like this fun antique camera image:

You can find Smiling Dog Studio at various craft events around the Bay Area, or you can contact them online for custom work

So poke around their site, ask them a question… they won’t bite. And neither did their dogs, Wasabi and Fig, who I also met at the flea market. Nice doggies!


LOVE/HATE: Nailed It

Thursday, March 29th, 2012
By Twistie

Sometimes something comes along that induces such HUH?!? in me that I can’t quite decide whether it’s a complete travesty or an odd kind of genius.

For instance, take these earrings for sale from thecraftartykid on Etsy. There’s no denying the tacky of them, made as they are of press on fingernails, bits of magazine, and PVA glue. Press on nails are kind of tacky to begin with, and this is such a weird use of them, and then the words from magazines don’t help much… and yet they’re so darn colorful and nobody will guess in the first glance quite what they are, and when they do figure it out they’ll probably freak out which is fun to observe.

And then there’s the fact that someone has figured out how to separate people from five British pounds sterling a pop for something this tacky and potentially offensive.

I think I’m having a LOVE/HATE relationship with these horrible things. In the end, HATE is winning out by a narrow margin. Perhaps when I have more caffeine in me I’ll see things more clearly and HATE them all the more… but I’ll still be curious about the possibilities of a partnership in craft crime with thecraftartykid.


I Felt You Needed to Know About This

Thursday, January 26th, 2012
By Twistie

I admit it. I’ve always had a bit of a thing for badgers. When  I was two, my parents took me to the toy store to choose my own teddy bear. I ignored them all, but refused to leave the store without the Steiff badger. I still have him. He was the constant companion of my childhood, but Diggy is still in beautiful shape.

This little fellow may not be Steiff, but he’s absolutely adorable. He’s a felted badger head brooch by UK Etsy crafter lizzieneedles. And right now he’s just $55.00. He’s regularly $78.00.

But wait! There’s more! Right now you can get 10% off of lizzieneedles’ incredible needlefelted  jewelry if you use sale code FELTOFF2011.

Now, do I want this badger, or do I want the white rabbit ring…..


Polymer Passion

Thursday, January 19th, 2012
By Twistie

I remember well when I first discovered polymer clays. I was busily trying to find the perfect craft for me and thought beading looked fun. I got myself a couple catalogues to check out supplies and educational resources. Lo and behold, there was this amazing new product called FIMO, a colorful clay from which you could make your own beads in the oven. What a cool idea! I ordered some and made a few beads. It was fun. I enjoyed it. I did it a few times… and then I lost interest in actually making the beads. All the same, I really enjoyed seeing what people did with this intriguing new product.

I’d moved on to tossing bobbins, but I still admired a good FIMO or Sculpy bead artist.

So imagine my delight when I recently discovered the Polymer Art Archive. It’s a fabulous site dedicated to polymer clays, their history, uses, and dedicated artists. On the site, you’ll see many lovely pieces like the ones above… but you’ll also see more ambitious uses of this versatile material, like this bracelet at a recent show of polymer jewelry artists in San Diego:

Who knows? With inspiration like that, I might just give polymer another try!


Adventures in Upcycling and Repurposing

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011
By Twistie

One idea to make use of all that leftover gift wrap is to make a bracelet out of paper beads. This one was actually made from pages of Rolling Stone magazine, but I think gift wrap would work just as well and give a prettier result.

Find full instructions here at Craftster!

One a more… mechanical end of the scale, I found instructions for making a curiously strong ‘personal massager’ out of an empty Altoids tin and a battery operated toothbrush. Oh, and while the illustrations for this particular project are probably reasonably safe for work, the rest of the site really isn’t.


Ring a Ding!

Monday, December 5th, 2011
By Twistie

I love it when people combine jewelry making with fiber techniques. Etsy artist lauren, who runs the shop lapisbeach, does just that.

I’m loving this knitted ring, enhanced with a cluster of colorful beads. And at just $40.00, it makes a statement without stating that you’re going to go broke wearing it! Each ring is custom knitted to the required size (include sizing information with your order), so each one is unique.

Oh, and if rings aren’t your thing, be sure to check out her beaded, wire knitted chokers, bracelets, and pendants,  too. Now, what do I need knitted up for me?












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