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Got Subversion?

Thursday, November 8th, 2012
By Twistie

I have to admit that few things in life would tempt me to do a great deal of embroidery again. My crafty flair does not run in that direction. I might, however, consider picking up counted cross stitch if only to do some of the deliciously wrong pieces available in kit form from Subversive Cross Stitch. (*WARNING* Many patterns feature language NSFW) For instance, I may not drink, but I want to do the Will Stitch for Cocktails piece shown above.

You can purchase the PDF for just $5.00, or get the kit. The basic one is just $12.00 for: material, thread, pattern, and instructions. If you spring $20.00 for the deluxe, you also get two needles and an embroidery hoop.

And if you’re looking for a crafty yet internet savvy holiday gift for the crafty geek in your life, be sure to check out the Internet Meme Ornaments.

You can choose from such popular memes as Business Cat, Pedobear, and the Socially Awkward Penguin. Each kit complete with instructions, fabric, thread, acrylic ornament, and ribbon to hang the ornament from the protrusion of your choice for just $12.00. Not bad.

Shrine On You Crazy Diamond

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012
By Twistie

There are times in life when we just have to let something go, but we want to honor and preserve the memory. That’s when a shrine is a good idea.

Maybe it’s a marriage or long-term friendship that has ended. Maybe it’s a beloved pet who has passed on. Maybe it’s those delicious, gluteny treats you’ve had to swear off for your health. Maybe it’s even your favorite TV show that just went off the air. Whatever it is, it deserves to be treated with respect and made as pretty as possible.

And that’s where Alphastamps comes in, because they have a cool kit for building your shrine, whether it’s to your poodle, your former career, or your dream of being an Olympic gymnast even though you’re forty, stand six-foot-one, and couldn’t turn a cartwheel if world peace depended on it.

The kit comes with all the pieces you need to build a masonite stage, complete with proscenium arch and curtain swags. It’s just $13.99 for the kit, bring your own glue.

Not so big on theatrics, but still in need of a good shrine or reliquary? Well, there’s the Gothic Arch version for just $4.99, made of masonite, cherry wood, and acrylic,  and there’s the Coffin version of the same materials for just $3.99, and there’s the Mini Dashboard Shrine kit, just in case you want to make a shrine to Meatloaf. Put it by the light. It’ll be paradise.

Shoes for Industry! Shoes for the Dead!

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
By Twistie

I got a cry for help in my mailbox yesterday from reader Dawn:

Can you recommend a site/book/ anything for making shoes?
Well, Dawn, I didn’t yesterday, but I’ve been researching the question and I think I’ve got a couple sources for you. Of course, it’s always easier to find the right thing when you’ve got a few more parameters, but at least one of these should set you on the right track.
Etsy store simpleshoemaking sells books on basic techniques of shoe and sandal making. The books are self-published and available in both hard copy and pdf format ranging from about $30.00 to $45.00. The books recommend recycled soles, and the shoes look pretty crunchy granola, Berkeley in the seventies. Still, the techniques are for shoes created with few or no specialized tools, and the books are budget friendly. This could be a good place to start, especially if you don’t plan to get too exotic with styling.
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive source emphasizing a more elegant approach and much more complex work… at a correspondingly higher price, you might want to check out Bespoke Shoemaking Book. This is for the person seriously interested in making a lot of custom shoes. The basic book runs $140.00AUD, plus shipping. And then there’s the sandal book, the sandal kit, and the instructions for making a professional grade sole press.
Amazon has several pages of books on shoes and shoemaking available. These range from reprints of historical manuals (often meant for professionals) to books on embellishing shoes you buy commercially to more general books on leatherwork that happen to include a pattern for a sandal or two to books that show what sorts of shoes were worn when and where. It’s a little scattershot, but you might find a good book there.
All of these sites have their advantages, but I think the best source I found had to be Walrus Shoe. In addition to books on how to make shoes, they carry lasts, a book on making your own lasts, cobbling-themed jewelry, and say they will soon carry tools, findings, and machines to help your shoe making dreams come true. I’ll be keeping my eyes on this one! Again, these books and tools are meant for the professional or the very serious hobbyist. They don’t come cheap, but they result in pretty footwear. Then again, if you’re going to make shoes… why not go for the gusto?
And if you’re just looking for a bit of fun inspiration, why not check out the Bata Shoe Museum? You may just find a good reason to buy one or two of those books so you can reproduce something special.
I hope that helped you, Dawn! Best of luck with your shoemaking endeavors, and be sure to let us know how it goes.

The Whole Kit and Kaboodle

Monday, February 27th, 2012
By Twistie

I believe I’ve mentioned before that I wanted to try out some new crafting techniques. Well, I took the plunge recently. See that beginner’s needle felting kit up there? Yeah, I ordered one of those from Mielke’s (pronounced ‘Milky’s’) Fibers.

The kit comes with eight needles (two each in four different sizes), a 12″ x 9″x 1 1/2″ foam work surface, a generous amount of carded fleece in some eight different colors, a strip of cotton batting, a bit of yarn, and a set of instructions in basic techniques taught in the form of four different projects. The instructions tell you how to do the work and suggest shapes and colors, but leave the final design up to the student, which is great because it encourages you to delve into your own creativity right off the bat. The needles come in a sturdy plastic tube and jabbed into a piece of foam so you won’t hurt yourself before you begin. They also include a handy chart to explain the color coding on the handles of the needles, including the length. That’s a good thing since two different styles have the same color handles, but one is significantly longer than the other.

As soon as the kit arrived, I pulled all the bits out and started playing. What do you know? By the end of an hour of reading instructions, identifying tools, etc. I sat down and in less than half an hour, I had a pretty piece of needlefelt in the form of a red heart I can wear on my sleeve… but will more likely attach to a hat at some point. I even managed it sans bloodshed! My vocabulary of vulgarities remains unenhanced, but at least I’m not wearing bandages on my fingers. I do, however, firmly believe the reason the kit suggests using red fleece to begin with is so that if one does draw one’s own blood, it’s less likely to ruin the project.

All in all, I’m thinking I spent $25.00 quite well. I’d been looking at needle felting beginner’s kits for a couple months, and this one seemed to me to offer the best combination of quality, versatility, and ease of use. If you’re looking to take up this fun craft, I highly recommend this as the kit to get.

Alpha Awesome

Monday, December 19th, 2011
By Twistie

Have you visited Alpha Stamps yet?

This rather fabulous sheet of collage images of dancing men is one of theirs, from the steampunk collection. The price varies slightly depending on whether you would prefer it in cardstock, clear sticker, or transparency form.

Not wild about dancing men? That’s okay. They have everything from bathing beauties and Mother Goose illustrations to bicycles and birds. And that’s just the tip of the collage iceberg!

They also carry rubber stamps, metal findings, buttons, charms, adhesives, stencils, glitter, ribbon, shrine forms, chains, tools, instructional materials, kits, and all sorts of other wonderful shiny things for the crafter.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to go browse a bit and dream some pretty dreams. Or you could join me there.

Well Fancy That!

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
By Twistie

Hey all you baking mavins out there! Fancy Flours is having a series of one-day sales for the next week. The shindig starts tomorrow, thursday, december 15, with a one-day 25% off sale on all cupcake liners, wrappers, picks, and decorations as well as books and DVDs.

Now’s your chance to get something like this rather glorious Nutcracker Suite cupcake decorating set for a quarter off. The set includes 24 cupcake wrappers in two styles, and 24 picks in four different styles: the Nutcracker, Clara, the Rat King, and the Sugarplum Fairy.

Then check back each day for more sales!


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?

Hot Ways to Save at Roberts

Friday, July 22nd, 2011
By Twistie

Roberts Crafts has two great deals for all of you looking for, well, great deals on crafting equipment and supplies.

First off is the very limited time Beat the Heat offer of 20% off your entire online regular price purchase. All you need to do to get the savings is enter the code: BEATTHEHEATW at checkout, and anything you bought that wasn’t already on sale is 20% off! Not bad. Hurry, though! The deal ends tomorrow!

But wait! That’s not all! There’s another deal available:

If you happen to live nearby a Roberts, Two Fer Tuesday has been expanded to saturdays, as well, meaning you can use two coupons in one transaction. Again, not bad at all.

And now I think I’ll go off and craft some homemade ice cream. That’s my way to beat the heat! Stay frosty, everyone.

A Print Off the Old Block

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
By Twistie

Block printing is a medium I have long admired. I’ve enjoyed it the couple times I’ve tried it, too.

If you’ve been thinking about trying this fun technique out, or if you know someone who wants to get started, the best thing you can do is head over to Mister Art and take a look at this fabulous starter kit by Speedball. It includes everything you need to get going creating your own block prints. It includes: a lino block, lino handle, four sizes of cutters, a knife, four colors of ink, and a lot more.

Oh, and the coolest thing of all? Is the price. This kit usually runs $59.99 retail, which isn’t at all bad. But why go for ‘not bad’ when you can get a great deal? You see, Mister Art carries it for just $46.19, which is 23% off. Or, if you join their VIP Club, the price drops to just $40.49, or a whopping 33% off!

Bead Me Up, Scotty

Friday, April 15th, 2011
By Twistie

I love beads. They can be strung together in so many different ways, each of which brings beauty and grace to a person or a place. For instance, this rather spectacular 3-D choker of apple blossoms would make the woman who wears it stand out in any crowd as someone interesting.

But maybe you’re not a pink kind of girl. I know I’m not! But I am all about purple, so this lilac choker grabs my attention, not least because of how it’s worn:

If you like these, or if they intrigue you enough to make you want to see more, head on over to Beading With Vavara. You’ll find the kits for both these chokers and dozens of other pieces of beaded jewelry and amulet bags. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there’s a pattern you can do. There are also books on technique available.

But what if you don’t bead jewelry? That’s okay! Vavara’s got you covered there, too, with finished pieces for sale.

Not feeling very flush? Don’t worry. There are also free patterns available to download.

Mmm… pretty.

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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