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Picture Perfect

Monday, August 27th, 2012
By Twistie

Looking for the perfect wedding gift for very special friends? A special album for your own wedding, vacation, or baby snaps? Just a gorgeous handmade bound book to fondle when  nobody’s looking?

Three Trees Bindery may be just the people whose Etsy shop you want to check out.

The covers of this custom photo album are made of wood painted black. The binding is done in natural color waxed linen thread for maximum contrast. Two carved windows in the front cover hold black and white feathers protected by sheets of clear mica. The hand torn pages are heavy acid-free paper to preserve your memories safely. A silver plate on the front cover is stamped with the names of the happy couple and their wedding date.

Then again, the plate is also available in copper or brass or may be left off entirely, reducing the price by $30.00. The covers can be painted another color, if you so desire, and the binding thread is also available in more colors. The book can even be made larger or smaller than the proposed 6×8 144 page size in the example, though that will also – obviously – change the price.

As shown, it’s $275.00. I know I’ve spent that on less interesting wedding gifts.

To learn more about the philosophy and techniques Three Trees Bindery follows, check out where they’re featured currently on the Etsy blog.

Bananas are Good. So are Bookcases

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
By Twistie


My name is Twistie and I’m a biblioholic.

I am also a huge Whovian.

What’s more, I’m a crafty person.

Because of these three things, I want to run right out and make this bookcase:

Want to join me in placing your books (or adventures in time and space) in a TARDIS? Find out how at alantronics.

Now, one question: do I need a sonic screwdriver to put it together? I’m just asking.

No, Not the Wind in the Willows…

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
By Twistie

Wind and Willow Home.

Wind and Willow Home makes beautiful jewelry, pretty prints, and some naturally scented candles, all of which are fantastic. But I’m here to talk about their line of elegant kitchen items, in particular this set of five wooden mini bowls.

Each bowl measures 2.5″ x 1.25″ and will hold approximately two tablespoons. They’re perfect for when your mise en place calls for small amounts of several different spices, or when you need dipping sauces for each person at the table. I bet some of the beaders reading this blog could also use them to hold different colors/shapes of small beads while working.

They’re made of wood hand dipped in a plastic resin for a non-slip grip. And since each one is dipped by hand, there are subtle variations. The exposed wood is left natural.

Whether you put them to work in the kitchen or just display them on a shelf, these bowls will add beauty and grace to your home for years to come.

Not a bad deal for $39.00!


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!

Musical Mollusk

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
By Twistie

Have you ever wanted to play a snail? How about a ukulele? How about… a snail ukulele?

Yeah, that’s probably not something you’d thought about too hard. I know I hadn’t until I happened across this snail-themed acoustic electric tenor/baritone ukulele by celentanowoodworks. Oddly enough, I’d never imagined such a beast. Now I can’t get it out of my head.

Not a snail fan? Not to worry! They also make apples, panda bears, and even PacMan. And if the uke isn’t your instrument, they do guitars, banjos, violins, and mandolins, too.

So how do they play? I must admit, I didn’t know. I haven’t held one in my hands, I haven’t known anyone who had played one, and I was hesitant to recommend an eight hundred dollar uke without hearing it. That’s why I did what any rational person would do and went to YouTube, where I found footage of the cupcake ukulele being played. Oh, and there are ten more vids of these instruments being played. I would say they sound pretty nice, judging by what came through my computer speakers.

Got a crazy idea for a stringed instrument? Talk to celentanowoodworks. They do custom work, and I don’t think you could imagine something that would phase them!

Hmmm… maybe they could make me a raspberry tart banjo. Then I would only have to learn to play it.


Lacing With Interesting Women

Thursday, July 7th, 2011
By Twistie

Have I mentioned how much I love pretty tools to work with? There’s a gentleman in England called Chris Parsons who makes some tremendously pretty bobbins to toss. This is his set of Famous Women of History. The set includes: Cleopatra, Boudicca, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Florence Nightingale, Queen Victoria, George Eliot, Emmaline Pankhurst, Amelia Earhart, Marilyn Monroe, Margaret Thatcher, and Mother Theresa.

Of course, you may like some of these women better than others. Don’t worry, you don’t have to get the entire set. Pick and choose at your pleasure! And if there’s an amazing woman you feel he’s missed (say, Harriet Tubman or Aphra Behn, for instance), he’ll be happy to paint her for you, special.

Or maybe great women of history isn’t your thing. Perhaps you’d prefer Egyptian gods, celtic patterns, butterflies, famous buildings, or non-figurative pewter inlays.

Oh, and of course in light of a recent happy event in the British Royal family, well, what could be better than a nice commemorative of the event? It’s a long-standing tradition among English lacemakers, after all.

I have several of Mr. Parsons’ bobbins on my pillow, so I can recommend them as excellent tools. Then again, you might just want them around because they’re pretty. They’re certainly that!


Seating in the Key of C

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
By Twistie

It’s a porch swing! It’s a xylophone! It’s two things in one!

No, really, you can play this porch swing in the key of C as well as sit and swing in it. It even comes with the mallets shown on the seat.

Made of western red cedar with stainless steel fittings, it sounds like a marimba. The pitch will drop temporarily if it gets wet in the rain, but fear not! The original sound will return when it dries.

Who came up with this amazing item? Well, it’s the brainchild of the proprietor of Musical Furnishings at Etsy.

In addition to this very original porch swing, he can make you a rumba table with eleven interchangeable percussion inserts, or a colorful zylophone cedar chest, as well.

You know, I always wanted a porch swing. Now if I just had $1,300 to spend on it! Mr. Twistie could play the porch furniture.

Hmmm… I wonder if he could do a bistro set that doubles as a set of congas.

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.

All He Was Saying Was Give Peace a Chance

Thursday, March 10th, 2011
By Twistie

via IDSA Philly

This gentleman is American craft artist George Nakashima. The young lady sitting on the table is his daughter, Mira. Nakashima was a visionary artist, and today Mira continues and expands his legacy of exquisite furniture.

via Modern Design

As you can see, the philosophy behind the work was always one of respect for the material. The shape and grain of the wood are left intact on top, while being supported by architectural bases. The combination of minimal interference and thoughtful construction creates a harmonious and entirely practical result.

But Nakashima was also a dreamer.


Inspiration Gallery: Marquetry

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010
By Twistie

via eficostarica

I don’t know about you, but I adore marquetry, the art of wood veneer inlay. This is a classic sort of pattern with an urn and flowers and scrolls and modified Greek keys. I love it.

But perhaps your taste runs in a different direction. Say, fantasy like this amazing custom design by Brown and Harmon:


Or maybe you’d prefer something more like…


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