Crafty Manolo


Absolutely Wizard!

November 23rd, 2012
By Twistie

No, someone didn’t tear up early editions of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to make clutch purses. Nor did she tear up early editions of The Tale of Pigling Bland, Lolita, The Phantom of the Opera, nor various editions of Alices Adventures in Wonderland. And thank goodness for that!

Instead, the cover art is printed on cotton fabric and the corners bound with metal to protect the purse and finish the look.

Each purse is handmade by Jessica Bermudez Bautista (known on Etsty as psBesitos) in Sienna, Italy, and runs 50 euros. That’s roughly $66.17, USD, plus shipping.

Oh, and if you don’t want it as a clutch, you can purchase the separate chain and have it attached.



Happy Thanksgiving From Crafty Manolo!

November 22nd, 2012
By Twistie

May you gobble up as much delicious stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie, etc. as you please today. Oh, and if you like the rather festive needlepoint canvas shown above, head on over to Past Times Needlepoint and purchase it along with custom chosen embroidery threads.

Or, you know, find one that appeals more to you personally.

But I gotta say, I’m loving that turkey.



Last Minute But Lovely

November 21st, 2012
By Twistie

Last night our Thanksgiving plans fell through.

Usually we go have dinner with a good friend. She cooks the turkey and the stuffing and the gravy. I make the rest of the meal. After Thanksgiving dinner, Mr. Twistie goes home and I spend the weekend with our friend hanging out, doing media marathons, and stuffing ourselves silly with leftover Thanksgiving goodies.

Today, I’m scrambling to come up with a turkey dish and clean up the table for a formal dinner for two. I don’t have a lot of time to make things pretty… but there are some easy things I can do. If you’re scrambling at the last minute to make your table pretty for the holiday, whether it’s because plans changed or you didn’t happen to come up with something yet, then I suggest you hie yourself over to Casa Sugar for a couple great and ridiculously simple ideas based on things you probably already have in your kitchen.

Tomorrow, I’ll come up with a long list of things to be thankful for… but today, I’m thankful for Casa Sugar’s great last-minute ideas!



Picture Imperfect

November 20th, 2012
By Twistie

Okay, I don’t know what’s been up with WordPress the last few days. First it wouldn’t let me log into the blogs for days, and then when I finally manage to get back… I discover it didn’t publish this article when I hit the publish button.

So at long last, here’s friday’s article, with my apologies.

Last week on Project Runway All Stars: Designers learn ‘aerosol art’ techniques which they must use on fabric to create a piece of wearable art. Laura honks off everyone in the room with her judgmental attitude and general humorlessness. Andrae, for once, isn’t in the bottom three, much to his relief. Emilio wins with a rather fabulous suit with a huge collar, while Suede is sent packing for covering his dress in spray-painted polka dots. Who will win this week? Tune in to find out!

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Austin Mines His Own Reality

November 15th, 2012
By Twistie

Regular readers of this space may remember this look by Austin Scarlett shown in his finale collection for Project Runway All Stars season one:

I went on record at the time as believing this fabulous wedding gown would sell very well if it went into production.

Well, it seems that Austin agreed with me, because I was scanning an article at Brides.com about the best looks in Scarlett’s 2013 bridal collection, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but this:

That’s right! It’s a slight re-working of the same gown, and Brides agrees with me that it’s a winner.

Can I call ‘em or what?



Quickie Question: Crossing Gender Lines?

November 14th, 2012
By Twistie

(Illustration via Tatman’s Chatline)

It took me three Google searches to find an illustration of a man doing a craft more commonly considered a ‘girly’ thing who wasn’t either a) a professional in ‘colorful’ ethnic dress, or b) a woodcut illustration from well before photography was invented.

And yet, I know men who do these things. I have a brother who sews, does needle felting, spins, and embroiders. He also paints miniature figures (mostly of American Civil War soldiers), builds models, makes chainmail, and, well, let’s just say he’s the craftiest member of the Twistie family. Leaves me in the dust. If it can be done by hand, dollars to donuts he at least has a general idea of how it’s done and chances are good he can point to at least one example he’s made himself.

I’ve attended lacemaking conventions where a small but significant number of the attendees were men and boys delighted to get a chance to work with real teachers and other lacers, just as I was. Rosy Grier was almost as well known for his needlepoint as he was for his football playing.

And it’s not just men, either. There are women out there expressing themselves in media more commonly associated with men. Women sculpt, create metal art, build furniture… all kinds of things that aren’t done with fiddly needles and thread.

All the same, I will never forget one adolescent lad who showed up at a lacemaking demo I did years ago. He watched with clear – but embarrassed – fascination for a long time. When I encouraged him to try out the beginner’s pillow, he looked as though he might run away. In the end, though, he sat down and allowed me to talk him through a couple rows. He picked up the concept quickly, and got a big smile on his face.

And yet, when I asked him if he wanted some materials on where to find equipment, thread, and further instruction, he shook his head and looked horrified. His mother came over to my demo partner and quietly asked her for the information. While we were talking to her, the boy started stitching again. If one of us looked in his direction, he would go rigid… but if we looked away again, he went right back to work. After he left, I looked at the pillow and saw he’d done at least a dozen rows with nary a mistake.

I never saw him again, but I’ve always hoped he found the courage to keep lacing. He clearly had the desire and the ability. All he needed was someone to find a way to convince him it was all right for him to do it despite being male.

So I’m wondering today, do you do a craft more commonly associated with the opposite gender? Know someone who does? Have you ever wanted to try a craft but feared how people might react?

Tell me all about it.

(ETA: This was supposed to go up yesterday, and I don’t know why it didn’t publish when I hit the publish button. Sorry.)



Happy Birthday, Rodin!

November 12th, 2012
By Twistie

Today marks the one hundred seventy-second birthday of Auguste Rodin, the great sculptor. In his honor, I thought it might be fun to see some of the unusual and crafty ways his most famous sculpture, The Thinker, has been interpreted over the years.

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Cloche To You

November 10th, 2012
By Twistie

Well, it’s finally starting to feel like autumn around my neck of the woods, and some parts of the country have really been feeling the chill… and the damp… and the… let’s just say there are some places where I imagine bundling up is not merely a good idea right now, but an absolute necessity.

Of course, colder weather always makes me think of really great hats. Okay, I admit I think about them a lot all year round and in every kind of weather, but cold weather hats have a special place in my heart. And that adorable felted cloche with the buttons up top? Is seriously on my holiday wish list!

It’s the work of one Julie Sindon, who makes fabulous felted hats for a living. This one is just $55.00, which makes it an affordable number as well as attractive.

Oh, and right now she’s a featured artist on Poppytalk, where you can get a variety of her lovely hats and scarves.

Of her felting, Julie has this to say:

All hats are made of boiled wool, which means that they are knit large, and then felted (or shrunk).  It’s just like when you accidentally shrink your wool sweater in the washing machine, except that we do it on purpose.

Gotta love that.



Spray It, Don’t Say It

November 9th, 2012
By Twistie

Last week on Project Runway: Designers who were born mostly in the eighties and nineties are asked to make seventies discowear – only tasteful and modern – to go with Nine West’s terrifying new disco shoe line. Wendy Pepper believes she has an edge because she’s old enough to remember disco the first time around… but gets auffed for making a punk hooker Halloween costume. Uli makes something that bears no resemblance to disco, either, but wins in a truly baffling turn of events. Kayne creates the only thing on the runway that looks like it might have poked its head through the doors of Studio 54 and nearly gets auffed for coming up with something entirely too modern. I’m still trying to figure out last week’s judging and here we are again.

What will happen this week?

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Got Subversion?

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.








Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik

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