Crafty Manolo

Nothing Mere About It

October 24th, 2012
By Twistie

I have a longstanding love of meerkats. They’re so darn adorable. I love how they stand and act as sentries for the community.

Of course I’m not in favor of having wild animals as pets, except for sloths. Apparently the biggest hassle of having them as pets is remembering to take them out every few days and hose them off so they can take care of their bodily functions. What? I read an article in National Geographic many years ago. It seems that sloths are quite friendly creatures.

But meerkats? Yeah, not gonna happen. And my neighborhood probably isn’t zoned for sloths, dagnabbit.

But I could order one of these deliciously detailed needlefelted meerkats from Etsy artist Daria Lvovsky for just $62.00 plus shipping from Isreal.

It’s even on a wired skeleton, so it can be posed in different ways.

Not big on meerkats? That’s okay. Lvovsky also does a wide variety of creatures and fairy tale figures to brighten your home and delight the eye. Now, do I want a koala or a vulture first….

Quickie Question: Best Part of the Craft?

October 23rd, 2012
By Twistie

(Nothing really to do with the question at hand, but I fell in love with this knitted werewolf costume over at The Making Spot Blog and wanted to share.)

When it comes to crafting your life, there are many parts to the process, and each of us likes one better than another.

For some it’s coming up with the idea, planning it out. For another, it’s the actual process of creation, when you’re seeing whether your ideas work as originally planned or whether they must be reworked in some way. For many, it’s that satisfying bit when the work is finished and you can admire the fruits of your labor. For yet others, it’s seeing the look on someone’s face when the finished piece is gifted to them, or simply set out to be admired.

I love planning and I love seeing the finished pieces, naturally. But for me, the best bit is the actual work. It’s sitting there with my pillow tossing bobbins or with my felting needle stabbing away at the roving until it begins to resemble a flower or a scroll or a robot, for that matter. I’m utterly in love with the processes by which I create. In fact, if I don’t enjoy the process, I find that no amount of adoration for finished pieces will make me start the work. That’s why while I adore fabric and can see all kinds of lovely clothes in my head, I’ll never make them by sewing, I just don’t happen to enjoy the process enough to keep me going.

What about you? Are you the one who plots and plans for fun? Are you a process groupie like me? Is it all about the moment when you know you’re finished?

What’s the best part of crafting for you?

For a Ghastly Good Time

October 22nd, 2012
By Twistie

There’s still just over a week to go before Halloween, so there’s just time to create a zombie grave or two to set the mood. So get out your crochet hooks and head over to visit Croshame because that’s where you’ll find this awesome free pattern to bump some gooses in your own home.

Of course, I tend to think of it as Buffy’s grave.

Then again, that leads to the badness of seasons six and seven… and that really does give me the wig!

And the Winner Is…

October 19th, 2012
By Twistie

Tim Gunn!

Actually, no, it isn’t, but a girl can dream. In a perfect world, Tim would win pretty much everything, so there. And what he doesn’t win, Eddie Izzard can.


Read on to see what I thought about every little thing that happened last night.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’d Live in it, If it Weren’t Made of Legos

October 18th, 2012
By Twistie

Have you ever checked out Mike Doyle’s Snap? It’s the blog of Lego artist Mike Doyle in which he shares his amazing creations with us all.

Recently, he’s done a series of crumbling Victorian houses, again all in Legos. Learn all about how he created this haunted house on a mudpile in these two entries.

I don’t know about you, but I am not worthy.

But Are They All Really That Bad?

October 17th, 2012
By Twistie

Okay. I get it. I get how this torchiere lamp made of melted Lego blocks made Buzzfeed’s list of Twenty-nine Terrible Craft Ideas. The idea wasn’t a good one to begin with and the results do not offer any hope that it could turn out to be more brilliant than you might imagine.

This was a bad idea… as are the tampon heart earrings (dipped in red dye at the bottom, no less!), the studded back pockets on a pair of innocent jeans, and the painting of spermatozoa down the leg of another innocent (well, perhaps slightly debauched) pair of jeans. As for the unicorn bicycle, yeah, that’s nothing but an invitation to a butt-whumping for the hapless child who rides it. That does make it a monumentally bad idea.

On all of those, Buzzfeed, you win.

On the other hand, can one really call posing a guinea pig in a piece of foil with a pat of butter on its back a craft? Or is it merely a joke? And while the toilet paper earrings (beaded earrings in the shape of rolls of toilet paper, not toilet paper made into earrings, incidentally) may not be in the best of taste… I do find them cheekily amusing. They are certainly nicely made.

And then there are the flashes of brilliance. The playing card corset is just plain amazing. Practical? Not for long term wear, certainly, but holy wow is it gorgeous! And the sock monkey chair? Want!

I do also have to wonder what the provenance of the Louis Vuitton print assault rifle and the sperm jeans are. There’s no word on that. Bad ideas, certainly. But are they real craft projects or Photoshop jokes?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Love Is: Security

October 16th, 2012
By Twistie

I grew up reading the adventures of Linus VanPelt and his friends in Peanuts. Actually, I lived in the same town Peanuts creator Charles Schulz lived in, visited his ice rink, and eventually grew up to sell him books at two different bookstores conveniently located close to said ice rink.

But that part is neither here nor there.

What is here and now and the whole point of this blog entry is Project Linus.

Some of you may have already heard of this wonderful organization, others not. But I urge you all to check out their website and get involved.

You see, Project Linus does just what one might expect: provide security blankets to children. The children range in age from infants to teens, and the reasons range from illness to disaster victims to homelessness and abuse. This is about helping children in crisis with something that tells them someone cares and wishes them well.

The project will only accept blankets made by hand from smoke-free environments and free of strongly scented detergents. They must also be free of easily swallowed (and thus choked upon) decorations such as buttons. But from there, it’s a free for all. Pick your size, your materials, your techniques, and do your best work.

If you are not in a position to make a blanket, the project will also happily accept donations of money and materials, too. And if you know a child in need, the website will direct you to the chapter to contact for help.

We all need a little security in life. Children facing chemotherapy or recovering from abuse need it even more.

The Value of the Unfinished

October 15th, 2012
By Twistie

This is how many of us view unfinished works. We cringe when we think of the quilt squares that never got sewn together, the embroidery that we lost interest in halfway through, the bit of knitting that never seemed to go anywhere, and the piece of furniture that we abandoned because it just didn’t look like it was going to come out comfortable.

So we hide them away in corners. Sometimes we believe that we will finish them, other times we just aren’t quite sure how to get rid of them, along with all the bits and pieces we picked up thinking we could use them in our crafts, but never found the right project.

Mr. Twistie is, as I believe I’ve mentioned several times before, a musician. He’s also a composer. He has a huge file of songs he’s abandoned over the years in a filing cabinet. They weren’t getting anywhere, he couldn’t make them say what he wanted them to say, the tune and the lyrics never quite gelled together, his songwriting partner hated them, the issue became moot, two phrases and a snippet of a tune never quite turned into anything more… the reasons they languish in his cabinet are myriad.

And yet, every once in a while, he starts going through that cabinet and pulling out bits of unfinished songs and suddenly magic happens.

A phrase here and a stanza there suddenly make sense together. The lyrics from this and the tune from that bring new life to one another. A long lost point gets made, and a new song is born from the ashes of half a dozen old ones that just didn’t make the grade.

Sometimes it really is a good idea to hang onto all those half-finished potential disasters. Sometimes when you look at them again later on alongside some other unlikely stuff, art is born.

Three For All

October 12th, 2012
By Twistie

Last week on Project Runway: Designers create avant-garde outfits based on make up collections. Nearly everyone does something that’s half good, half bad except for Sonjia who chooses this moment to attack her model with Irish wedding table linens and is sent home. Four are designing for Fashion Week. What will happen this week?

Read the rest of this entry »

Easy as Pumpkin Pie!

October 11th, 2012
By Twistie

I love a good low-budget, high-impact crafts project. If it’s also ridiculously easy and fun to do, well, that’s my idea of gravy!

Krafty Kat came up with just such a simple, inexpensive, hyper-adorable idea recently. I’m not quite sure how I missed this charming wreath of yarn pumpkins, but I’m seriously considering making one myself, now… and I’m not a wreath person!

Oh, and if the bright orange is too cheerful or gaudy for your taste and you’re still looking for a Halloween theme wreath, check out her instructions for this Black Crow wreath made of a wire coat hanger and garbage bags.

Very crafty, Kat.

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik

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