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Inspiration Gallery: Gifts From Your Kitchen

Thursday, November 29th, 2012
By Twistie

With the holidays coming up quickly and belts everywhere tightening, it can be hard to come up with great gifts for friends and family… that is, unless you’re a fellow crafty person! Just a few basic ingredients and a little time and effort will produce delicious gifts nearly everyone on your list will love.

For instance, see that elegant cruet of rosemary infused olive oil? If you have a rosemary bush nearby, bottles with firm stoppers or caps, a stove and some olive oil, you’ve got a great gift for the foodie on your list. Just follow the simple instructions at Lulu’s Bites and delight your friends!

Oh, and don’t forget that you can use the same method with a lot of other herbs, too. Thyme? Or maybe even some chili peppers? And citrus zest is a winner, too.

But how about some things that are ready to eat rather than an ingredient for future cooking?


Cone On In

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
By Twistie

It’s that time of the year when people who wouldn’t put a wreath on their door at any other time… put one up. There’s something about the winter holidays that does that to people.

But of course the thing I like about it is that it’s easy to get creative and come up with something rather fabulous with a minimum of funding, time, and even effort.

For instance, that gorgeous pinecone wreath up there? Made with found pinecones, an oven,  a glue gun, some spray paint, and a ribbon fashioned out of burlap. Chances are that if you’re crafty, you’ve already got at least a couple of those things lying around your home. The rest? Won’t cost much and are easy to find.

To get the skinny on how to do it, head on over to Twigg Studios and simply follow the simple instructions. Start in the morning, and I’m betting it could be on your door or hanging over your mantelpiece either in the evening, or the following morning.

Oh, and keep in mind that the oven setting of 180C comes out to roughly 350F.

Happy Thanksgiving From Crafty Manolo!

Thursday, 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

Wednesday, 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!

For a Ghastly Good Time

Monday, 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!

Easy as Pumpkin Pie!

Thursday, 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.

Pumpkins Without Knives

Monday, October 8th, 2012
By Twistie

I love Halloween. I love jack o lanterns. Unfortunately, they’re kind of a mess to make what with the cutting and the disposing of the pumpkin guts and all of that. Plus I’ve never gotten very good at carving, so most of them turn out looking like that first one I did by myself when I was eight… which looks like most of the jack o lanterns down the block.

On the other hand, I always have a ready supply of odd, ends, and general detritus I figure will be useful for something someday, and plenty of imagination.

That’s why I love the inspiration  of this article at Better Homes and Gardens on using that random junk to decorate your pumpkins.

Upholstery tacks, keys, gears, washers, bits of chain and wire… whatever you can think of has the potential to make a unique statement on your porch this Halloween.

Check out the gallery, gather up your goodies, get a pumpkin, and go to town!

Pipe Nightmares

Thursday, October 4th, 2012
By Twistie

Many of us who like to create holiday (or other festive occasion, or just because) treats do our best to make them pretty, too. To that end, we may wind up piping decorative icing swirls or making shapes in meringue using the old standby of a pastry bag and specialized tip.

There are, sadly, times when this works out spectacularly badly. One of my favorite tales in this regard, because I’m a smutty-minded adolescent at heart, is this tragic tale of meringue mishap suffered by Cakeboule last winter.

In my experience, most meringue winds up featuring a similar point somewhere in the shape, so perhaps the key is placement rather than avoidance. You know, like these ghost cupcakes.


I Hope It’s What They Want for Christmas….

Monday, April 30th, 2012
By Twistie

… because most of the people I know are going to get something a lot like this:

Not this specifically. It’s the work of Etsy artist chicthrills, and it’s beyond fabulous. It reminds me of Raoul Dufy’s work.

Image via

My needle felting isn’t quite that advanced yet, and my style is coming out a little different. Then again, I’ve only been doing this for a couple months.

All the same, I’m going crafty for the holidays and I’m giving myself a lot of lead time. It’s only April and I’ve just gotten myself a bunch of inexpensive wool berets from Amazon in a variety of colors that I know will appeal to those around me. We’re by and large a hat-wearing bunch, and berets are popular in my circle. So with some pretty wool rovings, a couple sharp needles, a few budget hats, and some of my infamous creativity, well, my friends and family will find themselves getting custom headwear from me and Mr. Twistie.

The journey starts today with a brown beret and some rovings in gold, maroon, and red. This one will be for me and will feature autumn leaves. After all, I want to start with something fairly simple that’s for me. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll get some good pointers for doing better with the next one. If it goes well, then I’ve got a new hat for my collection and a boost to my confidence.

Wish me luck, gang! I may need it.

What To Do With Easter Now It’s Over

Thursday, April 12th, 2012
By Twistie

There’s a downside to most major holidays: the detritus.

And in the post-Easter haze, there are a lot of little plastic eggs that use to be filled with candy and tiny decorative items sitting around empty and forlorn. What the heck are you going to do with them all?

Well, if you’re smart and crafty, you might head over to Creativity in Progress and learn how to make these adorable teacups for your child’s playtime enjoyment.

Do you have a great idea for using up the leftovers from holidays? If so, feel free to share in comments!

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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