Rebekah Greiman of Potholes and Pantyhose is all kinds of fun. Her website is a neverending collage of witty images, random bursts of energy, and pretty clever crafty projects.
Like these super sparkly snowflakes, which look like a cross between Sputnik and some dangerous weapon from either 1350 or 3350. One or the other.
This year, I vowed to only make or buy handmade holiday gifts for my friends and family, and I've kept to it so far. But wrapping these gifts in commercial paper didn't seem to make much sense, so I wanted to create some handmade gift wrap to match. I happen to think a gift wrapped in newsprint is actually quite attractive, and love the look of text on a package, but wanted to put in a little more effort. So I came up with a cool option that's clean, masculine, and maintains the typographic look of the newsprint. Plus, it eliminates the need for any "to:/from" tags, as the recipient's name is right there in tasteful type.
Once I figured it out, it was actually quite easy and quick - less than ten minutes per gift. The unbleached brown craft paper is only $1.25 per roll, and the book pages came from 25¢ war novel at the secondhand shop. To me, this beats the pants off of any mass-produced "Ho Ho Ho" paper in both price and style.
Here's how to do it:
It's always very obvious when it's December in my house. I simply can't help but add a little bit of holiday cheer to each room.
But, there's not an inch of greenery, nor Santa Clauses, reindeer, or snowman. My home is really pretty modern, and the traditional Christmas vibe just doesn't match my stuff. So, I have an aluminum Christmas tree and metallic stockings, and to balance all that synthetic industrial-ness, I like to add plenty of handmade elements.
This year, in additional to my infamous paper snowflakes, I wanted more paper decorations that brought in a bit of color. So, I came with two easy how-tos: some mid-century inspiration paper ornaments, and a mod paper garland.
French design collective Paper Donut created "A Curious Breakfast" for a contest sponsored by Arjowiggins, which the paper company hosted to demonstrate the amazing things that can be done with their products.
Sliceforms are "are geometric models constructed from interlocking sets of planar pieces," basically a 3D model made of flat pieces, creating a grid. Mathematically-minded folks, of course, can create super complex structures with the technique, but it can be scaled down to make simpler structures, like this 3D Christmas tree.
As the cold season inches even closer, we're moving straight through jacket weather into heavy-duty winter wear. We happen to think that a scarf is an essential piece of gear for the dashing guy in winter, and love them even more when they're handmade.
A scarf is often a first project for beginning knitters or crocheters, and understandably so - it's straight, repetitive, and inherently practical.
So, here's a list of our favorite knittable scarves that'll suit the modern man, all of which come with free patterns:
Only the most virile of haters would be opposed to adding a little seasonal festiveness to your Thanksgiving table. It's just that most of us with tastes that lean towards contemporary have a hard time finding cool, modern-looking Thanksgiving decor items. Even the master crafters at Etsy haven't really been able to translate the aesthetic...Most of its harvest-y, country, or just straight dated.
So, this cool collection of modern, free printables from Hostess blog is a breath of fresh air. Yep, the orange and brown still abound, but do so in geometric stripes and dots. Includes: place cards, buffet labels, drink tags, dessert toppers, napkin rings, and bottle labels.
When repurposing old clothing in craft and DIY projects, it's easy to separate the wide pieces of pure fabric for creative fodder. But then, your often stuck with the rest: collars, lapels, buttons, cuffs, waistbands, etc.
Except, if you cut things just so, these "extras" can often be exactly what you need for some seriously clever reuse. Like this shirt cuff wallet: it's exactly the right size, and all the seams are already set. All you need to do is just add the pockets.
Illustrator, author, and artist Robert Sabuda provides these free, downloadable pop-up card templates and how-tos that'd be great for the upcoming holiday season. We especially like the new pirate ship design and all sorts of Star Wars models, including R2-D2 and a totally excellent Millennium Falcon.
We also love the "Pop-Up Basics" that show you how to create your own, custom designs.
We've seen our fair share of knitted anatomy before, but none so ambitious or well executed as Transcending the Material by Ben Cuevas. "The installation piece Ben Cuevas chose to showcase at The Wassaic Project features a knitted skeleton seated atop a pyramid of Borden’s condensed milk cans and a cloud of screen prints on Plexi glass suspended above it. The knitted skeleton is seated in the lotus position. The prints are of disembodied anatomical parts photographed in high resolution with diagrammatic illustrative overlays. Ben conceives of the piece as a reference to material culture and Wassaic’s local history (The Borden Company had a condensed milk factory in Wassaic) and a meditation on transcendence."
All of which is very, very cool, but that knitted skeleton, oh, that knitted skeleton.
You know that spindle-y, cotton-y, faux spider web material they sell in the plastic bags?
I hate that stuff. First, it's gross and creepy; as in, not a cool, eerie Halloween way, but in a octogenarian's chin hair kinda way. And, it's nearly always misused to create a melty cotton ball look that looks nothing like an actual spider web.
But, this process it pretty intriguing. A special balloon-strengthening product called HI-FLOAT is allowed to dry inside an inflated then deflated ballon, and upon re-inflation, produces a string-y, bizarre, somewhat similar to an spider web looking thing, which, when combined with a few plastic creepy crawlers, looks pretty awesome.
I got The Amazing Apple Book as a gift for the Christmas of '92, and I adored each of its pages. I learned about how there's no way the fruit from Adam and Eve was an apple, and all sorts of culinary applications. But my favorite project included carving a face in a fresh, ripe apple and leaving it out to dry and shrivel into a little fruit flavored shrunken face...though my parents always made me store mine in the basement, and they usually caught a coat of mold.
Origin: The London Craft Fair recently displayed these crazy awesome felted hairy animal hats, made from Sussex wool and alpaca fleece. They're simultaneously scarily lifelike and functionally impossible, making them all around fun.
They're each handmade by Barbara Keal, who "loves felting because it it such an immediate and physical way of making, it is also very environmentally clean. The wool hasn't travelled far and warm water and olive oil soap are the only other ingredients apart from my own energy."
She was inspired by the "wild and motley looking crew of herdwicks, hebredians and others kept to maintain the downland
You know those moments when you just look at an object, and you think, "oh my gosh! That totally looks like a _________." It could be something you've never seen before, the form of which immediately stands out to you. Or, it could be something you've seen and used all your life.
Lindsey had one of those moments with a standard one-gallon milk carton. The realization? Stormtrooper helmet. Of course!
I'll admit it - it never occurred to me to source or make vintage arrows as a home decor accent piece, but why not? They're fun, colorful, and masculine-ish/tongue-in-cheek enough to totally make sense in lots of spaces.
Mom Danielle created these bold arrows while making over her sons' rooms. The shafts are made from dowel rods, and covered in patterned washi tape, fabric scraps, and acrylic tape. And note the erasers as arrow heads - would work quite well with the office supply crossbow, no?
Scott took a walk in the woods near his home - a very famous woodland that happens to have been featured in films like The Princess Bride, Harry Potter, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - and came back with an armload of twigs. Some wire and a biscuit tin later, and he's created this rustic twig bowl, perfect for the fall.
The gathering ranges from collectables to hygiene products to vintage-inspired new handmade pieces. And we gotta say - we like it. Like it a lot.
The true DIY and craftsters don't just use all the cool toys and materials - they want to know how they work.
So, bone up on your sewing machine saavy - sure, everyone knows that there are two sources of thread, but peep the above animation to see exactly how the two become tangled.