Friday, January 21News That Matters

Tag: Handicrafts

‘In This House’ Yard Signs, and Their Curious Power

LifeStyle
Political yard signs are no longer just election-season events. Conservative counties are rife with signs expressing support for Trump, though he holds no office and is not currently running for anything. And the “In This House” sign has spawned many flattering imitations and absurdist parodies. There are versions for neoliberals, YIMBYs, conservatives, conspiracists, fans of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and people irked by the triteness of the original sign. In 2017, Garvey’s poster was acquired for the archives of the National Woman’s Party — an organization which had, a century earlier, led the most militant fringe of the American suffrage movement. It’s a remarkable outcome for an artifact born from such a humble tradition: mom-related décor.If you have visited a beach town b...

A Giant Violin Floats Down Venice’s Grand Canal

Travel
VENICE — In its 1,600-odd years, any number of phantasmagorical vessels have floated down Venice’s Grand Canal, often during regattas or elaborate ceremonies dedicated to the sea. On Saturday morning, a decidedly unusual head-turner took a spin: a gigantic violin, carrying a string quartet playing Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.”The craft, called “Noah’s Violin,” set sail accompanied by an escort of gondolas, and in no time a small flotilla of motorboats, water taxis and traditional flat-bottomed Venetian sandoli joined the violin as it glided from city hall, near the Rialto Bridge, to the ancient Customs House across from Piazza San Marco, about an hour’s ride.The vessel is a faithful, large-scale replica of a real violin, made from about a dozen different kinds of wood, with nuts and bolts insi...
My Pandemic Hobby? Making Money.

My Pandemic Hobby? Making Money.

LifeStyle
Jenny Eisler learned to knit in the first grade, and was good at it. She also did time as a Girl Scout, which imbued her with an admirable can-do spirit.Consequently, when New York City locked down last spring to stem the spread of the coronavirus, and Ms. Eisler, 25, was stuck in her studio apartment in NoLIta without much to do, she impulsively ordered some embroidery hoops, needles and thread on Amazon, correctly betting that a creditable chain stitch was but a few YouTube tutorials away.“The first thing I embroidered was the word ‘quarantine’ in green thread on my gray hoodie,” said Ms. Eisler, who works at an online fashion retailer. “I embroidered all my clothes,” she continued. “And then when I ran out of my own stuff to embroider I started embroidering things for my sister.”Ms. Eis...
An Artisan Well Versed in the Tradition of Japanese Brush Making

An Artisan Well Versed in the Tradition of Japanese Brush Making

Travel
When I travel to the city of Kyoto, less than an hour’s train ride from Nara-machi, to visit the flagship store of the Hiroshima-based brush company Hakuhodo, I’m drawn into the world of exquisite beauty brushes. The store is a modern white box, with glowing display cases and a skylight reminiscent of a James Turrell installation, in contrast to the staid Ippodo tearoom across the street. In Kyoto, brush making has all but disappeared — the remaining three fude shokunin are too few to merit dento kogei designation — but the city is known for its traditional arts and high culture.Hakuhodo uses the word “fude” liberally to describe its hundreds of makeup applicators, which look like highly specialized versions of cosmetics brushes sold in department stores around the world. They are priced a...
Outdoor Science Activities

Outdoor Science Activities

Technology
If you like looking at trees, and bark, and the pattern of veins in leaves; if you are fascinated by clouds or the spots on a ladybug’s back; if you like to split open rocks and see what’s inside, then you are already an outdoor scientist. The best part is you don’t need any special or fancy equipment, you don’t need to remember a charger, you just need your eyes and the power of observation.Are there one or two sets of paw prints in the snow? Three or four kinds of birds having a conversation in a grove? What kinds of plants are strong enough to push their way through the cracks in the sidewalk? You may not always find the answer, but these are the questions an outdoor scientist asks about the world. As summer approaches, here are five projects and experiments to lead you on your scientif...
Pinwheel Activity

Pinwheel Activity

LifeStyle
You don’t need to be an expert with a pastry bag to decorate a cake. Make these simple paper pinwheels using the newspaper you’re holding, and poke them into the top of your cake or cupcakes. Newsprint is the perfect lightweight paper to catch a breeze at your outdoor celebration and create some whirly magic. Pinwheels double as entertainment and favors for kids — and grown-ups — as they run through the party with outstretched arms. This project is not for children under 3 because of small parts, and be sure to remove the pinwheel and all its parts before consuming the food it decorates.1. Start with a square of paper.2. Fold in half diagonally and crease well. Open and fold the opposite side in half diagonally and do the same.3. Open the folded paper and cut about two-thirds of the way in...
Terrariums Are One Thing You Can Control

Terrariums Are One Thing You Can Control

LifeStyle
Dan Jones is creating a rainforest in his apartment in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.Though there are more than a dozen plants of varying texture, scale, appearance and color, the rainforest is neatly nested within a 15-liter glass jar.Since September 2019, Mr. Jones, a digital public relations professional, has constructed terrariums and chronicled them on his blog, Terrarium Tribe, as a way to exercise his green thumb in a small space. When the pandemic began, the hobby became a way to fill his time at home.Terrariums are appealing because they “lie at the intersection of gardening, arts, craft and science,” Mr. Jones, 31, said. “They are literally living art.”While Mr. Jones is now able to fashion a thriving terrarium, his journey has consisted of much trial and error and more than one p...
Plant Wrapper Activity

Plant Wrapper Activity

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If you were a school-age kid in the 1980s, there’s a good chance you spent countless hours in the back of class perfecting chains of gum wrappers that once graced all of the Fruit Stripes (and other brands) you had chewed your way through.Kirsten Frits, a reader from Seattle, Wash., suggested revisiting those elementary school skills by using colorful newspaper pages to make oversized chains that can jazz up any potted plant.By tweaking the traditional way of folding gum wrapper chains, you create a less bulky version that fits nicely around a pot. To get the full childhood experience, you might even try chewing a stick of gum while doing your folding.Step 1Cut off the bottom four inches of your newspaper.Step 2Cut the remaining page into thirds. Each section should be 4 x 18 inches. Repea...
Newspaper Pop-up Card

Newspaper Pop-up Card

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Coax your newspaper into three-dimensional flowers to make a sweet springy pop-up card for a special someone: mother, aunt, grandma, sister, friend, anyone! Once you learn this surprisingly simple technique for making cupped flowers, you can layer or tape them side-by-side to make different styles. Cut almond shapes and thin strips of newspaper for leaves and stems.You’ll fold a square of paper to cut all the petals at once, similar to how you make a paper snowflake, then use a technique similar to sewing a dart to create the flower heads. An important trick: Use very tiny pieces of double-sided tape to stick the flowers to each other and the card to allow them to “bloom” when you open it.1. Fold the largest square in half and then in half again. Fold in half yet again, diagonally.2. Use s...
Weave a Rag Rug

Weave a Rag Rug

LifeStyle
After more than a year spent at home and with spring in full swing, you may be feeling the urge to brighten your space with a little redecorating. Enter rag rugs, floor covers made from scrap fabrics, which are an easy, low-budget craft that can cheer up any room using materials you probably already have at home. They have the added benefit of upcycling old textiles that may otherwise end up in landfills. These rugs are usually made with leftover or worn-out scraps of fabric, which are crocheted, braided or woven together. The crocheting and braiding methods require some technical knowledge (like the ability to crochet or sew), but you can easily learn to weave a rag rug with no prior experience. By creating a basic loom out of a large piece of cardboard and using strips of old bedsheets o...