Zipper Tapestry from Sandy Stone's Fabric Remix

The talented and über-creative Sandy Stone combines sewing, upholstery, and collage in her work, which can be charming, funky, cheeky, and beautiful—all at the same time, on occasion. Sandy’s first book, Fabric Remix, celebrates her clever transformation of recycled and salvaged materials into 35 of the coolest functional things you’ve ever seen. A satchel made from old canvas signage? A bolster from an old wool coat? A tote made from vintage obis and belts? All in a day’s work for Sandy. If you’re lucky enough to be in the Minneapolis area, see her work at hunt & gather, and do make plans to visit her and have your book signed at The Creative Connection event in mid-September. Here’s a quick Q & A with Sandy:

In the introduction to Fabric Remix, you discuss how difficult it is to describe exactly what you do, which is basically transforming old objects into new using all sorts of different techniques. Did you have an “a-ha!” moment when the notion of repurposing materials resonated with you?

I don’t recall any epiphany. In the early days of working with furniture, I painted designs onto canvas to create my own upholstery fabric. The designs were very vintage 1950’s inspired, mostly geometric and minimalist, but I grew tired of the process and never liked my designs as much as the actual clothing, neckties and scarves that they sprang from. Using the items themselves seemed to be the natural next step. My first repurposing project involved many neckties, I believe. I love piecing small things together to “grow” my own textiles.

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An interview with Jade Sims: Love What You Do

August 24, 2010, 17:36 pm  Posted by Lark

So you probably know all about Craft Hope by now. In fact, you’ve probably already participated in some of its life-changing, hope-spreading, enthusiasm-generating projects by now. If you haven’t yet joined this creative movement, gentle reader, I encourage you to scoot yourself over to the Craft Hope site right now and then pick up a copy of Craft Hope: Handmade Crafts for a Cause right now (I know, shameless editorial plug), and then immerse yourself in this incredible community of people pouring their crafting energy into beautiful causes.

Part of what makes Craft Hope an amazing concept is its mind-bogglingly wonderful community of crafters. The other part of what makes Craft Hope so darn inspirational is its founder, Jade Sims: author of Craft Hope and coordinator of a collective devoted to making a difference in the lives of those in need. I was fortunate enough to work with Jade throughout the development of her book (which features the designs of abundantly talented artists paired with specific charities welcoming those handmade projects), and then I was even doubly tickled to meet and hang out with Jade in person when she stopped through Asheville on a whirlwind Craft Hope/family adventure this summer. Let me tell you: if you thought she was warm and personable and good-hearted on her blog, you should know that she’s even more delightful and real and down-to-earth in person. She and her family are awesome.

Jade and her three sweet kids

Jade and Beth

With that in mind, I wanted to invite Jade to share a bit about herself (in addition to all that she’s shared with us about Craft Hope) as we draw near the end of our Month of Hope. What follows is our little interview—thanks, Jade, for this engaging chat!

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The DeStash Diaries, Vol. 10 — (Re)Mix It Up

August 24, 2010, 13:41 pm  Posted by needlearts

I’m delighted to be featuring the work of the uniquely talented Sandy Stone in several entries this week as we celebrate the Sept. 7 release of her fabulous book, Fabric Remix. Sandy incorporates only repurposed materials in her inspiring and creative work, and she also uses simple, ordinary tools to do everything from make a vintage barkcloth bike seat to creating a shade from an abandoned trampoline. I’ve riffed off of Sandy’s aesthetic and creative philosophy in a couple of super-easy projects that make use of the things in my stash.

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The Mustache Craft Craze

August 24, 2010, 09:00 am  Posted by Lark

We’re all a little bit fixated on mustaches around here lately with the release of our new book Stache. We notice them on the staff at our local coffee haunts, spot them on a fellow driver in our morning commute, and even imagine them on the faces of people who, perhaps, could really rock the mustache look. It was with that affection for this mainstay of fashionable facial hair that I dove into Etsy‘s treasure trove to explore the trend of displaying stache wonders on everything from jewelry and dinnerware to wearable items and printed goods. It seems crafters the world over are embracing the craze. What is it about the lovely curl of a handlebar that we find so utterly endearing? What you see below are some of my personal favorites.

TOP ROW (left to right): pleasantly plump knits, the small object, plants and animals, ole rattlesnake

MIDDLE ROW (left to right): murs blanc, nea wear, kimay, idle hands designs

BOTTOM ROW (left to right): how nice, fuzzy grapefruit, bread and badger, the bold banana


Charmin’ Charms

August 24, 2010, 08:04 am  Posted by Lark

When I was a kid, my Aunt Madge always wore her charm bracelet. It was 3 strands deep and loaded with the most fascinating trinkets. I never tired of looking at it, trying to find my favorite ones. The memory of all those charms got me thinking about what those creatives at etsy might be making. Here are a few of my favorites charms I found there.1. BristolSilversmiths 2. andyshouse 3. sixxjewelry 4. staciejewelry

5. JanPalomboDesign 6. cloudninejewelry 7. jewelsvine 8. DivineByDeidre


Fresh Flickr Finds: Craft Hope

August 23, 2010, 16:35 pm  Posted by needlearts

Stitch InspirationThe craft community has been buzzing with creative energy, busy bringing life to the Craft Hope projects and comfort to those in need worldwide. Check out these beautiful Craft Hope contributions shared by needleartists on Flickr. From Michigan to Mexico, from India to Haiti, the caring spirits of these crafters are touching lives with no signs of stopping. Share your own labors of love – you’ll inspire others and help the movement grow!

Craft Hope contributions on Flickr

Craft Hope contributions on Flickr (Click the links below to see more work from each of these Craft Hope givers.)

1. ch pillowcases, 2. Monos de calcetines para Craft Hope, 3. Colors, 4. Dolls4Orphans, 5. project 6, 6. Craft Hope 3, 7. Pocket Tissue Holder, 8. Little girls apron, 9. Craft hope – number set, 10. craft hope project quilt, 11. Buddies, 12. Craft Hope Baby Booties, 13. IMG_1069, 14. DSC02637, 15. Fire Engine Pillow Case, 16. orange dress detail


I’ll cut to the chase on this one: it’s the best giveaway we’ve ever done! We’re including all nine of the releases in Lark’s incredible, glowingly reviewed 500 Jewelry series … plus Brilliance: Masterpieces from the American Jewelry Design Council. All of these books were edited by the Divine Miss M (Marthe, that is, Le Van). It’s a jaw-dropping, gorgeous, brilliant collection, sure to be the centerpiece of any personal library.

How to enter to win the bundle? Leave a comment on this post. As always, any post will do, but I’d love it if you’d write about your favorite piece of jewelry and what it means to you. By the way, I so appreciate the fine quality of commenting and conversation you all are contributing to the Lark Jewelry & Beading blog feed: thank you.

To be entered for a chance to win these 10 great books, leave a comment on this post by 9 p.m EST on Monday, August 30. The 30th happens to be my birthday, so it will be a special pleasure to conclude our giveaway on that day! One winner will be selected at random and announced on Thursday, September 2. Click here for the official rules. Good luck and here’s a bit of good news, another present for us all: more books in this beautiful series are on their way from the Divine Miss M.

And my apologies to all graphic designers and readers out there: I have been unable to fix the ridiculous layout of this post!


Check Out the Etsy Beadweavers

August 20, 2010, 17:30 pm  Posted by Lark

By now, most crafters know all about buying and selling on Etsy. But did you know that this website also hosts groups for sellers with like-minded interests? Check out the blog for Etsy Beadweavers; it devotes itself to the creations of an international community of beaders who market their work on Etsy. At the time of this writing, there are 230 members, with 80 active bloggers. You can find all sorts of fascinating interviews with beaders, beading patterns designed by members, info about exhibitions they’re participating in, and the whereabouts of classes they teach.

The winning entry for July, 2010's Gold and Silver Etsy Beadweavers challenge, by Isabella of Bead4me

And—how fun!—for the last 2 years, the group has held a monthly contest, each with a different theme. The very first one had competitors making beadwork on the topic of Hot August Nights (still appropriate 24 months later, huh?). The challenge for this month was Gold and Silver, and the victor was Isabella of Bead4me; her ravishing winning entry appears at right.

Want to join the party? September’s mission is to channel your inner Bollywood. Hurry! You only have until September 5 to enter. (In order to participate, you’ll also have to apply to become a member of the Etsy BeadWeaver’s Street Team.) Even if you don’t contribute a project to the challenge or if you’re not a member of the group, you can always check out the entries between September 9 and 15 and vote for your favorite. I’ll post a reminder.

Can’t wait to see what the Etsy Beadweavers come up with!


Natural Way Books & Handmade Soap Giveaway Winner!

August 20, 2010, 09:30 am  Posted by Lark

We’re pleased to announce the winner of our giveaway for a copy of Soapmaking the Natural Way, Candlemaking the Natural Way, a lovely little bar of handmade lavender soap crafted by the Craft Your Life team, and a deliciously fragrant bag of lavender buds. Kristi Schueler, the person behind the fabulous blog Fiber Fool, is our lucky winner, and I’m tickled to see that she’s not only a talented knitter but also a skilled baker and canner. Our thanks to everyone who left comments!

Keep coming back to the blog for more fun giveaways in the future.


Free Project(s) Friday: Knit, Wrap, Repeat!

August 20, 2010, 09:19 am  Posted by Lark

What’s better than Free Project Friday, you ask? How about twice the free projecty goodness?  Or a sneaky peek from a book that hasn’t hit shelves yet?  Or both?!? Here are two free knitting projects (and some info about their designers) from our upcoming book Knit & Wrap.

Ribbed lace? Yes, please! You’ll find it in soft, subtle Snugg, designed by the Diana “The Craftaholic” Gonzalez. Diana knits, crochets, blogs, plays with paper, and chases after her daughter in the wonderful city of Brooklyn, New York. She runs a craft group called The NYC Craft Circle, and has her work on Etsy. Besides the couture knitwear and accessories she sells at Sweet Buddha Knits, you can find her carved stamps and unique paper goods at www.sweetbuddha.etsy.com. The popular blog Confessions of a Craftaholic is also her handiwork.

Throw caution to the wind with Reckless, designed by Esther Myong Chung. An indie designer in Columbus, Ohio, Esther has sewn and knitted since grade school and graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA focus in Fashion. As a student, she received a Marshall Field’s Emmanuel Ungaro Scholarship in 2002 and won the Styles Scotland Fashion design competition 2003. One summer she interned with New York designer Gary Graham, who is also an independent designer, and decided she wanted to follow the same path. Esther prefers to design for the fall and winter and combines historical- and nature-inspired themes into a clean, modern style with comfort in mind. She takes custom orders regularly and has international customers as well as local ones. She also teaches several fashion classes at the Columbus College of Art and Design.