March 24, 2011, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark

We’re not quite into April yet, but Spring has officially sprung here in Asheville. The  landscape is punctuated with the blooms of cheerful daffodils and the brilliant yellow sprays of forsythia. Creeping phlox in vibrant shades of purple and pink cascade down the hillsides and redbuds dapple the forests. And this is just the beginning of the show. Dogwood flowers with their delicate blooms in pink and white aren’t far behind. Each year these trees and perennials have their 15 minutes of fame and then fade quietly into the background until their next stunning performance. Coming upon the heels of winter with most trees still bereft of leaves, I find the riot of color extra intense and oh so welcome. Some of our friends at Etsy also have spring blooms top of mind.

Top row (L to R): ayawedding, Bagitarian, HandandNom

Middle row (L to R): Mokkafiveoclock, ohlouisedesigns, PendantLicious

Bottom row (L to R): RedEnvelopeGifts, supplier, thehairofthedog


Resin in the Mix

March 23, 2011, 13:47 pm  Posted by Lark

Resin is an amazingly versatile element when used in jewelry making. It can be used as a clear varnish covering an image or collage. It can encapsulate an object. It can be colored. It can be used as an opaque filler. Sparkles, sand or other elements can be added to the filling. Its surface can vary from shiny to matte. Resin can be poured into a mold to create parts or a full piece. Overall, the jewelry tends to be a lot of fun and the translucent qualities of the medium are beautiful. Take a look at this gallery of work that demonstrates some of the different techniques used with resin in jewelry.

mosaic of resin jewelry1. ZeGique 2. ashleyweber 3. TopazTurtle 4. squarepaisleydesign 5. emmangemshop 6. MissBeDesigns
7. hempsteadhouse 8. RitzeeRebel 9. dianafrey 10. TheJewelryBailOut 11. foundling 12. Resign
13. annemadedesigns 14. BuyMyCrap 15. RubyStarburst 16. squarepaisleydesign


Sundae, Sundae, Sundae!

March 22, 2011, 11:55 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

Did you see the free downloadable Sundae project from Big Little Felt Universe that Linda posted a few weeks ago? Are you ready for some additional sweetness? Good, because our friends at National Nonwovens have generously donated a WoolFelt bundle so that you can make your very own Sundae at home. Look at all those luscious colors!

All the WoolFelt you need to make the Sundae from Big Little Felt Universe!

How do you enter for a chance to win this fantastic WoolFelt bundle? Easy: Leave a comment on this post by 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 24. CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR THREE WINNERS: Kathleen, Tina, and Sheirobinson. Enjoy the WoolFelt bundle and be sure to share pictures of the sundaes you make!  :)

Any post will do, but how about this: What felt project would you challenge Big Little Felt Universe author Jeanette Lim to make next? In her etsy shop, Jeanette has patterns for just about every kind of food you can imagine, and in Big Little Felt Universe, Jeanette tackles everything from potted houseplants to a camping set (with s’mores!), a tool belt with plushy powertools, and so much more!

I do believe Jeanette can make absolutely anything out of felt–let’s hear your ideas! Three winners will be selected at random for the WoolFelt Sundae bundle and announced on Friday, March 25. Click here for the official rules.

For an extra cherry on the top, check out the Cake Spy Big Little Felt Universe giveaway that’s going on now until Friday, March 25th. Hint: It’s way more than just the icing on the cake! Check it out!


The DeStash Diaries, Vol. 23–Grab Your Hat

March 22, 2011, 10:52 am  Posted by needlearts

Spring is officially here, and we can’t keep ourselves from talking about it on the Needlearts team. Soon we’ll all be flocking out to plant our gardens, walk our dogs, ride our bikes, and generally enjoy the great out-of-doors. So what do you need to make the great out-of-doors even more enjoyable? A cool hat (to keep you cool), of course.

Actually, hats are pretty easy to make and they don’t require a lot of fabric, so they’re perfect  to make with materials from your stash. Here’s a little assortment of hats I found on Etsy that show you some possibilities.

Everybody needs a basic sunhat. Here’s a great one from Freckles California. I’ve got some tropical prints that would be just fab in this design.

This hat from Living Tree Designs is made from recycled rags. How cool is that? They’re wrapped around cording and stitched into a spiral. What a clever idea.

If you don’t have enough of one print to make a hat and lining, combine some fabrics for a reversible hat, like this one from CooperStreet. This lovely chapeau by Iheartmisslemon has a similar vibe, with the lining in a vintage print. The grosgrain band is removable.

If you’re more of a cap gal, check out this little gem from DoeFiBoutique. It’s perfect for combining a little of this fabric and a little of that fabric for a fun combination of prints.

Are you a knitter? Check out this lovely raffia hat from onnesti’s shop. Isn’t it lovely? It’s designed for travel and can be squashed and packed with no worries.

Freckles California

Living Tree Designs






Free Project Friday: Feeling Green

March 18, 2011, 12:40 pm  Posted by needlearts

Spring in the air is the buzz around the office today. For most of us that means getting outside after work. But for the college basketball fans in this office, the middle of March means sitting at the screen after work compulsively checking scores. About a dozen of us are all holding on to our four leaf clovers as we watch our brackets unfold. Maybe I did eat dinner at the computer last night–don’t judge.

Even more exciting: In honor of springtime, St. Patrick’s Day, and all things green, we have our first potluck of the year today! Green foods from kale salad to key lime pie will make an appearance. I’m bringing green tea cookies, which will either be a big hit or go untouched.

In the spirit of spring potlucks and cooking in general, we’re posting a green-trimmed apron pattern today. Just make sure whether you’re sewing or cooking (or watching college basketball) this weekend, open the windows and enjoy the weather if you can!

Download the apron instructions here.

And the pattern here.


Shining a Light: Jewelers from Japan

March 16, 2011, 17:00 pm  Posted by Lark Jewelry & Beading
Liisa Hashimoto, Ring for Hope

Liisa Hashimoto, Ring for Hope

Liisa Hashimoto

Liisa Hashimoto

Pictures and videos from the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan have dominated the media this week. Unfathomable destruction, incomprehensible loss, collective heartache.

Art shines a light in the darkest of times. By highlighting the work of these Japanese jewelers, we honor their strength in the face of struggle and offer our hope for healing and peace in the days and months ahead.

Many of the jewelers that follow exhibit their work at the galleries Deux Poissins and Mido in Tokyo.

Etsuko Sonobe

Etsuko Sonobe

Etsuko Sonobe

Etsuko Sonobe

Fumie Sasaki

Fumie Sasaki

Fumie Sasaki

Fumie Sasaki

Hiroki Masuzaki

Hiroki Masuzaki

Hiroki Masuzaki

Hiroki Masuzaki

Hiroki Iwata

Hiroki Iwata

Hiroki Iwata

Hiroki Iwata

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Focus: Found Faces – a giveaway!

March 16, 2011, 14:39 pm  Posted by Lark

Have you ever been hiking along, enjoying the scenery, when without warning you come face to face with, well, a face? Not a human face—I mean an unexpected face. A pair of eyes, a quizzical set of brows, an upturned mouth or an expression that mirrors your own—a face made of nature, of your surroundings.

Greg Booher's "Evil Clown" & David Dunsmore's "Drain Brain"

Welcome to the world of found faces—from warehouse windows, tree leaves, and sweater cuffs to onion rings, egg yolks, and beach stones—faces are all around us.

Focus: Found Faces, the third book in our Focus series, celebrates this compelling art and the global community of photographers who reveal what is often right in front of our eyes. Shadows, staplers, phone cords, and doorknobs have all resonated with their masterful discovery of familiar features in the world at hand, and when asked how they uncover these surprising visages, many photographers responded that they did not do the finding—the faces found them.

Over 90 photographers from 26 countries are featured within the pages of Focus: Found Faces, along with their written reflections on the process of discovery. Their photos and words range from hilarity to mystery, and many reflect the astonishing delight we feel when we, too, encounter found faces.

As a team, we Craft Your Life folks hit the streets of downtown Asheville, NC, along with the walls and halls of our office, to hunt for faces. Here’s a fun collection of what we found!

faces found by Linda, Travis, Kathleen, Kristi, Nicole, and Beth (Focus: Found Faces is dog-approved)

Jean-Yves Leblon's "The Vinaigrette Man"


We are celebrating the release of Focus: Found Faces by giving away TWO copies of the book—one copy to each of two winners. To enter for a chance to win, please leave a comment on this post by 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, March 23. Any comment is fine—though I’d love to hear if you’ve ever run into or hunted for found faces—when you look around, what do you see? Winners will be selected at random from among all eligible entries, and notified by Friday, March 25. Click here for the official rules.


Spring Studio Tour: Trice Boerens

March 16, 2011, 13:20 pm  Posted by guestblogger

Welcome to our Spring Studio Tour series. For the next few Wednesdays, we’ll be taking you with us on a journey across the country to visit some of our authors. They’ll take us on a virtual walk through their space, so we can all see where the magic happens! This week we’ll tour the creative space of Trice Boerens, author of 45 Quilt Blocks Flowers and Animals and an upcoming cross-stitch series – hence all the floss!

In the old fable about the ant and the grasshopper, the ant is dutiful, is focused, stays on task, yada….yada….yada. I am definitely a grasshopper. When I get tired of working in one spot, I just move to the next. Right now I am working on a cross-stitch book and have set up shop on an old dining table (below left). The table is at least 25 years old and is from the Sears “Open Country Collection.” (A reference used in honor of the movie Mr. Mom-Michael Keaton’s neighbor drops in to see his new bedroom set and he brags about it being from the Sears “Safari Collection.”) One of these days I am going to paint the table turquoise, and I even have the paint on hand.

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Oops! A new kimono template for Craft Hope

March 14, 2011, 16:43 pm  Posted by Lark

Have you ever made a mistake and felt really silly about it? We definitely know the feeling. Thanks to some eagle-eyed and kind-hearted readers, we learned that we printed an error in Craft Hope: Handmade Crafts for a Cause. Thanks for pointing it out!

The template we included for the Baby Kimonos was missing some key pieces, so we created a new template in a handy, easy-to-print PDF. Pop some paper in your printer and read through the cover page that explains how the template is organized–it’s arranged in a tile system with coordinates (remember graphs from math class?), and all you’ll need is some tape and a set of scissors, no enlarging necessary. Click to download the Template for Baby Kimonos – Craft Hope.

Thanks again for helping us remedy the situation! Happy baby kimono crafting.


Fresh Flickr Finds: Big Green Love!

March 14, 2011, 11:56 am  Posted by Lark

Plagued by a craving for green this spring? I am, too! As with many crafting impulses, I found my fix at flickr…. check out these quilted and stitched goodies, all in fresh verdant shades. Luckily, I have a stack of green fabrics in my stash. How about you?

(Click the links below to see more work from each of these artists.)

1. Urban Home Goods Swap Pillow Cover and Coasters, 2. LinesSpring, 3. Spring beginnings for Lucinda, 4. Zig, 5. Linen and Denim Split Log Cabin Quilt Front, 6. Hideaway quilt, 7. Allium mug rug by Poppyprint, 8. Lady of the Lake Quilt Top, 9. seagarden