Crafty Summer Days

May 31, 2011, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark

Summer break is close and my two kids are like horses headed to the barn after a long day in the fields; they’re barreling down the home stretch. Watching their growing anticipation, I can’t help but look back fondly on my own summer breaks, back in the “old” days, before computers and PS3′s. The first few weeks were glorious–what with no homework coupled with the freedom to stay up late and sleep in the next day. But by the time mid-summer rolled around I’d start getting restless. Crafting to the rescue! Paper mache, macrame, watercolors, Popsicle sticks sculptures, beeswax candles, and hot pads crafted on a red metal loom would fill my days. Before your kids can utter their first “there’s nothing to do”, check out the sites below for some great summer activity ideas that are both inexpensive and fun.

summer craft project ideas

Row 1 (left to right): big wind kites, martha stewart, hgtv

Row 2 (left to right): origami-fun, parents, bizarre stuff

Row 3 (left to right): kaboose, Disney family funthat artist woman


Free Project Friday: The Stash Busting Edition!

May 27, 2011, 10:38 am  Posted by Lark

free project logoA long holiday weekend + your fabulous fabric stash = all kinds of stitchy stash-busting fun! Make the most of your Memorial Day weekend with this trio of stash-friendly projects from some of our favorite designers.

Freshen up your space with a mini art quilt from Aimee Ray.

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Pimento Cheese! Spreading the Love

May 26, 2011, 14:30 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

It’s summer! And pimento cheese is this year’s no-sweat go-to for picnics, cookouts, and backyard celebrations. Everyone loves pimento cheese—and everyone will love you for serving forth pimento cheese crackers, stuffed veggies, or PC sandwiches. Gooey & groovy pimento cheese burgers and dogs are guaranteed to cause outright swooning. Here’s the cheerful spread’s story and two ways to make it.


Pimento cheese in bowl, hand holding cracker being spread with cheese above

The classic—pimento cheese on Ritz

Pimento cheese is the stuff! In fact, 2011 is “The Year of Pimento Cheese!” according to Time Magazine. In a piece on New Year’s predictions, Time’s Joel Stein asked Adam Rapoport, editor of Bon Appétit Magazine, what will be the year’s top three foods. He listed Pie, Pimento Cheese, and Rabbit. (I think there’s an all-in-one recipe there.)

Bon Appétit nailed it. Pimento Cheese is showing up everywhere—spreading up the food chain from lowly dive, to pub and bistro, all the way to the carte du jour of your better white tablecloth establishment. It’s being crafted from both aged regional cheeses and don’t-even-try-to-pretend-we-got-class Velveeta. Go into a favorite local eatery and you’ll find pimento cheese on burgers, dogs, sandwiches—even fries. And if the place is truly trendy, it’ll be featured as house-made, probably kicked up with jalapenos, and star in omelets, empanadas, risottos, and as dip for house-made kettle chips (which I predict will be on 2012’s hot list).

Keep reading to find out pimento cheese’s history and two ways to make some for summer entertaining…

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We’re sharing the hexagon love today with a hexagon pillow tutorial from Stash Happy author Cynthia Shaffer. I kind of want one in every colorway! Here’s how (and don’t forget to scroll through to the bottom for the giveaway details!):

Large linen throw pillow
Stash fabrics in 5 or more coordinating colors
Cardstock and standard office paper
Hand needle
Thread to match the pillow and thread to stand out from the fabric hexagons
Sharp scissors


1.     Create a hexagon that measures 3½ inches and cut one out from the cardstock.

2.     Create a hexagon that measures 3 inches, and cut out 13 from the office paper.

3.     With the pen, trace the cardstock hexagon on the backside of your fabrics. I traced 2 of each color, then went back and traced a third one from one of the larger prints.  Fussy cut the larger prints to highlight an interesting motif.

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Beer Jewelry-Beyond the Pull Tab

May 24, 2011, 12:51 pm  Posted by Lark
etched foam pendant

Sterling Echoes

bottle opener ring

Dustin Wallace

My beautiful hometown of Asheville, North Carolina just won the Beer City USA title for the third year in a row. It’s inspired me to do my next blog on beer-related jewelry. But first, a shout-out to some of my favorite local breweries:

We’ve also got all sorts of home craft brewers in the area and Asheville Brewers Supply does a grand job keeping them well stocked with ingredients and equipment.

Now for the jewelry. Sterling Echoes has an interesting take on jewelry that relates to beer. The texture on the pendant comes from a multiple step process based on foam from a mug of beer.  Or how about the ring from Dustin Wallace? It’s a beautiful combination of form and function-a stylish ring and a bottle opener.

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Patchwork poll!

May 23, 2011, 12:01 pm  Posted by Lark

Ever fallen in love with a patchwork pattern? One look at my flickr stream, and you’ll see my current favorite – plus signs! For a good six months, they showed up in absolutely everything I made – oh, crafty obsession! Luckily, they’re also featured in Stash Happy Patchwork, along with a host of others like broken dishes, Dresden plates, hexagons, log cabins, and more.

Take our patchwork poll below to vote for your favorite pattern!

[poll id="20"]


Presto! Convert Artist-Made Beads into Jewelry

May 20, 2011, 18:35 pm  Posted by Lark

By now, you’ve undoubtedly read one of Lark Jewelry & Beading’s posts talking up Jeri Warhaftig’s très interesting book, Creating Glass Beads. I asked Jeri to contribute a blog post for us, and she wrote a fact-filled article about how to turn artist-made beads into jewelry in one easy step. Read on.

Photo by Steve Mann

By Jeri Warhaftig

If you like beads as much as I do, there’s been a time when you see a handmade artist bead at a bead show, craft fair, or on the web, and you HAVE to own it! After all, beads are more affordable than gemstones, smaller and lighter than most books, and easier to hide than a new handbag (so you don’t have to explain it to your significant other). Most importantly, buying a bead enables you to own a work of art and carry it around with you! So you buy the bead, thinking “I wonder what I’ll do with this?” or “Maybe I’ll give this to Mom” or “Now I’ll really have to learn how to make jewelry”.

There are many great ways to enjoy that new bead (besides just putting it on your windowsill on a pretty Lucite stand). Using readymade interchangeable findings, you can turn your bead into instant jewelry or accessories. In this blog post, I’ll explore some of the options available on the web. Although the world is caught up in the craze for Pandora/Biagi/Chamilia-brand big-holed beads (many call these European style beads), there are many other creative ways to temporarily string one or more beads so they can be quickly worn or put to good use. Typically, all of the options here require a bead hole of about 3/32 inch (2 mm).

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Free Project(s) Friday: Stash Happy Potholder plus!

May 20, 2011, 14:24 pm  Posted by Lark

This week’s free project post continues our stash celebration with not one, but TWO free bonus projects from Stash Happy Patchwork!

First up, a sweet and simple Retro Potholder (and yes, it perfectly matches the Retro Apron we featured a few weeks ago). I don’t know about you, but I think potholders are probably the most useful thing you can make from scraps – aside from pincushions, my other fave. And who doesn’t enjoy a little color coordination in the kitchen? Download the potholder pattern over here.

Got a dog lover in your life? Check out the book for a patchy collar cozy pattern and then make this matching doggy bag, perfect for treat or leash storage. Download the bag over here.

Happy stash busting! And don’t forget to take part in our little stash scavenger hunt if you haven’t already! You have until Tuesday, 5/24 to enter.


How to: Image transfers

May 20, 2011, 10:16 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

In this video tutorial you will learn how to transfer images onto wood using a gel transfer technique. This technique is a great way to incorporate photos and found images into your collage and decoupage projects. In the video I have chosen to use colored laser prints transfered to wood. Wood is preferable because of its rigidity, but a heavy paper would also yield similar results. Continue reading for full step-by-step instructions and to see the finished piece.

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A Celebration of FOCUS Letters

May 20, 2011, 09:00 am  Posted by Lark

Working in the publishing industry for as long as I have, you would think that I would always have letters, words, paragraphs, and more on my mind. Yes, indeed, it’s true. I must say, though, that things have been a been a bit magnified lately thanks to our brand new book, FOCUS: Letters, just out this month. This fourth book in our FOCUS series encourages all of us to view the world around us with new eyes with a collection of approximately 250 photographs of letters of all varieties, captured by people from around the world.

Letters are the building blocks to our written language and our keys to unlocking communication in the world around us. Oftentimes the vehicle is just as interesting as the message with an infinite variety of ways in which letters can be designed and displayed. This book shines a spotlight on all the letters of the alphabet and the many ways in which they decorate our world.

Just look around you as you walk city streets, and you’ll find them smiling at you from a neon sign, graffiti on an alley wall, or peeking up at you from the sidewalk. Soon you’ll find yourself admiring the artistry of a hand-painted logo, the flaking paint serving as a testament of time along the side of a barn, the bold simplicity of something you may see everyday but can appreciate in a new light once taken out of its usual context. Letters can also be awaiting your discovery where you least expect them. Doesn’t that cloud look a lot like an “L,” that colorful bike wheel an “O,” those wooden boards like an “E,” and the angle of that building like a “Z”?

Check out this fun little preview video highlighting some great shots (in alphabetic order, of course) from the book:

IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to enter our big giveaway for all four books in the FOCUS series! You’ve got until 9 p.m. EST on Monday, May 23 to enter.

And while you’re at it, check out our earlier post where Travis chronicles his scavenger hunt to find found letters around the Lark office. Take a little time this weekend to look around you to discover all of the wonderful letters in your home, neighborhood, and beyond!