State Birds : Bird Love

June 15, 2011, 14:22 pm  Posted by Lark

You’ve got one, I’ve got one, we all (in the United States) have one.

No, I’m not talking about belly buttons, favorite ice cream flavors, or strong feelings (either way) about rock ballads.

I’m talking about state birds. Each of our 50 states has a state bird, and today, in honor of our Bird Love Blogiversary, I’d like to shine a light on these real, live birds and their creative counterparts.

*I’ve got to say—somehow I’d imagined that every state would have a different bird, and in that 50-bird array I’d have found a wildly colorful collection of feathered friends. Instead, it seems to have been a bit more of a popularity contest when it came to assigning state birds, which is great news for fellows like the Cardinal and Western Meadowlark. (Interestingly about the Cardinal, I’ve lived in FOUR states that boast that red guy as their state bird. Hmm.) I do also want to add that I learned about birds I’d never heard of before, and I was delighted to discover beauties such as the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and the Willow Ptarmigan. Pretty neat.

So, for your personal records, we have 29 birds among our 50 states. Thanks to the talented artists mentioned below for finding such varied and beautiful ways to share a love of birds.


Baltimore Oriole – Maryland

Hand Embroidered Dish Towel Oriole by CraveCute


….continue reading for all of our state birds….


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Father’s Day Jewelry

June 15, 2011, 12:40 pm  Posted by Lark

Dad’s day is here this weekend so the focus of my blog this week is on men’s jewelry. My father didn’t wear much jewelry beyond an occasional tie tack, so it’s refreshing to see the necklaces, bracelets and earrings that adorn men now.  Here’s a selection from etsy I think fathers would love to wear.

gallery of men's jewelry

1. StampingOutLoud 2. dreadnoughtworkshop 3. lesleytinnaro

4. ElkAndIron 5. jewelrybyjohan 6. 360JewelsElite

7. inediblejewelry 8. lynntodddesigns 9. tinahdee

10. fosterweld 11. amybsjewelry 12.  trudyjames


Yes, Another Free Bird Project!

June 15, 2011, 11:59 am  Posted by needlearts

In addition to our blogiversary, there’s also another important event going on all over the country: the start of summer!

Even though the actual day of summer solstice isn’t until next week, most schools have already set the kids (and teachers) free.

Figure 1

So today’s free project is all about that area where bird-tastic celebration and summer vacation overlap (see figure 1)!

The pretty pillow you see above (from 100 Pretty Little Projects) features a very unique feathered friend. In fact, the Child’s Play pillow doesn’t even come with a template for recreating that bird, because you’re supposed to use your own kid’s drawing as the central motif! Note that if you don’t happen to have a kid, you can likely beg or barter with a niece or nephew for a one-of-a-kind drawing. After all, they should have plenty of free time on their hands starting any day now…

Download the Child’s Play pillow project here.


Bird fabric love…. and giveaway!

June 14, 2011, 15:28 pm  Posted by Lark

Sometimes the stars align and two great things join forces. Example #1: the awesomeness that is bird-themed fabric. Take a peek: do you happen to have any birdies in your stash? If not, enter for a chance to win some!

To celebrate our bird love blogiversary, we’re giving away a stack of beautiful bird-themed fabrics. To be entered for a chance to win, leave a comment on this post by 9 p.m EST on Friday, June 17. Any comment will do but we’d love to hear about your favorite thing you’ve made involving birds. One winner will be selected at random and contacted on Monday, June 20. Click here for the official rules.

Need some bird crafting inspiration? Be sure to check out a free bird quilt block and a too-cute owl stuffy pattern from Tina Givens.
Comments are now closed for this giveaway. Congrats to Suze!


As you know, I’m a birder, so our bird-themed Blogiversary is a lot of fun for me. For this week’s DeStash Diaries I thought I’d repurpose some of my posts that featured birds in some way, as well as ask you kindly to share your bird-theme projects with us in our Bird Love! pool on flickr. Pretty please! I’d love to see them.

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Awesome New Product: DeCoRé

June 13, 2011, 17:47 pm  Posted by Lark

Booth 236 at Bead&Button was jammin’! As if the cool new Japanese product on display wasn’t revolutionary enough to attract passersby, the sparkle and shimmer of crystal bling on the tables was arresting.

The DeCoRé booth

So what’s the product? DeCoRé, a substance that resembles polymer clay and that self-hardens in 24 hours. You read that right: It self-hardens!

As shown in the open package at right, DeCoRé comes in two parts weighing 10 grams each. Mix equal parts for at least 4 minutes to start the hardening process.

  • Since you don’t have to bake it, you can embed anything at all in it, and it won’t be damaged.
  • It comes in a rainbow of colors, which can be combined to make other colors, or lightly kneaded for a marbled effect.
  • Embed clear crystals into it, and they’ll take on the color of the clay beneath. So you could apply DeCoRé in striped or spotted patterns, embed clear crystals into the clay, and the finished bling would look striped, spotted, etc. You can also apply colored beads or stones to add other hues.

  • DeCoRé sticks to almost anything—metal, stone, glass, pearl, plastic, polymer clay, itself. You could cover an entire bead with DeCoRé, then encrust it with glittery crystals. Or you might prefer to apply DeCoRé in only judicious areas…for example, along just the edge of a shell, which you would then embellish with tiny beads…or capping just one third of a bead, near the hole, to create a sort of crystal bead cap…or make your own encrusted cabochon…or add some je ne sais quoi to your eyeglasses.
    • It’s malleable just like polymer clay, but doesn’t require conditioning.
    • You can apply a flat layer, or form it into shapes.
    • DeCoRé has a working time of 90 minutes, after which it starts to harden.
    • Zero shrinkage.
    • All the skills you need to work with DeCoRé, you mastered by 1st grade—seriously.

    You might have caught on that I got a little excited by the possibilities. So I bought a kit, which contained a ring blank, a sample of black DeCoRé, a few big crystals, and small crystals in jet, gray and clear. I mixed, I applied, I sculpted a little mountain, I stuck the crystals in. It solidified as promised. The result:

    Photo by BOB!

    Photo by BOB!

    The original design of the ring in the kit was a lot more tasteful, kind of flat like a pinky ring, but I decided to heap on ALL the clay to test how malleable the clay was, so the top of the ring got ginormous. At the booth, they were selling about a dozen different kits for rings and pendants, and all of the designs were quite elegant. The designer of all the jewelry kits, Yoonhae Kwon, hails from Korea.

    Yoonhae Kwon

    At the same time as I bought the kit, I was able to purchase a couple of packets of just the clay (I got khaki and tanzanite, and will show you the results here after I experiment some more) at $12 apiece. So where can you get this stuff? Sadly, for now, it seems only wholesalers Helby and Czech Beads carry it, so you’ll have to clamor for it from the buyers at your favorite beadstore or craft retailer. The DeCoRé website isn’t up as of today.

    Finally, let me assure you this blog post is NOT a paid promotion! I just thought this was a seriously fun product with lots of possibility, and I wanted to share it with you!

    I’d love to hear your comments on this product, especially if you played with it at B&B.


    Wish you were hair

    June 12, 2011, 19:08 pm  Posted by Lark

    One thing you can’t help but notice at Bead&Button are the fun, funky hairstyles. All the colorful plumage makes it seem like you’re in the rain forest instead of at a convention center in Milwaukee. You go, ladies!

    Green and black: waiting in line at Meet the Teachers

    Red, orange, blonde and spiky: a German lady at Meet the Teachers

    Strands of Soflex glimmer magically in Sharon Peters' hair

    Pink on red--and check out Rita's gorgeous necklace!

    Rita from the back, showing the red Soflex (note the, ahem, "artistic" focus)

    Blue, with yellow-and-black-striped feathers: Laura McCabe

    Purple tips on Julianne McCabe (Laura McCabe's mother-in-law)

    Purple: happy student Betsy Barnard

    Sue Hitchler says her husband hasn't noticed her newly blue 'do!

    Jeannette Cook

    I want hair like hers!

    Gwen Youngblood, whose business card is also hot pink

    A happy attendee on her way to shop

    Pat (at right) jokes that with her hairclip---that's quite literally what it is---she's one of Marica DeCoster's "marciettes." (More artistic focus.)

    ...and another marciette!


    Seen at the Bead&Button Show …

    June 11, 2011, 11:19 am  Posted by Lark

    I already told myself last year that I’ve got to save up to buy one of Sara Sally LeGrand’s gorgeous glass brooches!

    Sara Sally LeGrand

    Leslie Rogalski demos how to bead with peanut beads.

    Leslie Rogalski

    Ann Benson, owner of Beads East and author of Tapestry Bead Crochet, sells some of the prettiest kits for sale on the show floor.

    Ann Benson

    Ann’s talented assistant, Melissa Grakowsky, is hard at work writing her first book for Lark Jewelry & Beading (but not while she’s working for Ann!).

    Melissa Grakowsky

    Karen Ovington makes glass beads that look like they hail from antiquity. She sometimes incorporates them in felt jewelry. Yummy!

    Karen Ovington

    Laura McCabe, author of Laura McCabe’s Embellished Beadweaving, was spotted at a booth that sells beetle wings—imagine that!

    Laura McCabe

    Tonya Davidson, from Whole Lotta Whimsy: Thanks again for letting me do a book signing for my book Leather Jewelry at your booth last year, Tonya! You’re a peach.

    Tonya Davidson

    Diane Hyde has the most imaginative steampunk confections. Among other things, she’s selling little porcelain doll-head “factory seconds” (did that term exist in the early 1900s, when they were manufactured?!?) excavated in Germany. Fun!

    Diane Hyde

    Jennifer Heynen, author of Ceramic Bead Jewelry, at her colorful booth.

    Jennifer Heynen

    Thomas Mann,that techno-romantic, is the author of Learn to Saw.

    Thomas Mann

    Marianne Kasparian sells lovely raku beads. Can you tell how proud she is to have been included in the book 500 Raku?

    Marianne Kasparian

    Corki Weeks makes phenomenal kaleidoscopes that incorporate stunning beaded beads of her own making.

    Corki Weeks

    Brenda Schweder (Steel Wire Jewelry author) and Sabine Lippert (great news: she’s working on a book for us, too!) … such talented women, and so funny, too!

    Brenda Schweder and Sabine Lippert

    Catherine Tetrault captures real spider webs in glass. Pretty magical. Bet you’d like to know how she does it. Well, fuhgeddabout it, she’s not revealing any of her secrets!

    Catherine Tetrault

    Suzanne Golden models her creation Beaucoup d’Amusement (Lots of Fun), which is featured on the cover of the current issue of German beading magazine Perlen Poesie. Suzanne warns playfully, “Stick to beading, [and] this is what’ll happen to you.”

    Suzanne Golden

    And now I’m off to scour the convention center floor… —Nathalie


    Birdwatching at Lark

    June 11, 2011, 10:16 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

    Long before we thought about putting a bird on it for the month of June, birds began nesting all over the Lark offices. You might think I’m just using that phrase to describe all the bird-related art around here (and I am), but the nesting also happens in a very real way from time to time. In fact, right now there’s a large office on the ground floor of our building where you can hear the Starlings that have nested in the ducts.

    But we do have our fair share of decorative birds around the office as well. So this week I took the camera and did a little birdwatching around Lark:

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    Doodle Stitch-Along: Motif #2!

    June 10, 2011, 14:48 pm  Posted by guestblogger

    Hey happy stitchers! Aimee Ray here with another installment of our Doodle Stitch-Along! If you missed our kick off last week, we’re giving away a free embroidery pattern every Friday from my book, Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection, and at the end we’ll have instructions for making a cute cafe apron!

    Here is this week’s pattern, a pretty flower motif.