Free Project Friday: Hippo Quilt Block

July 29, 2011, 16:32 pm  Posted by needlearts

It’s the last week that our water-lovin’ animals will join us in quilt block form (courtesy of 45 Quilt Blocks Animals, of course!). So far there’s been a whale, a frog, and a crocodile.

This week’s block is one of my favorites. Even though he’s not as colorful as the rest of the gang, how can you not like that goofy grin and the eyes looking off to the side? He would make such a good addition to a quilt, forever amused at whatever you decide to stitch off to his right.

Download the project here and the templates here.


Maggie Meister bonus project: Fiore Earrings

July 29, 2011, 11:18 am  Posted by Lark

Every Friday, I post a set of project instructions. (Ahem. Except when I don’t.)

Maggie Meister’s Classical Elegance releases soon: August 2. It’s already available online and in some stores, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it! In the meantime, though, here’s a Lark Jewelry & Beading blog exclusive: a project you won’t find in the book! We saved these Fiore Earrings—modeled on the flowers in an old Italian garden—especially to give away as an online treat. Click here to get the instructions for these wonderful earrings.

And check back next week for another bonus project from Maggie Meister. On offering will be her Liternum Brooch, inspired by a classical column. You can also grab some great content we’ve already posted on this blog: pick up a PDF of Maggie’s Artemisia Earrings right from the book, and read (and share!) a great interview with Maggie. And please join Lark Jewelry & Beading on Facebook!


Etsy Favorites: Summer Sunflowers

July 26, 2011, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark

This time of the year when the heat and humidity are wearing me down, making me feel like I could just collapse on the spot into a bedraggled mess, there are some quintessential elements of Summer that help to remind me that this time of the year does indeed have its merits. Sunflowers are one of those shining beacons of hope and joy at a time when we all need a little lift.

Usually standing quite tall in stature with its large, round flower head opened wide like a sun motif. These absolutely remarkable plants feature heads consisting of 1,000-2,000 individual flowers joined together by a receptacle base. Long a source of food for both its seeds and oil, the sunflower plant (helianthus annuus) is also a truly spectacular decorative bloom to add to any floral arrangement. I myself prefer to grab a handful from a local farmers market this time of the year and simply let them hog the spotlight alone in a vase. I guarantee you they will bring cheer to any room.

And so, in need of a little cheer myself, I took to Etsy in search of sunflower joy. What follows are some hand-picked (ouch!) items that I thought captured the singular beauty of this warm weather wonder. Be sure to check out the larger images and links to the seller’s shops after the jump.


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Free Project Friday: Another Quilt Block!

July 22, 2011, 11:54 am  Posted by needlearts

You may have spotted a whale or a frog on the blog recently…that’s because we’re posting a few of the quilt blocks from 45 Quilt Blocks Animals. Since it’s summer, we’re sticking to the ones that love living and playing in the water!

This week, we have another one ready for some time in the blog limelight. She’s green like last week’s, but quite a bit bigger–and she has some big teeth too! Can you guess what she is?

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She Sells Sea Shells

July 22, 2011, 10:00 am  Posted by Lark

Chances are sometime in your life you’ve gone to a beach. Beaches are one of those leisure spots sought after world-round. Who can resist wriggling their toes in the sand,  the soothing lull of the waves or just basking in the sun while you read a decadently mindless paperback? Then there’s the shells—those freebie gifts from the sea—just there for the taking. If you’re like me,  you’ve taken a select few home to serve as souvenirs. I always have grandiose plans to “do” something with them but they usually end up sitting around the rim of my tub. But this year was different; I had a plan. I was going to make a shell wind chime. Use my dremel to drill little holes, tie ‘em to a piece of driftwood with a length of string or line and viola–a bit of family beach vacation memorabilia for our mountain home porch. Three weeks after vacation progress report: well the wind chimes aren’t done yet, but then again happily, neither is summer.

Shell-studded koi by SandisShellscapes

If you’ve got a bucket of shells and need a little inspiration, read on. These talented ladies take shell art to a whole new level.

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Case Study

July 21, 2011, 12:02 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

Pack your suitcase, kids, we’re going on a ride. Where? Well, let’s just say that the journey is the destination. Before you begin sorting through your things, take a look at these awesome custom suitcases and travel accessories from the following Etsy sellers. It’s never too late to travel in style!

First stop: Another Jamie Davis. Check out this hand-embroidered train case.

Packing light? Take a look at these amazing mini pieces of luggage from Harts Desire Minis.

Racing to the airport? Check out this screenprinted vintage Saks suitcase with an old school racer stencil from Bright Wall.

Perhaps your pet would like to join you in your voyage. AtomicAttic can help with that.

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Summer Sweets: Popsicles!

July 18, 2011, 09:02 am  Posted by Lark

Oh summer. You pretty, lush, bright, hot, steamy, sweaty season. You’re so great for so many things, like swimming and cookouts and lightning bugs and extra daylight. You’re also lovely in that you allow us to eat simple, cool, and refreshing foods for every meal. (Am I the only one who sometimes eats cereal for dinner because it’s just too dang hot to think about anything else?)

Enter: popsicles. Quite possibly the epitome of cool, delightful, appropriate-any-time-of-day treats.

[photo of honeydew & lime popsicle by kaylacasey]

I went on a hunt for delicious and innovative popsicle recipes and discovered the creations listed below. Thanks to the talented folks who whipped up these beauties! I’ve personally experimented with the Key Lime Pie Pops over the 4th of July and the Coconut Cream Popsicles last weekend. Both completely rocked my world, and both were eaten more than once as dinner. Amazing.


Pineapple Coconut Cilantro Popsicles / from: Keep Your Diet Real


Strawberry Shortcake Popsicles / from: Bakers Royale

………………….continue reading for more popsicle finds…………………..

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Free Project Friday: Mystery Quilt Block

July 15, 2011, 12:01 pm  Posted by needlearts

As you may have heard by now, this month we’re sharing quilt blocks from 45 Quilt Blocks Animals. But these aren’t just any quilt blocks. Since it’s summer, we’re posting the ones that love summer too–or at the very least they love hanging out in the water.

So what design will it be this week? I’ll give you a hint: You can find out after the JUMP…

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Big Crafty finds

July 14, 2011, 16:03 pm  Posted by Lark

This past weekend, my friend and I popped into The Big Crafty in downtown Asheville to check out local handmade creations. My friend, Teresa, was on the hunt for the perfect earrings for a birthday gift so we were happy to find that almost every other craft booth outside had jewelry.


Matt Johnson took a picture of me, Teresa, Shannon and Lauren at the Big Crafty.

(Read this post to the end to catch an awesome video of the Big Crafty made by my friends Lauren and Matt, who are starting up their downtown Asheville business in September called Zapow!, an illustrative art gallery and a place for writer and artist development.)

One booth in particular was run by Mackenzie King and here are some pictures I took of her work:

Earrings made in Asheville

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Summer Sweets: S’mores!

July 12, 2011, 09:52 am  Posted by Lark

Okay, here’s a fun game: when I say “go,” start listing all the things that make you think of summery dessert goodness. Ready? Go.

If, like me, your mind raced to campfires and ooey gooey marshmallowy-chocolatey wonderfulness, then you’ll completely understand why this blog post makes my heart flutter.

photo of a nighttime beach campfireI grew up spending my summers in northern Michigan, smack dab in a land ‘o lakes (and, subsequently, a land o’ lakeside beach campfires). I’m of the fervent belief that there’s no lovelier way to watch the sun go down than to be gathered round a stone-lined beach fire on the shores of Lake Michigan (cue the sighs) with some sort of tasty morsel cooking over the hot embers. And by tasty morsel, I mean s’mores. Lots of them.

[*campfire photo by Gregwar]

Please tell me you know what s’mores are. If you don’t know (and no offense is meant here), your childhood and entire life up until this very moment is lacking a critical, foundational element.

photo of a s'more sandwich Here’s the breakdown. S’mores involve three basic things: a marshmallow toasted over an open fire; a slab of chocolate to snuggle up against the toasty marshmallow; and two crispy graham crackers to sandwich around the goldeny, melty, drippy, your-hair-WILL-fly-into-it s’more center. This is the old school version. Plain and simple, yet sophisticated in its time-honored longevity.

But the old school s’more is enjoying a come-back, y’all. Big time. And by come-back I mean fancy-pants awesomeness. Below you’ll find a small yet holy-cow delicious collection of ways people have been transforming s’mores into new and luscious hybridized decadence. Trust me, you’ll want to have a snack handy while reading this post. [*s'more photo by sanchom]

Thank you to the incredibly clever, talented, and inspired people who created the desserts below—if I could, I’d make a pilgrimage to each of your kitchens.

s'mores ice cream sandwichesS’mores Cupcake Ice Cream Sandwiches,  from: 52 Kitchen Adventures


S’mores Cake in a Jar,  from: How Sweet it is

………….continue reading for more s’mores………..

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