The Creative Connection Event!

September 10, 2011, 09:00 am  Posted by Lark

We’re all abuzz in the Lark office about this week’s big party in St. Paul, Minnesota: The Creative Connection Event.

Haven’t you heard? This exciting, annual conference brings together hundreds of women with a shared passion for well-crafted handmade goods, soul-enriching food, an entrepreneurial spirit, and the networking potential of social media into three jam-packed days. This year’s event draws on the rich experience of over 100 industry experts, entrepreneurs, and authors. Hands-on workshops in cooking, sewing, jewelry making, creative writing, paper crafts, photography, book publishing, painting, cooking, and more will be joined with social networking and business panels that focus on the practical details of setting up, running, and marketing a business and leveraging its impact through blogging and other social media. Now in its second year, the event has joined forces with BlogHer as its official media partner and Mary Janes Farm for a fabulous day of food-centric fun.

We’re thrilled that our parent company, Sterling Publishing, is a main sponsor of this year’s event. As a publisher that celebrates content and authors that entertain, enrich, and educate, sponsoring The Creative Connection event feels like a perfect meeting of the minds (and heart).

I was fortunate enough to attend last year’s inaugural event … and was I ever impressed with the beautiful convergence of creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and active sense of collaboration! It’s a sincere joy to be part of the event again this year with a contingent of Lark authors in attendance: Ashley English (Homemade Living Series), Mary Hettmansperger (Fabulous Woven Jewelry; Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet; Mixed Metal Jewelry Workshop), Brenda Schweder (Steel Wire Jewelry), Kaari Meng (The French-Inspired Home; French-Inspired Jewelry), Todd Porter & Diane Cu (photographers/stylists for Sweet Confections), and, of course, event co-founder, Jo Packham (Where Women Create: Book of Inspiration; Where Women Cook: Celebrate!).

Not only will these authors and contributors be there to mix and mingle with the rest of us, but they’re teaching classes that you, too, could attend:

Ashley English: Jam Session: Make Your Own Homemade Jam

Mary Hettmansperger: Looped Jewelry and Woven Copper Jewelry

Brenda Schweder: Wrangled Bangles and Cage Contender: Whimsically Edged Pendant

Todd Porter & Diane Cu: Photography to Boost Your Creative Voice and Edible Images: Food Photography & Styling

Kaari Meng (with Wendy Addison): Bibelot Charme Workshop and Boite de Bijoux Workshop

And for further inspiration and fun, you can shop the Market Place, featuring feature over 70 craft and handmade vendors. There will be plenty of mini-events happening in the Market Place: blogger parties, book launches, craft demos, and workshops. Sterling and Lark Crafts will be sharing a booth with the Creative Connection folks. We’ll be hosting some fabulous raffles for books, one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, artfully canned treats made by Homemade Living author Ashley English, and more.

The above mentioned authors and contributors, combined with select staff from Sterling and Lark Crafts, sincerely look forward to meeting you in person at the event. Won’t you join us? The event takes place September 15-17 at the Crowne Plaza in St. Paul, Minnesota. You can register for a full Weekender Pass to catch all the fun or a single Day Pass. Or, if you’re local and just want to catch the peripheral buzz, stop by to browse and shop the Market Place.

All of us will undoubtedly leave The Creative Connection Event feeling energized, inspired … and looking forward to next year’s event.

Be sure to keep an eye on the Lark Crafts blog (www.larkcrafts.com), and follow us on Twitter @LarkCrafts for posts on the event!


Follow the Bouncing…Instructions

September 09, 2011, 14:30 pm  Posted by Lark

Every Friday, I post a set of free instructions.

Rachel Nelson-Smith isn’t just a creative mastermind—she’s also a crooner. Her new book, Rachel Nelson-Smith’s Bead Riffs offers up 23 beaded jewelry projects influenced by the musical stylings of her favorite jazz bands, tunes and singers.

Today’s featured necklace is a cover girl. Rachel named this project Billie’s Bounce because the rings bob and wiggle, reminding her of the melody in Charlie Parker’s song by the same name. I just love the way Rachel used red thread to stitch together the black beads of the strand connecting the beaded rings together, creating the illusion that they’re navy colored.

Click here to get the free PDF of the instructions for this fun project.


Sweet Confections: a (very sweet) Giveaway

September 09, 2011, 11:52 am  Posted by Lark

Sweet Tooth Aficionados—rejoice! We are so very pleased to announce the publication of Sweet Confections: Beautiful Candy to Make at Home by Nina Wanat. With step-by-step photos and a clear and friendly voice, Nina guides you through the ins and outs of making candy in your own home kitchen.

Luscious chocolate fudge, crunchy golden peanut brittle, melt-in-your-mouth pear hazelnut truffles, sugarplums, lollipops, and coconut shells: they’re enough to make a person feel weak in the knees, and they’re only some of the 40 recipes found in this delicious journey through the world of handmade candy. I could list them all, but I thought you might like a little eye candy to tell the tale (sorry, I can’t avoid perfect puns like that one). Here are a couple quick page snapshots:


Chocolate Stars


Fruit Jam Jellies


Continue reading...

PUSH Series

September 08, 2011, 08:30 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

From PUSH Paper: Wheelchair by Chris Gilmour. Life size. Photo by Marco De Palma.

In his Q&A discussion with PUSH Paper juror Jaime Zollars, Chris Gilmour tells a funny story in response to the question “What responses do you get to your work?” He says, “People always want to touch it. I think the best example of this was with a wheelchair that was in a show in Milan. One elderly gentleman was so taken with the work that he couldn’t resist trying it–of course the moment he sat on it, and it broke to pieces, the illusion was shattered. It was the end of that piece, but it’s nice to get people so enchanted with the work.”

In a way, this is exactly how we hope you feel about PUSH, our beautiful new gallery series that just came out this week with the release of PUSH Paper and PUSH Stitchery–that you’ll want to pick them up, touch them, and be completely enchanted with the amazing artwork you’ll discover inside. And the good news is, they are not an illusion! We’ve worked steadily on these books for the past year and a half and would love nothing more than to give you, our Lark Crafts readers, the chance to win a copy of the first two books in the series. Read on to find out how to enter!

Continue reading...

Quick Stitches: Hoop Dreams

September 06, 2011, 12:09 pm  Posted by Lark

Welcome to Quick Stitches! This week, my column name is a bit of a misnomer, since this project doesn’t involve any stitching. I have so many special fabrics that I’m holding onto, waiting for just the right project. But it’s a shame to keep this kind of beauty hidden away in my fabric stash.

With this project, you get an instant wall decoration plus a unique way to store and display your stash. And it’s nice to see a different part of the craft store on occasion! For this project you’ll need a bottle of white acrylic paint, a simple foam brush, and several sizes of embroidery hoops. For this sample, I used hoops in the following sizes: 5, 6, 7, and 8 inches. Here’s how:

Continue reading...

Beaded Aprons

September 06, 2011, 04:20 am  Posted by Lark

A few months back, I went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art to see an exhibit called Material World. It features extravagantly embellished garments from around the globe that show how clothing is used to convey power, status and wealth. Fascinating stuff, and beautifully curated.

I discovered something in this show that I had somehow never heard of or seen before–beaded aprons! At one time in parts of Africa, these would have been worn either with nothing else as a modesty apron, or over a garment. In either case, the aprons can denote age, marital status, social status, etc. These aprons were originally made of iron strips, but that changed after the introduction of glass beads.

Of course I didn’t have a camera with me at the museum (my photos tend to be lousy anyway), but I’ve been lucky enough to find two websites featuring photos of  beaded aprons, the gracious owners of which told me I could share the pictures with you, dear reader. I thank Elizabeth Bennett of Africadirect.com and Ann Porteus from sidewalktribal.com.au. (By the way, both websites sell these aprons, and Ann also has a killer collection of photos of  artifacts on her flickr account.)

Apron from the Kirdi people of Cameroon. Courtesy of Africadirect.com

Continue reading...

Masters Art Quilts, Vol. 2 Artist Gallery! (2 of 2)

September 02, 2011, 23:52 pm  Posted by needlearts

As promised last week, we’re pleased to be able to share with you some more lovely pieces from Masters Art Quilts, Vol. 2! You’ll find plenty of fantastic quilts from the second half of the book’s artists in the gallery below. Did you miss the first half? You can check it out here.

If you haven’t seen our blog hop giveaways for this book around the net lately you can check out the list of links, dates, and participating blogs here. There are  plenty of opportunities to enter for chances to win your own copy of Masters Art Quilts, Vol. 2 signed by Martha Sielman!



Free Project Friday: Pinning Zoo

September 02, 2011, 16:03 pm  Posted by needlearts

It’s been fun, but our giveaways and free downloads for 100 Pretty Little Projects are drawing to a close. If you’re reading this today (September 2), there’s still a few hours to join the last book giveaway!

If not, you can still wander over and download some of the other free projects we’ve posted. We recently shared the Scorchin’ potholder from Aimee Ray. And before that we had the Spot On pillow from Malka Dubrawsky.

This week, for our last download, we have a pincushion project! These little animals are great friends to keep around your sewing room. And the project includes instructions for the pincushions AND the templates for the embroidery designs. Of course, you can also substitute one of your own designs for a custom pincushion of your own. But who could pass up making that squirrel?

100 Pretty Little Projects

Download the project here.

Download the embroidery templates here.


Go Haywire with these Instructions!

September 02, 2011, 11:45 am  Posted by Lark

Every Friday, I post a set of free instructions.

If you’ve got nothing to do over the Labor Day weekend, I’ve got just the ticket: these lovely and easy-to-make wire bracelets designed by Kathy Frey. They’re called Haywire Bangles.

These are from Kathy’s book Elegant Wire Jewelry. Click here to get your free PDF of the instructions.

And have a great holiday weekend!


PUSH. A New Gallery Series is Born!

September 02, 2011, 08:00 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

Aerial Adventures by Jayme McGowan. Published in PUSH Paper.

We are beyond thrilled to introduce you to our new gallery series, PUSH, with the release of the first two books in the series: PUSH Paper and PUSH Stitchery, coming to a bookstore near you on September 6th.

Take a look at these gorgeous 176-page books! Each cover features a die-cut arrow and offers a glimpse of artwork by Jen Stark for PUSH Paper and Emily Eibel for PUSH Stitchery. You’ll have to open the books to see the rest of the cover images, but be sure to read on for an exclusive sneak peek of some of the other amazing work you’ll find inside. AND . . .  check back next week for a special giveaway of both of these books.

Each volume of PUSH features the work of 30 contemporary artists working with traditional mediums and pushing the boundaries of their craft. Through lush color photos and incredible detail shots, plus a provocative Q&A between artist and juror, PUSH is a celebration of the innovation, imagination, and the fearlessness of these remarkable artists.

From PUSH Paper, clockwise: Helen Musselwhite, Michael Velliquette, Chris Gilmour, Shin Tanaka

From PUSH Stitchery: Robert Forman

From PUSH Stitchery (L-R): Gillian Bates, Luke Haynes

Continue reading...