Sew Merry! Book Giveaway

November 30, 2011, 15:25 pm  Posted by Lark

So, friends, the holiday crafting season is in full swing… or has been for weeks if you planned well! Every year, I find myself with lofty goals for handmade goodies, spend a good bit of time figuring out just what to make, and then I promptly make myself half crazy trying to finish everything before the holiday (which usually involves at least a few one-week-later gifts). Sound familiar?

This year, I’ve forgone all of that…but I salute everyone who’s hard at work sewing handmade gifts. May your needles be swift, your fabric enough, and your sewing space filled to the gills with merriment! To celebrate your holiday craftiness, we’re offering a sewing book bundle giveaway, with loads of projects perfect for making and giving.

Enter below for a chance to win these books: 100 Pretty Little Projects, Stash Happy Felt and Patchwork, Pretty in Patchwork Doll Quilts, Fa La la La Felt, Sewn by Hand, and Book of Bags.

To be entered, please leave a comment on this post by 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 7. Any comment is fine—though we’d love to hear what holiday gifts you’re sewing this year. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and notified by Friday, December 9. Comments for this giveaway are closed! We’ll announce the winner soon.

Click here for the official rules.


Top 50 Holiday Season Icons to Stitch: Vote!

November 28, 2011, 18:21 pm  Posted by needlearts
Sugar Village Tea Towel from Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays

Sugar Village Tea Towel from Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays (The ebook is available now – click image!)

In honor of the handmade holiday spirit, we want to find out your top holiday season icons to stitch! Whether it’s an embroidered Grinch on some handmade sewn stockings, a plush knitted snowman, or that funky crocheted Santa hat, we all have those special seasonal signs that really get us in the spirit. We put together a list of 50. Now you vote for your favorites!

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Felt Gingerbread House & Tree Ornaments Giveaway

November 28, 2011, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark

We have a fun felt gingerbread house giveaway that beats any Cyber Monday deal. With Thanksgiving behind us the Christmas season is now officially in full swing. Jeanette Lim, felt artist extraordinaire, owner of the Etsy shop umecrafts, and author of Big Little Felt Universe, has generously provided us with a crazy-cute Christmas set to give away. The felt set includes nine cute-as-a-button ornaments (one being an enigmatic Christmas pickle), two gingerbread cookies and a “glass” of milk for Santa, and a gingerbread house brightly decorated with candy canes, gumdrops, and piped icing. The roof of the house even lifts off so you can store the ornaments inside! How clever is that?


To be entered for a chance to win the holiday felt set (gingerbread house, ornaments, cookies, and glass of milk), please leave a comment on this post by 9 p.m. EST on Friday, December 09. Any comment is fine—though we’d love to hear what kind of crafting you do for the holidays…gifts, decorations for your home, handmade cards, etc.! One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and notified by Tuesday, December 13.

Click here for the official rules.


Gift Idea: Handmade Scarves & Neck Warmers

November 26, 2011, 10:00 am  Posted by Lark

Every year, as Autumn makes her grand entrance on the stage, I gleefully start digging through closets and drawers pulling out my collection of scarves. From September through March, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find my neck adorned with some sort of comforting swath of fabric. Sure, it’s about keeping warm as the mercury drops, but it’s also about donning some of the most beautiful, eye-catching, handcrafted accessories around. I’ve always thought that scarves make for really wonderful holiday gifts. Not only are they wearable pieces of handmade art, but they also show the recipient that you want to provide them with comfort and warmth through the colder months.

And so, with the trees barren, the wind picking up, and holiday gift-giving and Winter just around the corner, I turned to Etsy to scour for ever more neck warmers to add to my growing collection. What follows are some of my personal favorites. Make sure to take a peek after the jump for a larger image of each piece.

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Giving Handmade: Holiday Shopping List Holder

November 23, 2011, 10:45 am  Posted by needlearts

The crowds, the traffic, the cost…shopping around the holidays can always use little things to make the day better.

Of course, around these parts we’re all about making things by hand for gifts (have you noticed that fancy blog header?). But the reality is we all have lots to buy in the next few weeks too. I know even though I’m busy making things, I’ve already been to the grocery store twice this week and it’s not over yet!

Whether you’re headed to grab (yet more) food or downtown, today’s free project is a nice shopping companion. It holds not only your precious lists, but also other important paper scraps: coupons, business cards, sticky notes, etc.

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Doll Quilt contest results!

November 22, 2011, 15:36 pm  Posted by Lark

That’s right: the votes have been tallied and the results are in…

First place goes to Autumn Circle, by Jolene at Blue Elephant Stitches.

Second place goes to One for Me, by Suzanne.

And third place goes to Expectro Patronum!, by Amanda Hall.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. And thank you to Sew, Mama, Sew for partnering with us on this! The entries were absolutely amazing! See more of them here: Doll Quilt Contest group pool.


Giving Handmade: Gift-Giving by Hand

November 21, 2011, 16:44 pm  Posted by Lark

Happy Holidays, friends! ‘Tis the season for gratitude, joy, and delighting in the company of folks we love. It’s also the season of gift-giving, and for those of us with a bit of a crafty streak, it’s the time of year to be making the handmade gifts we’ll give to friends and family (those lucky ducks).


Whether you’ve been planning your holiday gifts since this time last year, or you’re just now starting to dip your toes into the holiday spirit, we’re right there with you. That’s why we’re excited about our season of Giving Handmade blog posts: we’ll be celebrating the holidays “by hand” with gift ideas, tutorials, free project PDFs, tasty recipes, editors’ picks, author insights, and creative takes on what makes this time of year very merry.


Here’s our current list of the Giving Handmade posts–we hope it inspires you to create and share some holiday cheer:

Sweet Finds: Peppermint Recipes

Giving Handmade: Sweet Trio Embroidery Ornaments

Giving Handmade: Sewn Case for a Tablet/E-reader

Quick Last-Minute (Yet Awesome) Holiday Gifts to Make

Gallery Book Bundle Giveaway: Felted, Stitched, and Quilted Inspiration

Free Project: Holiday Paper Lanterns

The Great Viking Holiday Giveaway

It’s a Wrap: DIY Gift-Wrapping Ideas

Giveaway of 38 Jewelry Books

Holiday Wishlists for Jewelry Books: Lists from Lark’s Jewelry Authors  

Giving Handmade: Felt Blooms Wreath Project

Making Candy: A Recipe for Fruit Jam Jellies from “Sweet Confections”

An Ottlite Craft Lamp Review & Giveaway

Free Project from Fa La La La Felt: A Thank You

The 5 Most Charming Fabric Gift Wrap Projects for the Holidays

Bead Book Giveaway: 21 Beading Books for the Holidays

Sew Merry! A Sewing Book Giveaway

Free Project from “Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays” – Gingerbread Men Apron

Holiday Wishlists for Beading Books: Lists from Lark’s Beading Authors

Gingerbread Houses: Photos & Links for Holiday Inspiration

Vote for Your Favorites: Top 50 Holiday Season Icons to Stitch

Giveaway of Felt Gingerbread House & Holiday Tree Ornaments

Gift Idea: Handmade Scarves & Neck Warmers

Giving Handmade: Project for a Holiday List Holder

Thanksgiving Deliciousness: A Recipe for Stuffed Pumpkins

Giving Handmade Kick-off: A Season of Gift-Giving by Hand (and a Giveaway)


*Keep an eye out for upcoming Giving Handmade posts through our Lark Crafts Twitter and Facebook updates. Happy holidays!



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Interview with Nina Wanat, author of Sweet Confections

November 17, 2011, 08:56 am  Posted by Lark

It’s that time of year, friends: fall is growing cooler, winter will soon be here, the holidays are upon us, and our thoughts turn to the delicious traditions of making, sharing, and enjoying food together. This is the time of year when we think about the gifts and treats we’ll make for one another (and hey, maybe even for ourselves), as well as the treats we look forward to receiving.

It’s a time of year for sweets—luscious, dreamy caramels; rich, decadent fudge; crispy, fragrant peanut brittle; billowy coconut nougat; light-as-air meringues; and even the savory side of mixed roasted nuts. Nina Wanat’s book, “Sweet Confections: Beautiful Candy to Make at Home,” celebrates the art of making these treats at home, right in your own kitchen, where you can taste-test share these gifts with loved ones near and far.

I was privileged to be the editor working with Nina on this book, and it was a sheer delight getting to know her (and learning about the delectable craft of candymaking). I thought it might be nice to sit down with her and learn a bit about the life of a chocolatier/author. Enjoy!


How would you describe the book “Sweet Confections” to someone who hasn’t yet read it?

Nina :: “Sweet Confections” is a candymaking cookbook that novices should find accessible and experts should find interesting.  If you’ve never made candy before, you’ll be able to do it correctly following the instructions, and if you have experience, you’ll appreciate the variations and ways that the recipes incorporate different flavors.

There are recipes for traditional favorites, such as toffee and chocolate fudge, that I tried to refine for contemporary palates – to make them more flavorful, and less sweet – as well as other candies, such as strawberry-lemonade marshmallows and pecan pie taffy, that are a bit more eclectic.

Nina Wanat, author of 'Sweet Confections'

You mention in the book’s introduction that making candy makes a person feel “like a kid with keys to a candy store.” How has that feeling developed for you throughout your candymaking career?

Nina :: When I started culinary school 6 years ago, I had never made candy before – and I wasn’t sure whether having been in a lot of candy stores would translate well into being able to make it! Peanut butter fudge was the first recipe assigned to me in confectionary class. I was a wreck throughout the process because I was worried that I was doing something wrong (and thinking “does that look right? I don’t know, maybe not…”), but then it was finally done and I cautiously tasted it. And it was amazing!  I felt exhilarated by that peanut butter fudge, and it gave me the confidence to try more recipes, and worry a bit less.

Once I realized that I could make candy, I felt a wonderful sense of freedom to start making candy exactly how I liked it.  My extra-curricular experiments started out at home, usually from a craving or a curiosity about a technique, and those recipes became the foundation for the handmade candy bar company that I founded in 2007.  It’s a wonderful accomplishment to be able to make something exactly suited to your tastes, and to have others enjoy it, too.

What is it about making candy that fits with your personality and entrepreneurial spirit? Do you think the act of making candy is suited to a certain type of creativity or persona?

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Pumpkin Pie the Long Way

November 16, 2011, 15:44 pm  Posted by Lark

It’s the time of year when Mom looks forward to my cooking! I’m no baker, but I love making pumpkin pie—and I go all out. Canned pumpkin is no good in my opinion, so I start with a fresh pumpkin. All sorts of pumpkins can be found at the local farmers market. This year I discovered a “peanut pumpkin,” so called for the rough numbly growths on its shell you can see in the above photo to the right. Kudos to anyone who can name all the pumpkin kinds shown. I used the long candy roaster for my first pumpkin pie of the season.

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Joyce Scott Exhibit

November 16, 2011, 13:06 pm  Posted by Lark

If you’re in New Orleans, be sure to check out a new exhibit of jewelry by legendary beader Joyce Scott, some of it in collaboration with jewelers Shana Kroiz and Lauren Schott. The show is at Thomas Mann‘s Gallery I/O.