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Free Project: Felt Headband for New Year’s Eve

December 29, 2011, 08:04 am  Posted by Beth Sweet
 

Still thinking about the perfect adornment to complete your New Year’s Eve ensemble? Look no further: here’s a fun, customizable, easy-to-start (and equally easy to finish) project to bedeck tresses of any style.

 

Whether you’re sporting a fancy up-do, a tousled nest of loose curls, or a sleek side ponytail, this festive felt headband completes any party look.

 

Here’s a free PDF of Elsie Larson’s Chunky & Leafy Felt Headband from Signature Styles. Pick up some elasticized ribbon, choose two colors of felt from your stash, and add simple embroidery stitches to bring it all together. Easy, lovely, and so very 2012.

 

 
 
 
 
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Free Project: Handmade Rosette Bib Necklace

December 27, 2011, 08:32 am  Posted by Beth Sweet
 

When I was growing up, my family would awake on Christmas morning, celebrate, and then pile into the station wagon (later upgraded to a minivan) and drive a staggering 8 hours in the snow to visit family. Then two days later we’d drive another 4 hours to visit more family. And then there was the drive home afterward. Needless to say, my siblings and I really embraced car crafts and car games—remember how there were no personal dvd players or car “theaters” in the 80s? Yeah, so do I.

 

I was recently reminiscing about those looooong car rides, and I got to thinking about the grown-up version of playing MadLibs and the License Plate Game for hours on end—what long-car-ride activities might we pursue now?

For those of us with a made-by-hand spirit, today’s Car Crafts 2.0 might look a lot like a petite embroidery project or a simple jewelry endeavor—crafting as we ride in the car, watching the road fly by one stitch at a time.

Since the holidays are a time of year when many of us make great pilgrimages to see loved ones, it’s also a nice time to pack a little craftiness when you buckle up for a long drive.

So if you’re planning a drive this holiday season, why not combine car crafts with some New Year’s prettiness—download the free project PDF of Megan Nicolay’s “Pick Me” Rosette Bib Necklace (from Signature Styles) and create a gorgeous accessory perfect for ringing in 2012.

 

I’ll bet you can whip up one of these beauties en route before needing a second tank of gas.

 
 
 
 
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Free Holiday Projects Roundup!

December 25, 2011, 14:23 pm  Posted by Amanda Carestio
 

Not ready to get out of holiday crafting mode yet? Or perhaps you just want to get a head start on next year? Here’s a roundup of all the free holiday projects we’ve shared this month, all in one handy dandy place.

Woolen Tree Trio

Oh, Christmas Trees Ornaments

Felt Blooms Wreath

Sweet Trio Ornaments

Toadstool Ornaments

Sewn Tablet/Ereader Case

Gingerbread Men Embroidered Apron

Holiday Shopping List Taker

We so hope we’ve added a little handmade merriment to your celebrations this year… and beyond. Happiest of holidays to you and yours from the needlearts team!

 
 
 
 
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Super Fast Felt Stockings

December 23, 2011, 14:05 pm  Posted by Amanda Carestio
 

When it comes to fast crafting, felt is – or will be soon! – your best friend. It’s relatively inexpensive, easy to work with, and you don’t have to worry about raveling. Not sold yet? Well consider this: there’s no limit to how you can use it! It’s perfect for applique, dimensional work, or my personal favorite, combining it with print fabrics…and for last-minute crafting, should you need some ideas, you know,  for a friend. (Wink, wink: we’re absolutely certain you’ve finished all your handmade goodies this year! And if not, your secret’s safe with us.).

Made for quick crafting, stitch up this fast and fun Hexy Stocking from Stash Happy Felt.

Or have fun with felt baubles with this simple and scrappy Cheery and Bright stocking by Laura Howard.

 
 
 
 
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We’ve asked some of our authors, contributors, and favorite people in the beading community to recommend the very best beading and jewelry books, and we’re stacking these lists all together for you. The books might be ones they especially treasure and love, that affected their own work or development, or simply books they’d recommend as excellent, helpful, and instructive.

Click here to see an earlier post featuring the first eight lists, from Diane Fitzgerald, Jean Campbell, Sabine Lippert, Margie Deeb, Kathy King, Carol Dean Sharpe, Jennifer VanBenschoten, and Jill Wiseman.

Our newest list is from Amy Katz, joining the wishlists of Margo C. Field, Diane Hyde, Melissa Grakowsky, Jean Power, and Paulette Baron. We’ll keep updating this post with new lists in the days to come.

Please enjoy, share the link widely, and leave a comment on this post with the beading and jewelry books you recommend yourself. Join the Lark Jewelry & Beading community on Facebook, too!

Amy Katz

List No. 14: Amy Katz

Amy’s website is beadjourney.com. She writes:

I decided to look at this list as if I was stranded on a desert island (with all my beads of course), and upon my arrival my books were sinking. Which ones would I save not knowing if I’d ever see another living soul? I know I’d never run out of beads (I have bought more than my lifetime’s worth). I think all true bead addicts can relate to that. So if it was going to be me and my beads isolated for an undisclosed period of time or perhaps forever, here are the books that I couldn’t live without. Happy holidays to all!

 

 

 

1.  Creating Glamorous Jewelry with Swarovski Elements by Jean Campbell

I love this book. Jean has taken the jewels of the famous and translated them to beadwork. What a wonderfully creative concept that to me is so inspiring.

 

 

 

2.  500 Beaded Objects

This is truly a sea of beautiful projects from some of the finest artists of our time. Looking at the photos gives me so much inspiration to create and move forward with my art.

 

 

 

3.  The Art of Bead Embroidery by Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini and Sherry Serafini’s Sensational Bead Embroidery

It’s a tie! I’d save both of these beautiful books. I love the way Heidi and Sherry compared their views of the art in the former book, but it’s also nice to have one of Sherry’s solo compositions. These two are true companion books if you want an in-depth view of bead embroidery.

 

4.  Beaded Colorways by Beverly Gilbert

This book really opened my eyes to the beauty of color. The way it is written actually demonstrates the use of color that in my mind is a very difficult concept to get across. It is uniquely and beautifully done.

 

 

 

5.  Rachel Nelson-Smith’s Bead Riffs

I really enjoyed the way Rachel mixed her love of jazz with her love of beads. There is really passion in this book from both of her creative sides, which makes it very special for me.

 

 

 

 

6.  Beading Across America by Paulette Baron, Amy Katz,
and Sherry Serafini

I have to tout my own book, not for the “me” factor at all but for the “we” factor. This book features projects from some of the greatest artists of our time. It is a sampler of projects designed to inspire people to look at their work in a new light. It also features a huge variety of stitches that makes for a great learning opportunity. I can’t even begin to describe how much I’ve learned about the art of beadwork just from being a part of this publication.

 

 

Margo C. Field

List No. 13: Margo C. Field

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Giving Handmade: Woolen Tree Trio

December 22, 2011, 11:57 am  Posted by needlearts
 

Are you hosting the holidays this year? Or are you traveling for them? Either way, a few extra holiday decorations would fit right in. These trees, designed by Lindy Cline (aka PLY Textiles) for Stash Happy: Felt, would make a classy centerpiece, too! Just add a couple handmade wax LED candles to the mix.

Perhaps more than any other project we’ve shared, these are the ultimate stash-buster. Have scraps of felt? Make the medium tree. Only have yarn? Make the big one instead! Or just grab that stray bit of roving and whip up the tiny tree. No matter what you’ve got in your drawers or bins, there’s a (tree) wrap for that.

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Oh, Christmas Trees ornaments designed by Ula Phelep from Fa La La La Felt by Amanda Carestio

Oh, Christmas Trees ornaments designed by Ula Phelep (from Fa La La La Felt)

Can you believe Christmas is only four days away? If you’re feeling the deadline pressure, don’t fret! You can still give handmade with these simple Christmas tree ornaments from Fa La La La Felt. They’ll make perfect gifts for the snazzy, funky folks in your life!

Oh, Christmas Trees project instructions are available here.

Oh, Christmas Trees template is here.

Happy giving, everyone! May your holidays be filled with love and good cheer.

 
 
 
 
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Sweet Finds: Peppermint Recipes

December 21, 2011, 08:45 am  Posted by Beth Sweet
 

Holiday treats—oh la la! Now is one of the best times of year for sweets, hands down. People make delicious, beautiful, over-the-top, meant-to-be-shared confections all season long, and I whole-heartedly support it. Seriously: nice job, oh ye dessert-makers. Standing ovation.

 

From hot cocoa to cookies, and hot toddies to eggnog, the winter holidays are designed to put a perpetual smile on our faces. One mainstay flavor shines especially brightly during this time of year: peppermint—that cool, refreshing taste synonymous with candy canes, soothing tea, and those cute little after-dinner pinwheels of red and white.

 

As I went on a hunt for peppermint-y sweets, I realized just how versatile this flavor can be! I also realized a universal truth: peppermint and chocolate belong together. They’re like Sonny and Cher, PB and J, Bert and Ernie, Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley—they complete each other. This is why you’ll notice a fair amount of chocolate and mint business happening in the links that follow—the food visionaries behind the recipes know their stuff, and they elevate peppermint to gorgeous, clever, decadent heights.

 

In celebration of the holidays and in praise of peppermint, here are some links to recipes that just might have you racing to the kitchen for some treat-making adventures of your own.

 

And for those of us who really embrace this time of year as a benchmark of deliciousness? Rock on, holiday sweet tooth, rock on.

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Peppermint Hot Chocolate :: from two tarts

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Three-Layer Peppermint Bark :: from Orangette

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Chocolate Peppermint Roll with Chocolate Ganache :: from Joy the Baker

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Homemade Peppermint Patties :: from Krissy’s Creations

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Fudgy York Peppermint Patty Brownies :: from sweet anna’s

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Peppermint Bark Smookies :: from What’s Gaby Cooking

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Peppermint Stick Torte with Hot Fudge Sauce :: from The Galley Gourmet

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Peppermint Rice Krispies Treats Snowballs :: from She Wears Many Hats

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Peppermint simple syrup for Peppermint Mochas :: from Cook Like a Champion

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(and because you have to love teeny tiny mustaches)

Mustachioed Marshmallow Snowmen :: from the decorated cookie

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Giving Handmade: Sweet Trio Ornaments

December 20, 2011, 12:55 pm  Posted by Amanda Carestio
 

Handmade ornaments are one of my favorite things to make during the holidays… what better to put you in the spirit of the season! These adorable teeny embroidery hoops by Cathy Gaubert – from Fa La La La Felt - are the perfect mini craft project for holidays, especially if you’ll be spending any time on the road. And they’re perfect for kid crafting if they’d like to get involved. Just hoop up the felt and stitch away!

Download the full instructions here: Sweet Trio Ornaments

 
 
 
 
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Some of my more tech-savvy friends have long since bought an e-ink reader or a Nook Color. But this year, it seems like even my mom is interested in something to tote around that can do it all. I never thought we’d be talking about things like the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet as gifts for her.

But I’m a fan of these hybrid devices. There’s something that just feels right about the 8-inch size. Unlike a smart phone, the regions on the screen are easy for me to tap. No more trying to click a link and feeling like I have lobster claws instead of hands. But as a lifetime paperback reader, the 8-inch size is in some ways preferable to the larger 10-inch tablet screens too. It feels more manageable to hold in different ways and read for a couple hours. I just can’t imagine doing that with a bigger screen.

That brings me to the case. There’s more and more options out there every day for this unique size (I

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