Quick Last-Minute-Yet-Awesome Gifts to Make

December 19, 2011, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark

Have you ever double-checked your gift list only to find that you’ve forgotten Aunt Mamie? Or what about the Secret Santa party at the office? Don’t stress, quickie gift relief is here. There’s some super-duper clever ideas out there and I’ve had a terrific time gathering some of my favorites. You might want to make a couple of them to keep on hand just in case the neighbor down the street suddenly presents you with a surprise pound cake…


(L) Revamp a tee, adding pretty flowers and some ruffles made with gathering stitches and a few strips of tee material. Okay, full disclosure: don’t wait until the very last minute to make this feminine shirt as it does require a bit of time, but is oh so worth it. From Tea Rose Home.

(R) Maggie Weldon presses doilies into air-dry clay to create fanciful dishes and plates. More information about how she does it at Strictly Simple Style.


(L) A mini book, either blank or filled with your prose or sketches will be appreciated by the book-lover on your list. From Ruth Bleakley.

(C) The music lover will appreciate this nifty little case to house their earbuds, keeping them tangle-free. Erin Erickson tells you how at her blog Dog Under My Desk.

(R) How fun are these?! Not only will the sweet tooth on your list be satisfied, but they can use the cookie cutters to create their own tasty treats. From timeless Betty Crocker.

More simple gift ideas after the jump…

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We’ve asked some of our authors, contributors, and favorite people in the jewelry community to recommend the best jewelry books, and we’re putting them all together right here 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.

Our newest list is from Alison Lee of CraftCast, joining the lists of Thomas Mann, Barbara Becker Simon, Stacie Hooder, Pauline Warg, and Ingeborg Vandamme. Also, you’re welcome to see our lists of best books for beaders.

Please enjoy, share the link widely, and leave a comment on this post with the jewelry books you’d recommend to jewelers and crafters. Join the Lark Jewelry & Beading community on Facebook, too.

Alison Lee

List No. 6: Alison Lee

Alison Lee is the founder and host of CRAFTCAST, a website and community for live online crafting classes and video downloads from the top teachers in a range of crafts, including jewelry and beading.

Metal Clay Beads by Barbara
Becker Simon

This is one of my absolute favorite books! Endless inspiration and techniques inside. I go back to this book often.



21st Century Jewelry by Marthe Le Van

This book is pure inspiration! I love having this kind of eye candy available when I need it.




30-Minute Earrings by Marthe Le Van

Another great book edited by Marthe Le Van. Lots of great ideas that you can copy or use as a jumping off point to get yourself creatively moving.





Chains Chains Chains by Joanna Gollberg and Nathalie Mornu

I love making chains, so I really appreciated Joanna and Nathalie’s book, which takes a fresh look at some classic patterns. Lots of current new looks to get inspired by.




Barbara Becker Simon

List No. 5: Barbara Becker Simon

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The Gift of Inspiration – gallery book bundle giveaway!

December 14, 2011, 16:02 pm  Posted by Lark

What better gift to give than inspiration – for yourself or someone dear. How about 1800 pages of felted, stitched, and quilted inspiration? That’s right: we’re offering PUSH Stitchery, 500 Felt Objects, 500 Art Quilts, Masters Art Quilts Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 – all to one lucky winner!

To enter to win this gallery book bundle, please leave a comment on this post by 9 p.m. EST on Monday, December 19. Any comment is fine—though we’d love to hear what you found inspiring this year (an artist, a trend, a single piece, etc.). One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and notified by Tuesday, December 20. Click here for the official rules.

Comments are now closed! Thanks so much for sharing where you find inspiration… your answers were inspiring! The winner will be announced soon.


Giving Handmade: Holiday Paper Lanterns

December 13, 2011, 08:32 am  Posted by Lark

We like the fact that this time of year means many things for many people, whether you’re decking the halls, lighting candles, singing with joy, or designing your own unique traditions (no matter how chilly or balmy it may be in your neck of the woods).


While we all choose to celebrate and acknowledge this time of year differently, one of the ways in which we can add festivity and beauty to our surroundings it through the warmth and brightness of lights.


Susan Wasinger, the author of Eco Craft, has a lovely suggestion for transforming traditional strings of lights into softly glowing lanterns. Through simple folding, you can create pretty paper boxes and affix them to the lights in your home. Susan suggests using old sheet music—I bet you’ll come up with additional clever ideas for your paper inspiration.


Download a free PDF of these Paper Lanterns for Holiday Lights, and learn more about Eco Craft here.

Paper Lanterns for Holiday Lights

Wishing you merry and bright holidays!


The Great Viking Holiday Giveaway

December 12, 2011, 10:47 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

Jared Andrew Schorr is a super cool illustrator and paper artist with an Esty shop fittingly called Super Cool Spy Club and a website designed from his charming paper cut art (check it: www.jaredandrewschorr.com, it’s like walking into an old school movie theater made of paper!). He’s also one of the thirty artists included in PUSH Paper with pieces that showcase his use of bright color and great sense of humor.

A few months back I fell in love with one of Jared’s small, one-of-a-kind papercuts on his Etsy shop and snapped it up. As an extra special gesture, Jared sent us one of his original papercuts and a few additional goodies, and I’ve been saving them for a special holiday giveaway for our readers.

Here’s what you’ll get if you win The Great Viking Holiday Giveaway (read on for a chance to enter):

* Jared’s original papercut Viking artwork, shown at the top of the post and below. (Oh, and check out the other artworks in this series, from Jared’s blog)

* A copy of PUSH Paper, featuring Jared and 29 other extraordinary paper artists

* An adorable pocket mirror with a print of one of Jared’s papercuts












To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment by 10 pm EST on Monday, December 19th. I’m curious to know what you’d like to see Jared cut from paper, or to hear your thoughts about PUSH Paper or even what paper arts you’re working on for the holidays. One winner will be selected at random and announced on Tuesday, December 20th. Click here for the official rules.

Good luck, and may your holidays be filled with warmth and cheer, to your viking!


It’s a Wrap: Quick & Easy DIY Gift Wrapping Ideas

December 11, 2011, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark

If you’re anything like me, the manner in which a gift is packaged can be just as important as the item inside. Why not show the same sense of thoughtfulness and generosity in the aesthetics of giving as in the gesture? And let’s be honest here, folks, sometimes a rather simple token of affection and appreciation can really be elevated to something much more when enveloped in pretty and showy attire. A beautiful bow, some ribbon, or a handmade paper wrap can make all the difference. I therefore gift to you a collection of some of my personal favorite (incredibly simple!) DIY gift wrapping ideas I’ve spotted out there in the creative blogosphere. All of these ideas are accompanied by helpful step-by-step tutorials to make your seasonal giving just a little bit easier. Just click on the links below each image!

L to R: A Spoonful of Sugar, A Pair of Pears, MinieCo, Daisyley, Dana Made It

A Spoonful of Sugar: Transform Japanese washi tape into a colorful, playful design.

A Pair of Pears: Utilize simple (but elegant) ideas in paper, yarn, and twine.

MiniCo: All you need is brown paper and a silver pen to create something artful and modern.

Daiseyley: Thread twine through bay leaves or another fragrant leaf for a gift with eco flair.

Dana Made It: Whip up beautiful ribbon out of fabric scraps for a colorful finishing touch.


We’re doing another major giveaway for the holidays: this time the prize is a bundle of 38 favorite Lark Jewelry & Beading jewelry books. The set will form a great, diverse library for jewelers and crafters of all kinds, an orange grove’s worth of creative juice. And, if you happen to have some — or many — of the books already, this set will expand your holiday gift-giving ambitions, so your arms are filled with presents for your friends who are jewelers or crafters.

The books in the jewelry bundle are:
21st Century Jewelry: The Best of the 500 Series
30-Minute Earrings
30-Minute Necklaces
30-Minute Rings
500 Silver Jewelry Designs
The Art & Craft of Making Jewelry
The Art of Enameling
The Art of Jewelry: Polymer Clay
Bronze Metal Clay
Chain Mail Jewelry
Chains Chains Chains
Color, Texture & Casting for Jewelers
Contemporary Bead & Wire Jewelry
Creative Silver Chains
Elegant Wire Jewelry
Fabulous Jewelry from Found Objects
Fabulous Woven Jewelry
Felted Jewelry
French-Inspired Jewelry
Jewelry Design Challenge
Leather Jewelry
Making Metal Beads
Masters: Gold
Metal Clay Beads
Metal Jewelry Made Easy
Mixed Metal Jewelry Workshop
New Directions in Metal Clay
The New Jewelry
The Penland Book of Jewelry
Prefab Jewelry
Ring a Day
Simple Soldered Jewelry & Accessories
Steel Wire Jewelry
Stitched Jewels
The Ultimate Jeweler’s Guide
Wood Jewelry
Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet

(See the covers of most of the books below, and click on them to find out more.) How can you enter for a chance to win this fantastic bundle of 38 books? It’s easy: Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 14. Any comment will do, but it would be great if you’d tell us what you like best about making — or wearing — jewelry.

One winner will be selected at random and announced on Friday, December 16. Click here for the official rules. Thank you for being a part of the Lark Jewelry & Beading community, and please connect with Lark Jewelry & Beading on Facebook.


21st Century Jewelry: The Best of the 500 SeriesRing a Day: 700 Photos from a 365 Day Jewelry ChallengeThe Penland Book of Jewelry: Master Classes in Jewelry Techniques

30-Minute Earrings: 60 Quick & Creative Projects for JewelersSimple Soldered Jewelry & Accessories: A Crafter's Guide to Fashioning Necklaces, Earrings, Bracelets & MoreThe New Jewelry: Contemporary Materials & Techniques (Arts and Crafts (Lark Books))Metal Jewelry Made Easy: A Crafter's Guide to Fabricating Necklaces, Earrings, Bracelets & More (A Lark Jewelry Book)30-Minute Necklaces: 60 Quick & Creative Projects for Jewelers (30-Minute Series)30-Minute Rings: 60 Quick & Creative Projects for Jewelers (30-Minute Series)500 Silver Jewelry Designs: The Powerful Allure of a Precious Metal (500 Series)Anodized!: Brilliant Colors & Bold Designs for Aluminum Jewelry (Lark Jewelry Books)The Art & Craft of Making Jewelry: A Complete Guide to Essential Techniques (Lark Jewelry)The Art of Enameling: Techniques, Projects, InspirationThe Art of Jewelry: Polymer Clay: Techniques, Projects, InspirationChains Chains Chains: 25 Necklaces, Bracelets & EarringsColor, Texture & Casting for Jewelers: Hands-On Demonstrations & Practical ApplicationsBronze Metal Clay: Explore a New Material with 35 Projects (Lark Jewelry Books)Chain Mail Jewelry: Contemporary Designs from Classic Techniques (Lark Jewelry)Contemporary Bead & Wire Jewelry (Lark Jewelry Books)Steel Wire Jewelry: Stylish Designs * Simple Techniques * Artful InspirationCreative Silver Chains: 20 Dazzling DesignsElegant Wire Jewelry: Contemporary Designs & Creative Techniques (Lark Jewelry Books)Fabulous Jewelry from Found Objects: Creative Projects, Simple Techniques (Lark Jewelry Books)Fabulous Woven Jewelry: Plaiting, Coiling, Knotting, Looping & Twining with Fiber & Metal (Lark Jewelry Books)Felted Jewelry: 20 Stylish Designs (Lark Jewelry Books)French-Inspired Jewelry: Creating with Vintage Beads, Buttons & BaublesJewelry Design Challenge: 10 Materials * 30 Artists * 30 Spectacular Projects (Lark Jewelry Books)Leather Jewelry: 30 Contemporary Projects (Lark Jewelry Books)Making Metal Beads: Techniques, Projects, Inspiration (Lark Jewelry Books)Wood Jewelry: 30 Stylish Projects (Lark Jewelry Books)Metal Clay Beads: Techniques, Projects, Inspiration (Lark Jewelry Book)Masters: Gold: Major Works by Leading ArtistsMixed Metal Jewelry Workshop: Combining Sheet, Clay, Mesh, Wire & More (Lark Jewelry Books)New Directions in Metal Clay: Intermediate Techniques: Stone Setting, Enameling, Surface Design & More (A Lark Jewelry Book)Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet: Making Designer Metal Jewelry (Lark Jewelry Books)Prefab Jewelry: Easy Projects Using Readymade Parts (Lark Jewelry Books)Stitched Jewels: Jewelry That's Sewn, Stuffed, Gathered & FrayedThe Ultimate Jeweler's Guide: The Illustrated Reference of Techniques, Tools & Materials (Lark Jewelry Books)


Giving Handmade: Felt Blooms Wreath

December 09, 2011, 11:01 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

In December there’s usually a lot of talk about making presents and things to give away. But the truth is, this is also a fine time of year to make some new stuff for yourself.

Ok, so maybe that’s not the traditional holiday spirit. But just one thing here or there doesn’t hurt. Especially when it’s something that makes your house or apartment even more welcoming for guests during the holidays.

Today’s free project is just such a thing. It’s a nice, festive holiday treat that you can justify making for yourself–just think of all the guests who will enjoy it too! And you can always give it away after a party if someone just “has to have it.”

The Felt Blooms Wreath comes from Jennifer Fitzsimmons (you may already know about her store, Itz Fitz).

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Making Candy: Fruit Jam Jellies

December 08, 2011, 11:13 am  Posted by Lark

You know that moment when you actually complete a task/project/endeavor that had seemed sort of complex in the beginning (and therefore kind of tricky), and you weren’t sure if it was going to turn out the way you’d hoped? I’m talking about the moment when you realize that you did make something awesome and the process went according to plan—essentially, you succeeded. That moment.

Cooking the syrup

Well, the other day I experienced that kind of moment—that feeling of “Oh, cool! I followed the instructions for something I’d never made before, and it turned out just as I’d hoped!” It occurred when Nicole and I decided to make the recipe for Fruit Jam Jellies from Nina Wanat’s Sweet Confections: Beautiful Candy to Make at Home. We’d never made this kind of candy before, which turned it into an adventure. We followed the instructions, jumped right in, and—voila! Tasty and pretty candy. Sweet.

Cooling the candy

I thought you might like to give it a whirl, too, so I’m including the recipe for Fruit Jam Jellies here as a downloadable PDF.

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Light up your craft space – Ottlite Review & Giveaway!

December 07, 2011, 10:46 am  Posted by Lark

How much time a week do you spend in your crafty space? Right…. probably a lot! I know I do, and I’m just getting settled into a new space after moving this summer. There’s a lot to consider when you’re putting together a craft space that reflects your style and – probably most importantly – serves you well. There are storage options to consider – especially for us fabric-a-holics – and work stations to build, design walls to mount and spool holders to hang… and then adjustments that happen after you’ve actually started working there, all until you get your space just right for you.

One thing that threw me for a loop in my new space was lighting – lovely during the day but rather wretched at night. The track lighting overhead that serves as my main source of light throws some pretty dark shadows throughout my space. Have you ever picked out what seemed like “perfect” fabrics at night only to find they weren’t so perfect the next day? Me too! But I couldn’t figure out why that was happening…

(Read more and enter to win after the jump!)

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