Free Project Friday: Bunches of Bunnies!

March 30, 2012, 15:28 pm  Posted by Lark

We’re so enjoying celebrating the release of Heart-Felt Holidays… and we’re continuing the fun today with a bunch of soft, squeezable sewn bunnies, just in time for Easter. We’re sharing a few free projects from the book, plus a few other bunny projects from past posts. Best enjoyed with a handful of Easter candy!

We can’t get enough of this bunny (from Heart-Felt Holidays), created by super crafty Cathy Gaubert. Download the instructions here: Bunny Pal

Talk about bunches!?! What’s not to love about this adorable bunting, made by the seriously talented Dana Willard. Download the instructions here: Bunny Bunting

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Giveaway of Quilled Flowers & Paper Quilling Kit

March 30, 2012, 09:18 am  Posted by Lark

It’s spring! (Well, in western North Carolina it’s spring. Happy autumn, all you southern hemisphere folks.) Spring is such a joyful season: trees blossom overnight, birds and little critters celebrate the warming days, and the earth erupts with petals, leaves, and a cacophony of color. We’re joyful for spring because it marks the publication of Quilled Flowers by Alli Bartkowski—a celebration of paper quilling and 35 beautiful paper projects!

Quilled Flowers book, paper quilling kit, zinnia flowers

To celebrate the release of this gorgeous book, we’re hosting a giveaway! One lucky winner will receive:

A copy of Quilled Flowers; a kit of quilling tools and supplies to get you started; and three original quilled zinnia flowers made by Alli in the book! (These little beauties are perfect as gift toppers, as they’re just the right size for prettying up a package, envelope, or sweet little box.)

The quilling starter kit includes tools and materials manufactured by Alli’s quilling supply company, Quilled Creations:

-a slotted tool

-a needle tool

-a package of quilling paper in a rainbow of colors

-a 3-dimensional shaping tool (known as a mini mold)


This giveaway is closed–congratulations to Nimisha for being the winner!

To enter for a chance to win, please leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm EST on Friday, April 6. Any comment is fine, though I’d love to hear about your favorite flower—why do you love it? One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and notified by Friday, April 13.

Click here for the official rules.


Want to learn more about Alli and her creative inspiration? Read my interview with Alli Bartkowski here.


Curious about quilling? Visit my post explaining the art and exploring quilled work by a collection of artists.



Join us this month as we celebrate the release of Art Quilt Portfolio: The Natural World, a new book and series curated by Martha Sielman. We’ll share from the book, chat with a few artists, and feature a few giveaways …. so check back often!

Part of what we love so much about the Art Quilt Portfolio series is that you really get the best of both worlds: plenty of beautiful quilts and in-depth information and creative insights from the featured artists. Sometimes it’s easier to appreciate the artistry of a quilt if you have a deeper understanding of the quilt’s story or the quilt’s maker. And we sought to provide you with that in these beautiful pages. In case you want more, here’s a full list of the featured artists in The Natural World with links to their websites – happy exploring! And see below for more information about the giveaway!

Judith Trager

Paula Chung

Ginny Smith

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Ginny Eckley

Sally Dillon

Karen Illman Miller

Cassandra Williams

Betty Busby

Annie Helmericks-Louder

Dominie Nash

Katherine K. Allen

Annemieke Mein

Melani Kane Brewer

Ruth B. McDowell

Elaine Quehl

Dottie Moore

Nancy G. Cook

Barbara Barrick McKie

Patricia Gould

Inspired yet? Just wait until you take a peek inside the book! To enter for a chance to win a copy of Art Quilt Portfolio: The Natural World, please leave a comment on this post by 9 p.m. EST on Monday, April 2. Any comment is fine, but we’d love to hear about an art quilter who inspires you. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and notified by Tuesday, April 3. Click here for the official rules.

Comments are now closed for this giveaway. Thanks to everyone who entered and shared their inspiration!




Stitched Keum Boo Earrings project from Heat, Color, Set & Fire


Jeweler Mary Hettmansperger — known by her many fans and students as Mary Hetts — has written a new book for jewelers and crafters. Heat, Color, Set & Fire: Surface Effects for Metal Jewelry is officially an April publication, but it just released from our warehouse last week and should be arriving in local stores near you any day now, and of course you can already order the book online.

Mary lives in Peru, Indiana, and she teaches classes across the United States. She’s also one of Lark Jewelry & Beading‘s most popular authors, with more than 65,000 books in print with her fabulous library of teachings for jewelers: Fabulous Woven Jewelry (2006), Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet (2008), Mixed Metal Jewelry Workshop (2010), and now the brand new 2012 book Heat, Color, Set & Fire.

In the book, Mary teaches readers how to add color and texture to metal jewelry using a wide variety of low-tech approaches, including patinas, enameling, keum boo, copper etching, fusing, weaving, texturing with tools, and more. Twenty-one projects bring to life Mary’s approach to jewelry and design.

To get a sense of some of the contents, click here to get a PDF of the Liquid Enamel Necklace project and see a few designs from the book in an earlier blog post. You also can read an interview with Mary Hetts from a little while back with photos of some of her work.

To celebrate the release of Heat, Color, Set & Fire, we’re doing an exceptionally fabulous giveaway. We’re giving away two stylish pairs of earrings Mary made for the book: the Stitched Keum Boo Earrings with keum boo aceents on copper and the variation of those earrings; see the former at the top of this post and the latter at the bottom of it. We’ll select two winners and give each winner one of the pairs of beautiful earrings.

How can you enter for a chance to win one of the two pairs? Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Friday, March 30. Simply tell us why you’re excited by this book from Mary or what you like about Mary’s jewelry style and aesthetic. Please be sure to connect with Lark Jewelry & Beading on Facebook, too. One winner will be selected at random and announced on Wednesday, April 4. Click here for the official rules.


UPDATE: Congratulations to Teri Baskett of Jeffersonville, Indiana, and Maryanne Gross of Riva Maryland, winners of the earrings. They’ll also each receive a copy of Heat, Color, Set, & Fire. Our thanks to everyone who left a comment of gave a “Like”!


Variation earrings of the Stitched Keum Boo Earrings project in Heat, Color, Set & Fire


The Makery: Connecting NC Artists

March 21, 2012, 12:32 pm  Posted by Lark

At Lark Crafts, we’re pretty big fans of all things handmade, as well as the concept of handmade: something made by hand with a unique and heartfelt purpose. (We’re also located in the heart of downtown Asheville, North Carolina: a spot of beauty if ever there was one.) So it was really exciting to learn about The Makery, the craft business brainchild of sisters Sarah Rose, Brita, and Krista Nordgren, and its aim to connect North Carolina artists and art-lovers online and in the real world.

I had the privilege of chatting with Sarah Rose about The Makery, its mission, and the Kickstarter campaign designed to support it. I hope you enjoy hearing about these awesome gals and their very cool endeavors as much as I did, and make sure you check them out on their blog, website, Facebook, and Twitter! The Makery’s Kickstarter campaign runs through March 31st, and you can learn much more about it from Sarah Rose below.


The Makery logo

You’ve described your start-up as “The Makery: a sales website for art and crafts in North Carolina.” Can you describe this a bit more—maybe delve into the nuts and bolts, as well as the heart and soul of The Makery?

Of course! I’ll start with the heart and soul. The Makery is built on a passion for art and the creative spirit. We love the idea that people all over the state are pouring their talent and passion into making things with their hands. North Carolina has a great history of art and handcraft – from the textile and furniture industries to the famous Seagrove pottery – and we’re now seeing a resurgence of interest in high-quality handmade objects as people become disillusioned with mass-produced culture. It’s really a nationwide (and international!) movement, but we’re focusing on North Carolina because it’s our home state and the place to which we feel most connected.

As far as nuts and bolts are concerned, The Makery will combine e-commerce with buying local. The setup will be similar to sites like Fab.com or Groupon: people who are members of The Makery will have access to weekly deals on carefully selected items by that week’s three featured artists. We hope to become a trusted venue where buyers can purchase beautiful and unique items at a reduced price and be exposed to new artists that they may not have seen before, and where the featured artists will gain exposure and new fans.


Who are the people behind the wheel and in the engine room of the Makery, and how did you decide to work together on this project?

The people behind The Makery are me and my two sisters, Brita and Krista. I think we’ve all dreamed for years about having some big project that would bring the three of us together with our interests and passions, and it seems that we’ve finally found it! It started as a loose concept that has gradually built momentum over the past months, and we’re really excited about the direction things are taking.

Nordgren Sisters - The Makery

Brita, Krista, and Sarah Rose Nordgren

So you’re sisters! How cool is that. What is it about working together both creatively and as entrepreneurs that inspires and challenges you?

So far it’s been amazing to see how naturally we’ve been able to utilize each of our unique strengths and support each other to get things done. Brita is the real artist of the three of us. She is an amazing designer and papercut artist with backgrounds in art history and furniture design, so she provides a lot of our aesthetic direction. Krista is the natural entrepreneur and a major source of positive energy for the group, as well as being a good writer. Like our father (who’s a longtime entrepreneur and teaches creative entrepreneurship at Duke), Krista gets a contagious excitement about new ideas. For my part, I’m a writer (actually a poet), and I also have experience as a publicist, so I can bring those skills. I think I also keep the group focused since I’m very organized.

Our biggest challenge so far has been getting things done long-distance. We all live in different places right now so we have all our meetings via Skype! This summer we’re hoping to spend more time with the three of us in person, which will be nice.


The Makery is all about artists, crafters, and artisans in North Carolina, as well as the foundation of buying local. How does the concept of “local” resonate with you? What do you hope this focus brings to the makers and buyers who support The Makery?

The local focus is really what makes The Makery special. Even though we will be an online platform, our hope is that the connections we make between artists and art-lovers online will translate into real-world relationships – fellow artists connecting with each other to share ideas and resources, and people supporting makers at craft fairs and gallery openings, for example. When you purchase an item from The Makery, whether it’s for yourself or as a gift for Christmas or a baby shower, etc., you’ll not only be getting an awesome and unique product, but also one that was lovingly handmade by one of your own NC neighbors. Everybody wins!


Tell us about your Kickstarter campaign—what is your goal? How will the campaign make The Makery happen? What do we need to know in order to get involved and pledge to the campaign?

We’re very excited to be on Kickstarter (check out the cool video that Brita put together!), and we have our fingers crossed that we reach our funding goal by the March 31 deadline. The way Kickstarter works is that if you don’t get all of your funding in time you come away with nothing, so it’s really important that we raise the money we need in the next few days! Our funding goal is $4,450, which will cover most of our basic operations for our first year. For example, we need a fully functional online shop and email service, shipping supplies and stationary, and the legal fee for forming an LLC. For a new business our overhead is very low, but without the money we won’t be able to get our shop running. Right now we’re at about 40% of our goal with 10 days left, so we need more backers in order to succeed.

Take a moment to visit our Kickstarter page for more information and check out our video and the great rewards we’re offering to backers (like screen-printed tote bags and mix CDs of our favorite local bands). Every pledge, big or small, makes a difference! If you like what we’re doing, tell your craft-loving friends, family, and co-workers! We’d love your help spreading the word.


If you wrote an indie love song to the Makery, what would you write in the chorus? You know, the part of the song that people hear on their alarm when they wake up in the morning and then hum all day long.

Their hands made you, spun you,

hung you, painted you,

hammered and cut you,

stitched and taped you,

shaped you into my NC heart!


Thanks so much, Sarah Rose + Brita + Krista. We wish you great success in your vision for The Makery!

To learn more about Sarah Rose, Brita, Krista, and their endeavors with creating The Makery, find them here:

The Makery Kickstarter Campaignhttp://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1077765545/the-makery
The Makery Bloghttp://makeitnc.wordpress.com/
On Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/TheMakeryNC
On Twitterhttps://twitter.com/#!/TheMakeryNC


Sabine Lippert reports from Creativa!

March 20, 2012, 16:39 pm  Posted by Lark Jewelry & Beading

Sabine Lippert, author of Sabine Lippert’s Beaded Fantasies, writes from Germany:

Creativa is an annual design and craft show in Dortmund, the biggest one in Germany. In recent years, the organizers started the “Perlenexpo” — the bead exhibition — with one hall mainly dedicated to beading supplies.

This year for the first time, Creativa hosted a “designer village” in which international artists were invited to have little booths. Huib Petersen and Anna Elizabeth Draeger from the United States, Heather Kingsley Heath from England, and Hiroe Takagi from Japan were some of the renowned beaders exhibiting there.

I had a booth with my friend Claudia Schumann from Creanon (which will be publishing the German version of Sabine Lippert’s Beaded Fantasies and also published my earlier book, Perlenkochbuch, in German). I thought the show was a great success. Although you might think 99 percent of beaders are active on the Internet, such an exhibition is still a very good way to reach new beaders and to infect people with the beading virus who were trying to resist it! It was also a great opportunity to meet fellow beaders who I’d only known through the Internet before the show.

For a beading hermit like me, Creativa was an experience to talk and laugh for five days in a row. The show has ended now, and my voice still sounds like I should become a Tom Waits impersonator, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Next year I cannot join the party again: I will be teaching at the Beading by the Bay event in San Francisco. But, in 2014, I will certainly be back in Dortmund.

Please enjoy these photographs from this year’s show! I especially like the picture in which Huib Petersen is wearing my hair.



Quilled Flowers: An Interview with Alli Bartkowski

March 20, 2012, 13:56 pm  Posted by Lark

book cover for Quilled FlowersToday is the first day of spring, and what better way to celebrate this beautiful, colorful, fresh season than with a glimpse into the creative life of Alli Bartkowski, author of Quilled Flowers: A Garden of 35 Paper Projects. Alli is the founder and owner of Quilled Creations, the world’s leading provider of paper quilling supplies, and she’s an accredited member of the North American Quilling Guild.

With how-to photos, step-by-step instructions, and templates for every project, Quilled Flowers is filled with a gorgeous array of blooms including a Peony Bouquet, Zinnia Gift Bows, a Ranunculus Hair Comb, Pretty Potted Violets, flowered cards, stand-alone blossoms, and inspiration for weddings, gifts, and décor of all styles. Join Alli as she shares a fresh take on paper quilling through her own original designs and techniques, and celebrate spring by creating your own garden of paper flowers!


How would you describe the book Quilled Flowers to someone who hasn’t yet read it?

Alli: Quilled Flowers is book that will inspire you to learn how to quill! It’s full of projects and techniques for the beginner to the very experienced crafter. Quilling is often seen flat and in two-dimensions for cards or in frames. But for this book I wanted to also bring the beauty of quilling to life in three-dimensions through flowers that can be placed as a centerpiece on your kitchen table.


quilled paper foxglove flower from Quilled FlowersWhat were some of your favorite experiences while writing the manuscript and creating all the flowers?

Alli: My family and friends’ feedback was my favorite experience. Many of them would ask me to create their favorite flower for the book. They inspired me to try making flowers that I’ve never created with quilled shapes. So when I see those projects in my book, I think of them. For example, my younger daughter fell in love with foxgloves. So for that framed project, I added two little bees to remind me of her and her sister.


Do you have a favorite project among this garden of beautiful paper creations?

Alli: My favorite project would be the ranunculus or peonies. I made so many of these spiral cut flowers with different edges, shapes, sizes and colors. I was determined to perfect this technique because I could see the potential in this idea. There’s also nothing like using your hands to really crinkle, mold, and shape paper into something so beautiful! When I show my students this technique, they usually gasp when I tell them to crush the spiral in their hands! But it really works! Our hands can be the best tools!


quilled paper ranunculus flower from Quilled FlowersIn the introduction, you talk about portability being one of the best parts of paper quilling. Where are some of the interesting places you’ve found yourself working on quilled projects?

Alli: When I travel on the airplane, I like to take my quilling along. I also love quilling on long car rides with my husband driving (of course). It helps me from getting carsick! But the most interesting place would be where my friend ended up bringing her quilling. While in labor, she took her quilling to the hospital to pass time between contractions. Let’s just say she was able to introduce quilling to many nurses and doctors there!


In the book, you describe the first time quilling caught your attention and how it inspired you to begin experimenting and designing on your own. What is it about the art of rolling and shaping strips of paper that you think speaks to you as an artist?

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These Are Your Favorite Bead Stores!

March 19, 2012, 16:15 pm  Posted by Lark

You may recall that around Valentine’s day, I put up a blogpost in which I asked you which bead store you love.

Here are the results I promised you. 145 readers commented on the blogpost, and roughly 10 people responded on Facebook or emailed me directly. Huge thanks to all who participated!

The hands-down winner was Ornamentea in Raleigh, North Carolina, with 36 commenters raving about it! Congrats!

The Bead Place in Fairview Heights, Illinois, took second place, with 23 readers writing in to give it kudos.

Third place goes to Stony Creek Bead Shop in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with 9 comments.

The Bead and Glass Boutique in Pitman, New Jersey, and That Bead Lady in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, tied for fourth with 7 comments apiece. 



Mhai O Mhai Beads Bauble & Bling in Barrie, Ontario, Canada



Fire Mountain Gems and Beads



Dancing Beads in Medford, Oregon

ShipWreck Beads in Lacey, Washington

Beyond Beadery



Sparkle Spot Bead Shop in St. Petersburg, Florida

Bello Modo



French General in Los Angeles, California

The Spirited Bead and Klew’s Gallery in Tehachapi, California

Studio Beads in Deerfield, Ilinois

Whim Beads in Cotati, California

Chevron Trading Post & Bead Co. in Asheville, North Carolina


New York City’s garment district

General Bead in San Francisco, California

Fusion Beads in Seattle, Washington


Grand River Beads in Rocky River, Ohio

1 comment, in no particular order

Your Beading Heart in Irwin, Pennsylvania, which gets my vote for the cleverest shop name of all!

Das Perlament in Bonn, Germany. This is another ingenious name…I couldn’t find a website for them.

The Beadin’ Path in Freeport, Maine. Another punny one!

Bead It in Santa Cruz, California. Dang it, now I have Michael Jackson on permanent shuffle in my head!

Bead Junction in Toronto, Canada

Artful Beads and Studio in Pennington, New Jersey


Bead Cellar in Pennsauken, New Jersey

The Artful Bead in Carrollton, Texas

A Grain of Sand

Bodacious Beads in Des Plaines, Illinois

Beyond Beadery

Blue Santa Beads in Media, Pennsylvania

Pam’s Bead Garden in Farmington Hills, Michigan

Beads of Contentment in Modesto, California


Gifts of Avalon in Gainesville, Florida

Crystal Beads of Boston in Franklin, Massachusetts

Bead Need in Davie, Florida

National Supply in St. Louis, Missouri

Wolf E. Myrow in Providence, Rhode Island

Sandy Schorr in Fort Worth, Texas

Knot Just Beads in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Caravan Beads. No city was listed, and there are at least two shops by this name: Caravan Beads in Portland, Maine OR Caravan Beads Chicago

For those of you who parlez français, there’s Perles and Co.

Alaska Bead Company in Anchorage, Alaska

Mariposa Bead Company in Barrie, Ontario, Canada

The Bead Garden in Sedona, Arizona

Beads by Blanche in Bergenfield, New Jersey

Creative Castle in Newbury Park, California

Elliot, Greene and Co. in New York City

CJS Sales in New York City

Mana Beads in Nevada City, California

Beadfx in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Buffy’s Beads in London, United Kingdom

I Love You Beads in Sydney, Australia





San Gabriel Bead in Arcadia, California

4 Sirius Beaders in Paris, Ontario, Canada

The Beading Frenzy in San Mateo, California

The Bead Shop in New Orleans, Louisiana

Awright, yawl: laissez les bons temps rouler!


Talking Custom Crocheted Sweaters with Dora Ohrenstein

March 19, 2012, 10:47 am  Posted by Lark

We spoke with Dora Ohrenstein about her recently released Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments That Really Fit to learn more about her approach to the book and her design process. And do be sure to check out the upcoming podcasts (listed below) for even more Dora!

When I had the opportunity to do another book with Lark, I decided to do one that I knew crocheters really needed: a book about sweater construction and fit. There was nothing available specifically for crochet on this topic. Over the last several decades, crochet had been promoted primarily as a craft for home dec, and many aspects of garment-making had fallen out of use. Even people with top-notch stitching skills are often out of their element when it comes to necklines, armholes, and the like.

When I took up crochet a few years ago, I only made garments, as fashion is my passion. But I too had to rely on knitting books to get the information I needed about sweaters, and some of it had to be “reinterpreted” to work for crochet.  So this book reflects everything I’ve learned about how to make gorgeous-looking, well-fitting sweaters using your hook.

The book has ten sweater patterns, using a variety of constructions, including Dropped Shoulder, Raglan (in pieces), Top Down one piece, Circular, and Set-in Sleeves.  The sweaters are meant to be wearable in everyday life, and most go great either with jeans or a skirt.  I’ve been thrilled with the response to these sweaters: people are saying they are stylish and very “New York.” I have to say I love them all and have been wearing them myself!
To those who yearn to make sweaters but are fearful, I urge you to take the plunge. The information you need is in this book, though it may take a while to absorb all the lessons here. It’s definitely a one-step-at-a time endeavor. The book covers how to measure yourself, how to read schematics, breaking down patterns into manageable sections, blocking and finishing, choice of yarn and hook, gauge and math, and how to apply the latter to alterations. There are alteration lessons for each sweater and detailed explanations of each sweater construction.

I know many women face the issue of not being a “standard” size. For example, your bust size may fall into the large or 1X range of measurements, but the rest of you – shoulder width, arm length, etc. – is a small or medium. If you pick a sweater size based on your bust size, the likelihood of having it fit is slim. It will need alteration. The good news is, once you understand this alteration, it will be very similar from one sweater to the next.  You can become a master of fit for your body, and be assured that any garment you undertake will be made to your dimensions, not a mythical standard-sized person who doesn’t really exist.
For those who want to delve more deeply into the topic, I also offer classes via my website, Crochet Insider.  You can find more info about the classes here . Feel free to write to me at doraoh (at) earthlink (dot) net if you have further questions or thoughts to share!

Tune in for more Dora on these podcasts!

Planet Purl – Tuesday, March 20th at 8pm EST – Sign up early!

The Yarn Thing – Tuesday, March 27 at 12pm EST Click to listen!


GIVEAWAY: Cathie Filian & PLAID Bundle

March 16, 2012, 09:00 am  Posted by Lark

Cathie Filian has long been one of our favorite craft personalities. Not only has she authored four books with us over the years, but she’s also an enthusiastic ambassador for the craft industry. Check out this earlier interview I did with her.

Cathie has joined together with PLAID, leading manufacturer of craft products, to generously offer up to us a great bundle giveaway.

Here’s what the winner will receive:

One copy of 101 Snappy Fashions
One copy of 101 Tees
Two blank white baby onesies
One mini size glue gun
One Hot Glue Gun Helpers finger protector
Six plastic sheets of stencils
Five iron-on designs
Three bottles of fabric paint
Two small stenciling brushes
One pair of craft scissors

How can you enter for a chance to win this fantastic collection of goodies? Just leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, March 21.

One winner will be selected at random and announced on Friday, March 23. Click here for the official rules. Good luck!

Congratulations to Kelly for winning this great package!