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Perfect Pickle for Warm Weather

May 24, 2012, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark
 

Everyone has their favorite season. That’s understandable as they each have their own charms and allure. Fall has magnificent colors and a nip in the air, winter has snow and the holidays going for it, and spring of course is vibrant with blooming trees, shrubs, and flowers. I myself am a huge fan of summer. One of its biggest appeals to me is purely mental. Summer soothes my soul; time seems to slow down. The sounds of tree frogs and cicadas remind me of lazy, carefree days of my youth when the dog days seemed to stretch gloriously on and on. Even though summer doesn’t officially begin until June 20, in my mind Memorial Day—and the end of the school year—is the kickoff.

I’ve spent many a summer day with my family, with everyone cooking or baking their specialty and adding it to the overloaded picnic table. It all tastes especially good after a game of croquet or throwing horseshoes. For our next gathering I think I’ll surprise the gang and bring something different to the table like these spicy QuickPersianPickles—no water bath processing required. I got this easy peasy recipe from Homemade Living: Canning & Preserving with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Make Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Chutneys & More.

Ashley English is also the author of Homemade Living: Keeping Chickens, Homemade Living: Keeping Bees, and Homemade Living: Home Dairy.

 

 
 
 
 
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Janice Berkebile and Tracy Stanley are two immensely popular teachers and designers, and I’m pleased to be doing a giveaway of a signed copy of their new (and already immensely popular) book, Making Wire & Bead Jewelry: Artful Wirework Techniques. The book is a May 2012 release, I’m writing this blog post on May 23, and we’ve already sold two-thirds of the book’s print run. So these first-edition books will soon be collector’s editions!

You can get a sense of the book, its fun and exciting projects, and its plethora of excellent how-to photos and detailed instructions by clicking over to this blog post, seeing some projects from the book, and downloading two free project PDFs, Tracy Stanley’s Cascading Spirals Bracelet and Janice Berkebile’s Wire Pod Pendant. If you don’t know Tracy and Janice, or even if you do, you can get a good sense of these wonderful creative partners by reading their interview of one another posted here.

Okay, the giveaway: How can you enter for a chance to win the book that’s signed very sweetly by both Janice and Tracy? Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EDT on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28. Any comment will do, but why don’t you tell us what you enjoy about bending wire, if you’re itching to get started, or if you’re just curious.

Winning the signed copy would be a great bonus, of course, but in the meantime you can buy the book at your local bead store or bookstore or online at BN.com or Amazon (another idea: please go online right now and give the book a “Like” and add it to your wishlist). Then if you are the lucky winner, you can gift the extra copy to a crafty friend!

Learn more about Janice and Tracy on their Wired Arts website. Please connect with Lark Jewelry & Beading right now on Facebook at facebook.com/LarkJewelryBeading and Pinterest at pinterest.com/larkjewelry. Check out other jewelry and beading projects on the Lark blog by clicking here.

One winner will be selected at random and announced on Thursday, May 31. Click here for the official rules. And thank you for being a part of the Lark Jewelry & Beading community!

 
 
 
 
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Sweet Finds: Grilled Desserts

May 22, 2012, 11:26 am  Posted by Lark
 

Ah, Memorial Day weekend, the un-official kick-off to summer. I like to think that if Memorial Day were a Venn diagram, the two primary circles would be Friends and Food, and the center overlapping section would be Cookouts.

 

Cookouts go hand in hand with grilling, and many of you are talented grilling pros—you roast chickens and flip burgers and do magical things with steak, all whilst hovering over a sizzling grill. I, however, am no grilling pro. I’m a vegetarian. At my best, I grill veggie patties, maybe. If grilling and I were in a Venn diagram, there would be no overlapping middle section.

 

The grill and I weren’t on bff terms…until now. I decided I would find a new way to love the grill, to find a common denominator for the two of us to agree upon. Enter: GRILLED DESSERTS.

 

Yes! You heard me! Grilled desserts! This Memorial Day weekend, as you create something incredible on the grill, don’t limit yourself to the main course—say hello to the sweet recipes listed below and elevate your basic Grill Master status to wildly acclaimed Grill God(dess) status.

 

And to those of you vegetarians who, like me, used to simply eat whatever veggie patty someone would hand you at Memorial Day cookouts of yore, you no longer need stand idly by whilst meat-lovers tame the flames. Carpe grilling diem, friends: grill yourselves some dessert.

 

Thanks to the talented grill gods and goddesses mentioned below for inspiring us with their delicious creations.

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grilled strawberries
Grilled Strawberries with Pimm’s and Vanilla Ice Cream :: from seven spoons and Jamie Oliver

Grilled Strawberries with Pimm’s and Vanilla Ice Cream :: from seven spoons and Jamie Oliver

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grilled peaches and cream and pound cake
Peaches & Cream Pound Cake Panini :: from today’s nest

Peaches & Cream Pound Cake Panini :: from today’s nest

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grilled fruit
Honey Grilled Summer Fruit :: from Valley & Co.

Honey Grilled Summer Fruit :: from Valley & Co.

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grilled s'mores pizza
S’mores Dessert Pizza on the Grill :: from You Made That?

S’mores Dessert Pizza on the Grill :: from You Made That?

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Diane Fitzgerald is one of the world’s best-selling beadwork designers, teachers, and authors. Her two most recent books have happily been Lark Jewelry & Beading titles: Diane Fitzgerald’s Shaped Beadwork, the seminal, best-selling book that launched Lark’s Beadweaving Master Class series, and the new 2012 book Diane Fitzgerald’s Favorite Beading Projects: Designs from Stringing to Beadweaving, a very different kind of book with fun projects for all skill levels spanning the range of Diane’s beading and teaching career. (And, yes, as so many people have asked and demanded, a new book of advanced shaped beadwork designs and projects is in the works!)

Diamond Chain Bracelet from the book Diane Fitzgerald's Favorite Beading Projects

I’ve posted a couple of projects from Diane Fitzgerald’s Favorite Beading Projects previously–click through to get the Fortune Teller Beads Necklace or the Midnight Snowflakes Necklace and here’s a new one:

Click here to get a PDF of the Diamond Chain Bracelet project, a simple and beautiful design from Diane!

I hope you enjoy these samplings from this beautiful, creative book. It is available for sale at your local bead store or bookstore, as well as online at BN.com or Amazon.com. Enjoy! And please connect with Lark Jewelry & Beading on Facebook and follow our boards on Pinterest.

 
 
 
 
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We’re so, so (SO!) excited to announce the release of Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters! If you’ve been inspired by this amazing e-magazine (and we have!), you’ll love the book. And some of our favorite bloggers have agreed to help us celebrate with a blog tour! Follow along for reviews and interviews with the Fat Quarterly team, as well as book giveaways and free block patterns sprinkled in along the way – but you’ll have to tag along to find them!

5/18 Kickoff at FatQuarterly.com and LarkCrafts.com – you’ve arrived!!
5/21 Lily Quilts
5/24 Handmade by Alissa
5/29 In Color Order
5/31 Comfort Stitching
6/4 Generation Q
6/7 Sew Mama Sew
6/12 Pat Sloan
6/14 WhipUp
6/18 Sarah Fielke’s The Last Piece
6/22 Fat Quarter Shop
6/26 Diary of a Quilter
6/28 Amy’s Creative Side
7/3 A La Mode Fabric
7/6 It’s Sew Kiki!
7/10 Craft Buds!
7/12 Craft Foxes
7/16 {sew} Allegorical
7/18 Wrap-up Party at Fat Quarterly.com!

Have you had a chance to peruse the book yet? Take a sneak peek here: Shape Workshop for Quilters sneak peek!

 
 
 
 
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Etsy in Full Bloom

May 15, 2012, 09:00 am  Posted by Lark
 

April showers brought many May flowers to the Etsy marketplace. Created from yarn, beads, leather, paper, fabric, and wool, I found flowers that had been beaded, felted, molded, stitched, printed, and painted. And come on, who isn‘t inspired by nature’s bounty of blooms? I plucked a bouquet of images that caught my eye.

 

Visual Philosophy                            Sweet Crocheterie                              Tinker Girls

Caught RED Handed                     My Craft Garden                                    KainKain

 

Heartfelt Yarn Wreaths                   Jane Foster                                          Belinda Saville

 

 
 
 
 
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Cake Ladies: Free Recipe

May 11, 2012, 17:00 pm  Posted by Lark
 

When I was young, I absolutely loved spending time with my mom in the kitchen. Whether it was being tasked with the important responsibility of mixing up the cake, brownie, or cookie batter in the bowl (and licking the spoon afterward!) or simply watching her cooking process while soaking up any worthwhile wisdom, I was fascinated by it all and felt great comfort in those special moments together. As an adult, that mother-daughter kitchen time is usually relegated to holidays and happens much less frequently than I would like (and is therefore all the more precious).

As you take time to celebrate the importance of moms this weekend, I suggest creating some kitchen memories of your own. Make something together that can be shared together.

Cake Ladies celebrates the importance of women’s stories, the power of baking within families and communities, and the simple joy of sharing something sweet with those you love. So grab an apron and a mixing bowl, enlist your mom or your own child, and bake up something wonderful.

We offer here a free recipe for Applesauce Spice Cake, one of my personal favorites from the book since it reminds me of my own grandmother’s cake I savored as a child. Enjoy with someone you love!

DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE HERE: Applesauce Spice Cake

 
 
 
 
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Free Project Friday: Pasque Flower Crochet Pattern!

May 11, 2012, 13:39 pm  Posted by Lark
 

Do your weekend plans include flowers? Whether you’re working in the garden, heading out for a hike, or spending your weekend in craft mode, we hope the lovely early summer blooms inspire you in some way! And if you do happen to be in craft mode, enjoy a free project from Suzann Thompson’s Crochet Garden.

Download the instructions here: Pasque Flower

Happy weekend stitching!

 
 
 
 
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Punch Flower Pop-Up Card for Mom

May 09, 2012, 07:59 am  Posted by Lark
 

Mother’s Day always seems to sneak up on me. Today while packing school lunches it suddenly dawned on me that Mom’s Day is this Sunday. Does this sound familiar to you? If so, rather than make a mad dash to the drug or grocery store (where the card selection is by now no doubt a sad and picked over collection) how about making an engineering marvel that will be sure to impress?

 

To make the bouquet on front, you can use flower punches if you have them, or just cut out some simple flower shapes by hand. I guarantee that mom will adore your bouquet either way. While the outside of the card is cheerful and pretty, the inside packs a fun surprise because when opened, whimsical hearts pop up and dangle from thread (check it out here). Put yourself in mom’s shoes—wouldn’t you love to get a handmade card like this? This is just one of 25 designs that you’ll find in Pop-Up Cards: And other Greetings that Slide, Dangle & Move.

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
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Summer Craft Ideas for Kids

May 08, 2012, 16:41 pm  Posted by Lark
 

It’s almost summertime! School’s about to be out! It’s time for summer vacation, days unbound by the school bus and homework, and a kid’s-eye-view of weeks and weeks of fun.

 

Whether you’re inside or outside, in the shade or in the sun, below is a list of summer craft ideas to capture the interest of big and little kids alike. In fact, when it comes to some of these ideas (see the Tree Fort Pinterest boards), you don’t need to be a kid at all to feel that summer vacation excitement.

 Happy summertime crafting!

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You’ll WANT life to give you lemons so you can make these cool, refreshing treats. Hello, hot weather awesomeness.

Creamy Lemon Popsicles :: from gimme some oven

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Sidewalk chalk: it makes hopscotch possible, it brings traced silhouettes to life, and it offers endless opportunities for driveway/walkway poems (try jumping rope around a sidewalk chalk poem—it’s a whole new meaning for beat poetry!). Use powdered tempera to make your own vibrant colors.

Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk :: from Instructables

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Don’t have a sunny day to go backyard camping? Never fear! This Fabric Pup Tent will have your littles singing songs around the campfire in your living room. Git along, little doggies.

Fabric Pup Tent :: from ReadyMade

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