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Necklaceology is a great new book from Candie Cooper, best-selling author of Metalworking 101 for Beaders and Felted Jewelry. In Necklaceology, the popular beader, jeweler, and crafter presents 40 of her best necklace designs, along with a slew of eye-opening jewelry-making techniques and tips that will inspire crafters of all stripes.

I love this terrific book. Will you love it, too? Well, you can find out right now. Here are three project PDFs with necklace designs from the book for you to download, sample, create, and — hopefully — love!:

 

Orion Necklace from Necklaceology by Candie Cooper

Orion Necklace from Necklaceology

 

Safe Keeping Necklace from Necklaceology by Candie Cooper

Safe Keeping Necklace from Necklaceology

 

 

Peace Dreams Necklace from Necklaceology

 

 

 

 

 

Peace Dreams Necklace from Necklaceology by Candie Cooper

We hope you enjoy Candie’s designs as much as we do.

I invite you to click here to “Like” Lark Jewelry & Beading on Facebook right now, so you’ll be notified of more downloadable projects from our authors and designers, as well as of book and jewelry giveaways, links to great designers, and pics of inspiring jewelry from our authors and our entire diverse jewelry and beading communities. Be sure to visit Candie Cooper’s website, as well. And if you like these project PDFs, please share the link to this page everywhere — on StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, your blog, and whatever the-newest-social-media-I-haven’t-heard-about-yet is. Thank you.

By the way, the book is now available for purchase at your local bead store or bookstore, as well as online at BN.com and Amazon.com. Enjoy!

 
 
 
 
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Sweet Finds: Late Summer Cocktails

August 29, 2012, 11:12 am  Posted by Lark
 

So summer happened. I know—crazy, right? It feels like we just had this conversation, about how it was Mother’s Day and summer was about to be here, and we were so excited and we knew it would go really, reallyreally quickly, but we were ready for it. Bring on the summer.

And so summer came and here we are, minutes from Labor Day, the unofficial close of summer. I don’t know about you, but this is actually my favorite part of summer—the golden part that ripens beautifully into autumn with all its blue skies, red leaves, warm honey-colored light, and the promise of crisp evenings. This is also the time of summer when the mosquitoes finally start to dwindle in number and I can truly sit on my front porch in the evenings without being eaten alive. Huzzah!

As summer gently ebbs, we must seize the days and soak up the loveliness while we can. We should be outside! On porches! Laughing with friends!

But what’s a late-summer evening on the porch without a cocktail, or, as some of us called it growing up: a hotsy-totsy. Here to wet your whistle is a collection of divine summer drinks, some with a liquor punch, others without, all with a kick-back-on-the-porch vibe of deliciousness.

Thanks to the creative kitchen artists who mixed up these hotsy-totsy beauties.

Cheers to late summer, friends.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………. Vanilla, Pear, and Vodka Cocktail :: from Two Tarts

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 Key Lime Pie Mojito :: from Daydreamer Desserts

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Grapefruit Soda/Cocktail :: from Pastry Affair

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Orange Mojito with Mint Skinny Syrup :: from the Hungry Couple

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Porch Crawlers :: from The Bitten Word

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A Year of Pies – Autographed Copy GIVEAWAY!

August 28, 2012, 13:20 pm  Posted by Lark
 

This month’s publication of A Year of Pies has bakers and foodies everywhere excited to flour up the kitchen counter, grab a rolling pin, and bake up a bountiful bevy of buttery goodness.

Here is just some of the praise that has been coming in for the book:

 

“Well-thought-out recipes centered on seasonal ingredients…plenty of updated standards incorporating new ingredients or flavor twists.” – The Wall Street Journal

 

“Ashley English’s passion about pies is felt throughout her entire book…Her enthusiasm comes out through each and every recipe…It’s dangerous to read this book on an empty stomach.”  – About.com Baking

 

A Year of Pies is a great resource, especially if you’re new to pie making.” – Barbara Bakes

 

“This is definitely one of the most comprehensive pie cookbooks I have come across & certainly a delight to read & look at.” – Blog Critics

 

“I like Ashley’s book for its seasonally-minded sections, her great how-to photos and descriptions for the hard parts of pie making and for incorporating all kinds of great guest recipes, including many gluten-free options!” – The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking

 

“From fruit to nuts, and chocolate to whipped cream, you’ll find a perfect pie for every occasion in here and all the details you need to get it to turn out looking picture-perfect in your home kitchen.” – Baking Bites

 

“The layout and photos throughout the book are eye catching and very well designed.”
- Cute Everything

 

To further celebrate the publication of A Year of Pies, we wanted to provide a chance to win an autographed copy of the book. Just leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Monday, September 3. Any comment will do, but why don’t you tell us your favorite kind of pie or a fond pie memory. One lucky winner will be selected at random and announced on Tuesday, September 4. Click here for the official rules. Good luck! This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Beth from Oregon for winning!

And don’t forget to check out my earlier post which provides a thorough overview of the book and the free recipe for the Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Tart.

 
 
 
 
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A Year of Pies: FREE Recipe!

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

Thanks to the recent publication of A Year of Pies we’ve been raving about pies around the office lately. But who doesn’t love a buttery, flaky, heaven-filled pie, hot from the oven? For a little glimpse into the book from my earlier post, just click here. Well, today is your lucky day. In celebration of the book’s publication we wanted to offer you all a tasty free recipe right from the pages of the book.

If you’re like me, you want to get every last precious home-grown tomato out of your garden before the season is over. In most cases, that means pulling some of those not-yet-ripened green maters off the vine and finding creative (and delicious) means to showcase their savory, slightly sour goodness. Well, grab some of those gorgeous green globes, a tart pan, and get ready for a recipe that is sure to tickle your taste buds, garner a shower of compliments, and have you looking at pie in an entirely new light. Author Ashley English highlights two quintessential Southern classics here: friend green tomatoes and homemade pimento cheese. Salivating yet? Yeah, I thought so.

Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Tart

Makes: One 11-inch tart (or 6 to 8 servings)

You will need

½ recipe Basic Pie Dough (see bottom of post)

11-inch tart pan with removable bottom

Fried green tomatoes

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons whole milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

2 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into slices 1/3-inch thick

¼ cup peanut oil

Pimento cheese

8 ounces cheddar cheese

1 roasted red pepper, diced

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon paprika

1 slice bacon, cooked till crisp and crumbled (optional)

2 to 3 large basil leaves, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Prepare the crust

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and fit it into the tart pan. Trim the overhang to 1 inch, then fold it inside the tart pan, pressing it against the pan’s fluted sides. Prick the bottom of the crust 6 or 7 times with a fork, then place the crust in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the dried beans or pie weights and parchment paper from the crust, and cool it completely before filling.

Prepare the tomatoes

Beat the eggs with the milk in a medium-size bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, granulated garlic, paprika, and salt. Dip each tomato slice into the egg mixture, then in the flour mixture, repeating the process once. Place the dredged tomato slices on a platter as they are completed. Heat the peanut oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and fry for about 5 minutes per side until lightly browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the tomato slices with tongs to a paper towel–lined platter.

Prepare the Pimento Cheese

Coarsely grate the cheddar cheese and combine with the red pepper, mayo, paprika, and bacon (if desired) in a food processor. Puree until smooth.

Assemble the Tart

Spoon the pimento cheese into the prepared crust, smoothing it level with a spatula. Carefully place the largest fried green tomato slice in the center of the tart. Cut the rest of the slices in half and arrange the halves radiating out from the tomato in the center toward the edge. Roll the basil leaves into a cylinder and cut into thin strips. Scatter this basil chiffonade evenly over the surface of the tart. Serve chilled or at room temperature, removing the sides of the pan before serving.

Basic Pie Dough Recipe (All-Butter Version)
This all-butter crust is unrivaled in terms of flavor. It’s also quite flaky, despite having no shortening. The secret is to work with very cold butter. I keep all of my butter in the freezer, transferring it to the refrigerator overnight or several hours before I intend to make pie dough. Work quickly, with cold hands on a cool work surface, and you’ll end up with a crust that’s as flaky as it is scrumptious.

Makes: Dough for one double-crust pie

You will need
2½    cups all-purpose flour
1¼    teaspoons sea salt
1    cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
¾    cup ice water

Mix the flour and salt together in a medium-large bowl. Using a pastry blender or two forks, incorporate the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal (you should still have some rather large bits of butter and shortening when you’re done). Slowly drizzle in the ice water. Stir with a large spoon until the dough begins to clump. Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface and, using your hands, fold it into itself until all of the flour is incorporated into the fats. The dough should come together easily but should not feel overly sticky. Divide the dough in half, shape it into two balls, and pat each ball into a ½-inch thick disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap (or try the alternative tip on page 22) and refrigerate for at least an hour.

 
 
 
 
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Miniature Book Society: Conclave in Asheville, NC

August 22, 2012, 13:02 pm  Posted by Lark
 

Miniature Book Society logo

This weekend, August 24th – 26th, will be a fun one for the Miniature Book Society.

 

Every year, the Miniature Book Society meets for its annual gathering of members, which is called a Conclave—a three-day event of speakers, workshops, tours, an all-day book fair, and most importantly an opportunity for miniature book enthusiasts to congregate and share in their appreciation of book arts.

Photo of downtown Asheville, NC

This year celebrates the 30th Grand Conclave for the Miniature Book Society, and we are thrilled that it is taking place in our hometown of Asheville, North Carolina!

 

We’re especially excited about the Book Fair taking place on Sunday, August 26th, from 11am – 4:30pm at the Renaissance Hotel. The Book Fair will be open to the public and it will feature a gathering of bookmakers, booksellers, and book artists of all callings buying and selling their work.

Click here for location info for the Renaissance Hotel.

 

What, exactly, is a miniature book? Glad you asked.

According to the Miniature Book Society, “In the United States, a miniature book is usually considered to be one which is no more than three inches in height, width, or thickness. Some aficionados collect slightly larger books while others specialize in even smaller sizes. Outside of the United States, books up to four inches are often considered miniature.”

 

Interested in joining the Miniature Book Society? Visit the MBS membership page.

Interested in attending the Conclave? Visit the MBS Conclave page and scroll down to click the downloadable registration form.

 

You know we’re going to ask this next question: Want to make your own miniature book? We have an easy-to-make project for you from Making Mini Books: the Matchbooks, designed by Leslie Werner. Click here for the free Matchbooks project PDF.

 

Interested in additional titles celebrating book arts? Here’s a helpful list:

Making Mini Books coverMaking Mini Books

Making Handmade Books

Masters: Book Arts

500 Handmade Books

Eco Books

Penland Book of Handmade Books

 

 
 
 
 
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Back(pack) to School: Etsy Backpack Finds

August 15, 2012, 16:30 pm  Posted by Lark
 

It’s that time of year: new notebooks, a fresh haircut, and a clean slate (ooh, literally and figuratively!). The Back to School season is upon us! Whether you’re sending your little ones off to their first day of kindergarten, or you’re a savvy collegiate dissecting Dante’s Comedia, you know the value of a good backpack.

It’s what you use day after day, and it’s just your style. From basic black canvas to colorful critter bags to glossy leather satchels, the backpack is a student’s best friend (I know, I know, college kids: coffee is arguably a student’s best friend).

The backpack finds featured below shine a spotlight on a fantastic range of styles, and we thank the talented Etsy artists who created them for making us all want to go back to school!

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Leather Messenger Bag :: by LeatherJoy

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Su Lin Panda Backpack :: by bratpacks

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The Wayfarer Backpack :: by sketchbook

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Waxed Canvas Backpack *Vegan! :: by solaWu

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Free Project Friday: Rainy Day Appliqué

August 10, 2012, 09:47 am  Posted by needlearts
 

We all know April showers bring May flowers. But what about August showers? We’ve been having more than our fair share around these parts. It seems like only a day or two goes by before thunderstorms roll through again.

Author Cynthia Shaffer lives in sunny California, but she was in a similar state of mind when she designed the socks you see here as a bonus download for Stash Happy Appliqué.

These socks are easy to make (a simple cloud shape and raindrop templates are included!). And since they’re knee-highs, they’re perfect not only for late summer outfits, but drizzly fall days, too!

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A Year of Pies!

August 07, 2012, 08:15 am  Posted by Lark
 

I am an enthusiastic home cook that embraces the fun challenge of a new recipe, the delight at surprising flavors, and the simple joy of nourishing myself and those I care about with food prepared out of love. That said, I’ll be perfectly honest with you in saying this: baking intimidates me. But you know what? Like many life skills, one simply needs a good teacher, the right tools, and a helpful framework to establish success that can be built upon for years to come. Such is the case with A Year of Pies. Ashley English of Small Measure and Homemade Living Series fame, offers up exactly the right amount of time-tested knowledge and plenty of encouragement so that even the most daunted (raising my hand) can feel that they will be wow any crowd—from a family dinner to a crowded potluck—with an array of mouth-watering, stomach-pleasing, and eye-catching pies, galettes, tarts, and more. With this book in hand, you’ll be fast on your way to pie success.

Notable sources (The New York Times, NPR, Huffington Post) deem pie is one of the hottest current food trends. Indeed, I’d say the cute little cupcake world had better watch its back. A Year of Pies offers up a year of seasonal, natural recipes for pies and tarts both sweet and savory utilizing the best of what each season has to offer. A total of 60 recipes are included, 15 for each season. Classics are covered, but with Ashley English’s unique culinary spin.

Imagine Chocolate & Orange Marmalade Tart or a Mushroom & Chevre Galette in Winter, Strawberry & Rhubarb Ginger Hand Pies and Asparagus & Dill Quiche in Spring, a classic Lattice Top Triple Berry Pie and decadent Fried Green Tomato & Pimento Cheese Tart in Summer, and Rosemary Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie and Chai Spice Apple Pie in Autumn. As the Senior Editor on the book I had the joy of attending the photo shoot, and let me and my happy belly tell you: this is truly delicious stuff.

Each chapter includes two guest recipes submitted by notable bloggers: Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille, Tricia Martin of Eating is Art, Tim Mazurek of Lottie and Doof, Jessie Oleson of Cake Spy, Kate Payne of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking, Beatrice Peltre of La Tartine Gourmande, Amanda Soule of Soule Mama, and Jenna Woginrich of Cold Antler Farm.

A full Basics section offers six essential pie crust recipes, crust troubleshooting tips, instructions for creating various decorative pie and tart crusts, tips for selecting seasonal ingredients, and more. You just can’t go wrong.

Keep your eyes here for more on A Year of Pies, including a free recipe and giveaway!

 
 
 
 
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Ceramic Studios in Burnsville

August 02, 2012, 15:58 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team
 

A couple weeks ago, I headed up to Burnsville and visited a few studios around the Penland School of Crafts. Some highlights were the EnergyXchange, John Britt, Terry Gess, and Michael Kline. The Lark Ceramics page on Facebook has a couple full albums. However, since we have some blog readers who may enjoy ceramics as well, I thought I’d post a few photos here for all to enjoy:

The EnergyXchange clay studio.

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