Quilt projects, stories, and more in Quilt It with Love!

October 31, 2012, 16:33 pm  Posted by Lark

If you’re headed to Houston, stop by and see the kind folks at the Project Linus booth. You can say hello, work on a charity quilt project, and peruse their new book: Quilt It with Love. This was such an inspiring project to work on: reading the touching stories, learning how much this organization has touched people’s lives, both quilt recipients and makers, and…. the quilts, of course! Created for children, these quilts are colorful, interactive, and way imaginative. I’ve included a few of my favorites below.


And now, exclusively at www.bn.com, you can purchase your own copy of Quilt it with Love for 50% off, now through November 15th! Simply enter coupon code Y9V9D7A to receive your discount. 100% of royalties go directly to Project Linus, so you’ll be making a difference in the lives of children simply by purchasing the book. You can also learn how to make a difference in your own community through Project Linus by visiting www.projectlinus.org.

coupon code 


Celebrate Quilt Festival – a quilting book giveaway!

October 29, 2012, 13:19 pm  Posted by Lark

Headed to Quilt Festival this year….or just wishing you were? With a new little lady in my life (three-month-old baby Ruby), I’ll be staying put. But my fall doesn’t really feel the same without Quilt Festival’s wonderful mix of inspiration, energy, ideas, and retail therapy. Whether you’re making the trek to Houston or admiring the festivities from afar, join us for a little Quilt Festival celebration with a giveaway of four of our recent (and most favorite!) quilting books.

Enter for a chance to win one of three amazing quilt book prize packs. Simply leave a comment on this post by 9 p.m. EST on Friday, November 2. Any comment is fine, but we’d love to hear about your next quilting project or a quilting project you’d like to make someday. Three winners will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and notified by Monday, November 5th. Click here for the official rules.

Thanks so much for commenting! This giveaway is now closed. The winners have been selected and will be contacted shortly!


Free Project: Dinosaur Bag from Fleece Hat Friends

October 24, 2012, 16:00 pm  Posted by needlearts

Dinosaur BagFleece Hat Friends is chock-full of adorable felt hats that are perfect for Halloween (check out the Feeling Batty hat we’re giving away!), but did you know that the book also offers some super-cute extras? There’s a monkey sweatshirt, a giraffe scarf, and this adorable Dinosaur Bag!

Dinosaur Hat

Perfect to take along on your night of trick-or-treating, the Dinosaur Bag will hold gobs of candy and can be put to all sorts of other good uses year ‘round. Stash library books inside, fill it with toys and puzzles for long car rides, or pair it with the Friendly Dinosaur hat for a terrific little ensemble your kid will love! Download the free PDF pattern right now to get started.

And while you’re downloading the Dinosaur Bag PDF, don’t forget to throw your name in the hat for a chance to win Feeling Batty and a copy of Fleece Hat Friends!

Fleece Hat Friends

Have fun, and Happy Halloween!


[Too, too, too often I encounter untitled pieces in my daily work. To alleviate my frustration at this, I'm reposting this Lark Jewelry & Beading blog classic written by our former editor Marthe Le Van in late 2010. Please join Lark Jewelry & Beading on Facebook, and learn more about Marthe on her website. ~ Ray]

“Titles do not give a just idea of things; were it otherwise, the work would be superfluous.” Gustave Courbet

“To name something is to value it. Names and labels allow us to organize our loves, our loyalties, and our world. I’ve committed so much time to bringing these images forth, it would be irresponsible of me to not Christen them and provide them another means for communicating their essence.” Jeffrey T. Baker

Gene Gnida, Abacus Bracelet

Kathleen Carricaburu, Daphne and Apollo

The number of jewelers who title their work is growing, but there are still many holdouts. In an attempt to wrangle the Untitled masses into the fold, I present the following practical and emotional rationales:

Titles convey that an item is one-of-a-kind.
Titles help you distinguish one piece from another.
Titles clarify what piece you are talking about.
Titles can assert the function of a form.
Titles can describe a process.
Titles can highlight a material.
Titles can establish a context.
Titles can set a mood.
Titles can communicate a vision.
Titles can create yet another level of meaning.
Titles can bring resolution to your process.
Titles make it easier to organize and track your inventory.
Titles show up in search engines.
Titles can trigger new projects and directions.
Titles are good exercise for your brain.
Titles are messages you can send to your viewers.
Titles create a more active viewing experience.
Titles are one of the first things a viewer looks at.
Titles are cause for further contemplation.
Titles open the door to meaning.
Titles help viewers, who may not know where to begin, relate to your art.
Titles make viewers linger longer.
Titles make artists more approachable.
Titles tell your story and give a little insight into your world.
Titles make you look smarter.
Titles reinforce your professionalism.
Titles show that you care about your work.
Titles make your jewelry seem complete.
Titles capture the attention of buyers.
Titles help people remember the particular piece of jewelry they are attracted to.
Titles rarely alienate your viewers.
Titles increase the perceived significance of a piece of jewelry.
Titles strengthen people’s attachment to their jewelry.
Titles speak for you when you can’t.
Titles enlighten jurors.
Titles are convenient for analyzing, reviewing, and addressing jewelry.
Titles facilitate more (and more accurate) discussions about your work.
Titles make it easier for writers to write about your jewelry.
Titles look great in books and catalogs.
Titles don’t have to say everything, but they should say something.
Titles are not permanent.
Titles can be changed.

Rebecca Hannon, Victorian Flower Earrings

Mary Hallam Pearse, One Pearl Many Pleasures

All four jewelry images above appear in 500 Silver Jewelry Designs. Many thanks to Gene Gnida, Kathleen Carricaburu, Rebecca Hannon, and Mary Hallam Pearse for allowing me to use their images (and titles!) to enhance this blog. Please visit their websites to learn more about them and see more examples of their jewelry.


Make a Glow-in-the-Dark Treat Bucket

October 22, 2012, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark

Do you have a youngster with visions of sugary sweets dancing in their heads? The big night is scarcely a week away. Have you been toiling over a witch, pirate, super hero, or princess costume? Well don’t forget the accessories! While princesses need their wands, devils their pitchforks, a pointy hat for witches, and swords for pirates, they all have one common need—a container for their treats. And since the little hobgoblins are running around at night, how about a candy holder that glows in the dark? This ingenious project scores points for both its usefulness and safety, and just requires paint, stencils, and a bucket.

You can get mega-clever and customize the design to match your child’s costume by making your own stencil or using masking tape. Flowers for the princess or ballerina, flames for a fireman or devil, and skulls for pretty much anything spooky. Here’s the basic how-to instructions: Treat Bucket.

This project is a treat from the recently released Artful Halloween: 31 Frightfully Elegant Projects, by the scarily talented Susan Wasinger.


Giveaway: Batty Fleece Hat for Halloween

October 19, 2012, 15:24 pm  Posted by needlearts

Have you taken a peak inside Fleece Hat Friends? It’s one of our most beginner-friendly sewing books and it’s perfect for Halloween and beyond. In addition to the bat above, there’s also a Spinning Spider (look to the right!). Wouldn’t that go nicely with fake cobwebs?

Or, if you don’t have time to sew something up for Halloween, think further ahead. Is your family adopting a new pet this holiday season? Why not make a hat to go with the occasion (a cat, dog, bunny, and fish are all patterns in this book).

And since the projects can be made to fit almost any size head, even the adults can get in on the fun! Ok, back to the prize at hand…

We’re giving away the original Feeling Batty hat from the book made by the author herself! The lucky winner also gets a copy of the book.

To enter for a chance to win the Bat fleece hat and a copy of Fleece Hat Friends, simply leave a comment (any comment is fine, but we’d love to hear the best idea for a Halloween costume you’ve seen this year) on this post by 9 p.m. EDT on Friday, October 26th. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced by Monday, October 29th. Click here for the official rules. Julia is the winner…congratulations!

Good luck and happy sewing!


The exquisitely talented Mabeline Gidez is the author of the brand new book I Can Right Angle Weave officially publishing Nov. 6 and available in many stores already. Mabeline, a renowned jewelry designer and teacher from Southern California, presents excellent instruction supplemented by nearly 500 diagrams in one of beading’s most popular and versatile stitches: right angle weave. The 25 projects reinforce the teaching, and they are also simply beautiful and inspiring as creative designs. The book serves as both a comprehensive refresher course for experienced beaders and a great introduction for beginners to the stitch.

Take a look below to see a handful of the book’s marvelous projects. You can click here to go to an earlier post that offers two beautiful projects from the book as downloadable PDFs: Mabeline’s Lotus Flower Necklace and Earrings and her Egyptian Queen Collar. Ask for the book at your local bead store or book shop, or you can buy it on Amazon or BN.com.

Now, leave a comment on this blog post by Tuesday, October 30, at 9 p.m. EDT to be entered for a chance to win actual pieces of jewelry that Mabeline made for the book: her RAW Channels Bracelet and her Jeweled Clover Earrings. Any comment will do, but let’s make it fun and somewhat ludicrously open-ended: tell us what you like best about beaded jewelry. Two winners — one for each piece of jewelry — will be randomly selected and announced on Wednesday, November 7.

Please “Like” the Lark Jewelry & Beading page on Facebook right now to be alerted to free projects and giveaways and to see pics of many fabulous jewelry and beading creations. Click here for the official rules. And good luck!


RAW Channels Bracelet project by Mabeline Gidez in her book I Can Right Angle Weave


Jeweled Clover Earrings project by Mabeline Gidez in her book I Can Right Angle Weave


Pearly Elegance Choker project by Mabeline Gidez in her book I Can Right Angle Weave

Sunny Flower Earrings project by Mabeline Gidez in her book I Can Right Angle Weave

Triple Elegance Lariat project by Mabeline Gidez in her book I Can Right Angle Weave

Amazon Jewels Necklace project by Mabeline Gidez in her book I Can Right Angle Weave


Mabeline Gidez, author of the book I Can Right Angle Weave













An Interview with Zoya Gutina: My Lovely Beads

October 18, 2012, 16:14 pm  Posted by Lark

Zoya Gutina has a lot on her bead tray: she hosts a popular website (www.mylovelybeads.com), a bilingual monthly illustrated newsletter with more than 7,700 international subscribers, and an annual juried online bead contest, the International Fashion Colorworks Beading Contest.

Zoya grew up in the USSR and has lived in the United States for more than 15 years—first in NYC and now in Alexandria, VA. She has a studio at the Torpedo Factory Art Center (www.torpedofactory.org), artist studios and galleries in the D.C. suburbs, and she is the only beaded jewelry artist who’s had a studio there in 38 years.

In January 2007, Zoya started www.mylovelybeads.com, and that June, she began sending out her English and Russian newsletter. The content of Zoya’s newsletters (you can find the archive here) ranges from features on certain gemstones and minerals, interviews with bead artists, upcoming events, coverage of bead fests and fairs, and much more.

In 2010, My Lovely Beads began hosting an annual juried online bead contest, Fashion Colorworks. This year, 125 bead artists from 28 countries competed, submitting 191 pieces. You can view the full gallery of entries here and see the winners here.

Bridal Flowers Necklace

What inspired you to launch Fashion Colorworks?

I noticed that among the few bead competitions, there are no truly international contests accessible to artists around the world. I love working with color, and I saw that for many artists, choosing color combinations is quite a challenge. That’s why I decided to launch the Fashion Colorworks Beading Contest, which has a qualified jury, online coverage, and nice prizes. As an organizer, my favorite stage of the contest is the preliminary round when I get submissions. It’s so exciting to see how different artists bring their design ideas to life and solve problems associated with the specified color triads!


You and your husband moved to Alexandria in 2006. You said you chose it partly because it’s “a city rich in arts and history, and it has an amazing artist venue: TFAC What are your favorite places to visit for inspiration?

I love Alexandria. It’s a very vibrant city with an abundance of flowers and colors. I don’t have to look far for inspiration; an abundance of ideas comes to me on the fly from the world around me and overwhelms me. I sometimes share my ideas, images, and color combinations with my artist friends, and they use them in their works too. I love all of nature and the whole world surrounding me—it helps me a lot in my work, an endless source of inspiration.

Golden Bells Necklace

How does it feel to be the only bead jewelry artist in the TFAC in 38 years? How do TFAC visitors react to your work?

Beading is traditionally considered a type of craft, and I understand that in 2008 the authoritative jury granted me a great credit and I had the honor to be juried into the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association. Of course, this is a great responsibility and I need to confirm by my creativity and designs that the selection of the judges was correct. I take this with calm but with pride.

Every day I hear many pleasant words and compliments from visitors. Visitors often bring their family members into my studio just to show my jewelry. It’s a great honor for me. They leave fantastic reviews in my guestbook, ask many different questions, and just stand and watch me work. It is especially touching to see men or young boys stay in the studio for a long time, thoroughly looking at the details and expressing admiration of my work.

Very often I hear, “This jewelry should be worn only by the queens or Hollywood stars!” and I gratefully smile and tell them that I would be glad if this ever happens. I consider myself a very lucky person because wonderful people for whom I create my work surround me.

Art Nouveau Restored Necklace

Describe your beadwork’s style and aesthetic.

My bead artwork is romantic in style, and my main theme is nature. I’m getting closer and closer to the aesthetics of art nouveau. I’m moving in that direction.

What are your favorite materials to use?

Some of my favorite materials are seed beads from 11/0 and smaller (especially the Czech charlotte beads), as well as all Swarovski elements, including pearls; I’d also list Czech fire-polished glass beads. I like experimenting and I try to use various materials in my work—from wood and metal to silk and brocade.

What is one of your favorite pieces that you’ve created?

A work of art for the artist is like a child to the mother, so I hope I do not hurt my other work if I say that I have at least two I distinguish from the others and that visitors show a special interest in. They are Art Nouveau Restored and Poppy Field. When I was granted membership to the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association, the first artist who shared a studio with me was the well-known Nancy Reinke, who passed away two years ago.

Poppy Field

A short time before her death, Nancy made a priceless and beloved gift for me—a few samples of antique passementeries [ornamental trimming made of cord, braid, etc.] she found in her trunk. The sparkling passementeries were made using original antique Czech charlotte beads that were more than 100 years old, and the idea of my future beadwork came to me immediately: it should feature the fashion and art trends of that time—art nouveau. So, I dedicated the Art Nouveau Restored Necklace to the beloved memory of Nancy Reinke.


Giveaway and Tutorial for Halloween Treat Bag

October 17, 2012, 14:05 pm  Posted by Lark

Halloween Bag from Heart-Felt Holidays

Heart-Felt Holidays, our follow-up to the best-selling Fa la la la Felt, is chock-full of felt crafts for the entire year, but it has some especially great projects for Fall when Halloween is almost here, Thanksgiving is around the corner, and it’s not too soon to start crafting for Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa.


So break out the felt, download the Halloweenie Bag project right here, and make Cathy Gaubert’s Halloweenie Bag for your little trick or treater now! Or just enter to win the bag (see below)  and make another project from the book (such as Ellen Luckett Baker’s clever Bat Costume or Cathy Ziegele’s Great Mini Pumpkins). You can get the book (for less than $10!) right now from BN.com or Amazon.com.

Cathy Gaubert's Halloween Bag from Heart-Felt Holidays




I love everything Cathy Gaubert designs, but Halloweenie and Jack, who grace the treat bag’s front really crack me up. She designed it on the small side, with little trick or treaters in mind, but if you’re like me and have been know to raid your kids’ candy bags after they’re in bed some nights, just make yours a bit (or a whole lot!) larger.

Ellen Luckett Baker's Bat Costume from Heart-Felt Holidays

Cathy Ziegele's Great Mini Pumpkins from Heart-Felt Holidays

Creature of the Night!





























































To enter for a chance to win Cathy Gaubert’s Halloweenie Bag and a signed copy of Heart-Felt Holidays, simply leave a comment (any comment is fine, but I’d love to hear about your favorite ever Halloween costume–mine was a firefly at age seven, I wore a flashing flashlight in the back of my tights!) on this post by 9 p.m. EDT on Monday, October 22nd. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced by Tuesday, October 23rd. Click here for the official rules.


Do you love zombies?

October 15, 2012, 14:25 pm  Posted by Lark

zombieBraaaaaaiiiinnnnsss… nom, nom, nom.

It’s Halloween time, and you want to show your love of all things zombie, but you don’t want to turn yourself into a horror show extra covered in blood splatter. Instead, how about some cool wearable accessories to show your zombie affiliation? Or some zombiefied decorations to stash around your domain to scare visitors who dare to enter?


Brain necklace? Skeleton hand hair clips? Zombie shoes? Yes!

zombie accessories

From left to right: Zombie Heart Locket Necklace by rapscalliondesign; Zombie Lolita Cocktail Ring by feralstrumpet; Poor Charlotte Cameo Necklace by EternalAutumn; Zombie Brain Brooch by sugarandvicedesigns; Zombie Corpse ‘Day of the Dead’ Skelehand Earrings by XoGetDolledUpXo; Zombie Food Necklace by rudeandreckless; Zombie Hands Earrings by SincerelyTwisted; Bloody Green Zombie Brain Ring by DuckMagic; Zombie Crochet Skull Pin by JulianBean; Green Exposed Brains Headband by JanineBasil; Bright Green Zombie Skeleton Hand Hair Clips by PinMeUpAccessories; Custom Zombie Feet Shoes by weregoat


Zombie terrariums are great, but beware the brain-eating squirrel.

zombie decorations

From left to right: Brains Cross Stitch Sampler by aliciawatkins; Zombie Apocalypse Starter Kit by FaerieNest; Felt Zombie Bunny by nuffnufftoys; Zombie Squirrel Eating Brains by snew; Undead Paper Toy Zombie by agorables; Halloween Zombie Mask by auntydonut; Zombie Paper Dolls by charlotteandstewart; OOAK Radioactive Green Zombie Bear by Slersk; Zombie Bunny by Skeeboo


And if you REALLY love zombies and don’t mind a little splatter and makeup, take some inspiration below from some of the zombies that participated in Asheville’s annual zombie walk.

zombiesZombie Walk photography by Matt Johnson.


For more zombie-related fun, visit my other Halloween posts:

Halloween how-to: FAKE BLOOD

Zombies invade downtown Asheville! (featuring a how-to on making your own zombie inflicted wounds!)