Sweet Finds: Gingerbread Houses

November 30, 2012, 11:48 am  Posted by Lark

As a kid, I found gingerbread houses to be slightly frustrating concepts—they’re sculptures made of cookies and candy that you’re not supposed to eat. Seriously. No self-respecting 7-year-old can find the will power to resist picking at least one gum drop off the tableau. (Ahem. I hope my mom isn’t reading this. If you are, Mom, then my argument still stands: it was the dog who removed those gumdrops, not me.)

We all know that gingerbread houses are, in fact, extraordinary feats of culinary and architectural magic. Doors made of sugar! Trees made of lollipops! Roof shingles made of butter mints! Once you find the right kind of sturdy gingerbread recipe and a reliable icing combination, your imagination can take the reins.

Here’s a little collection of the gingerbread houses inspiring my imagination these days. From elaborate multi-storied mansions to petite little houses perched on the edge of a cup, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Thanks to the talented bakers (and architects!) who have created these beautiful and innovative works of art.

 Egg-Free Gingerbread House :: Art of Dessert

 ………………………………………………………………………………….Tiny Gingerbread House for your Mug :: Craftzine


 The Sugar Shack :: CreativeRoom


 Gluten-Free Gingerbread House :: Simply Gluten-Free


 Where the Wild Things Are Gingerbread House :: A Table for Two


 Sweet Owl Gingerbread Houses :: Amelie’s House


 Tiny Gingerbread Houses :: BitterSweet


 Gingerbread House :: Passionate about Baking



Multiple Holiday Motifs Giveaway!

November 28, 2012, 09:00 am  Posted by Lark

Doodle Stitching: The Motif CollectionYour never-ending quest to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list might just end with the projects and motifs you’ll discover in Aimee Ray’s Doodle Stitching series. Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection is chock-full of designs that you can sew on almost anything, from sweaters to stockings. Begin by downloading these motifs, then grab a pair of mittens and a hat, add the adorable snowflakes and—voilà!— you’ve got a great gift for your cousin. Stitch the snowman motif onto a scarf and —presto!—a little something for your favorite teacher. Add the mittens motif to some tea towels and you’ve solved the dilemma of what to give your next-door neighbor.Snowflake Mittens & Hat

You’ll find even more unique holiday gift ideas when you dive into Doodle Stitching! The “All Season Ornaments” on page 39 can be displayed all through the year, and the “Songbird MP3 Player” on page 45 is perfect for your tech-savvy niece. And after all the presents have been unwrapped, don the “No Peeking Eye Mask,” and settle in for a long winter’s night.

Now available for pre-order: Doodle Stitching: Embroidery & Beyond, featuring fresh and updated embroidery techniques, will be released this spring! Pre-order your copy today, or look for it in early 2013 at your favorite bookstore.

Doodle Stitching: Embroidery & Beyond


Vase Inspiration

November 26, 2012, 15:58 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

As a person, sometimes you have a moment where you go to use something only to realize you don’t actually own what you want to use. As a potter, there’s a special version of that moment when it happens and you think to yourself, “Dang it. That’s something I can make!”

I experienced just this feeling last week as I searched the house for a vase to put flowers in. Small pitchers abounded–and I eventually settled on a mid-century coffee carafe–but the whole episode got me thinking I should probably put the dinnerware on hold for a few weeks and make a vase or two.

I didn’t have 500 Vases around, so I ended up flipping through The Best of 500 Ceramics. With a vase in mind, it was nice to see not only stellar examples of the form, but also some unusual ideas, pitchers, and sculptural work, too. Sometimes a wider pool is just the thing. Here’s a few forms for flowers that called to me:

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Mistletoe Kissing Ball Pattern from Heart-Felt Holidays

November 23, 2012, 09:00 am  Posted by Lark

Heart-Felt Holidays

Some people have all of their holiday shopping done by the end of October. I admire those people, but I can tell you with all certainty that I will never be able to join their organized ranks. Today, the day after Thanksgiving, is the day I make my holiday card list, start planning gifts to buy and goodies to bake, and deck my halls with my much-loved collection of Christmas decorations.

This year, I’m planning to add to that collection by making the Mistletoe Kissing Ball from Heart-Felt Holidays (see inside the book here!). Designed by Amanda Carestio (who just happens to sit 10 feet away from me here at Lark), this little felt project is easy to make while you’re sitting on the couch trying to recuperate from turkey (and macaroni and cheese and sweet potato casserole) overload. Download the pattern, grab some felt and a cute gingham ribbon, and in no time, you’ll have a beautiful, handmade holiday sphere to hang in your home! (And don’t forget to check out Fa-La-La-La Felt at BN.com, where you can find even more ideas for Christmas crafting.)

May your holiday season be merry and bright – and filled with handmade crafts!

Mistletoe Kissing Ball


Mod Podge Rocks! & Mod Podge Product GIVEAWAY

November 20, 2012, 09:21 am  Posted by Lark

It’s been about six months since our book Mod Podge Rocks! was published, and we’re delighted at the success it’s had so far. Written by dynamo Amy Anderson, the book is a fun celebration of one of the world’s favorite craft brands and line of products and has therefore resulted in a huge (and growing) wave of attention from the craft and blogging world. People absolutely love their Mod Podge and embrace the opportunity to learn more about its vast creative potential.

To celebrate the book we wanted to offer up an absolutely huge giveaway to one very lucky winner. Whether you’re looking to add to your own personal crafting arsenal, or you’re seeking to bestow the gift of Mod Podge to someone else, why not throw your name in the virtual hat?

Here’s what the package includes:

* a copy of the Mod Podge Rocks! book

* Mod Podge Tee Shirt

* Mod Podge mini tote bag

* Essential Tool Kit (brayer and squeegee)

* Silicone Craft Mat

* Roller Applicator Kit

* Detail Tool Kit (pouch, ruler, distressing stick, squeegee, 3.5-inch scissors, 6.5-inch scissors, brush)

* Brush Applicator

* Hot Glue Finger Caps

* Rub-On Transfers

* Photo Transfer Medium with Brush

* Glow-in-the-Dark with Brush

* One-Step Crackle Medium with Brush

* Dimensional Magic (original + gold glitter + silver glitter)

* Tracing Templates (alphabet + shapes)

* Podgeable Papers (classic + travel + romance + nature)

* Podgeable Shapes (basic + designer)

* Sampler Set (six mini .44 oz. pots)

* Super Gloss (8 oz.)

* Original Gloss (8 oz.)

* Satin (8 oz.)

* Matte (8 oz.)

* Antique Matte (8 oz.)

* Paper (8 oz.)

* Fabric (8 oz.)

* Hard Coat (8 oz.)

* Brushstroke (8 oz.)

* Repositionable Glue (2 oz.)

* Craft Glue (2 oz.)

How can you enter for a chance to win this amazing giveaway? Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 28. Any comment will do, but why don’t you tell us how you like to use Mod Podge? One winner will be selected at random and announced on Wednesday, November 29. Click here for the official rules. THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Congratulations to Emily from Louisiana for winning!


50% Off Giving Handmade Holiday Craft Book Sale

November 19, 2012, 09:16 am  Posted by Lark


Our Giving Handmade Holiday Sale has come to a close, but keep your eyes peeled for more great Holiday news in the coming weeks!


Giving Handmade Holiday Craft Book Sale


Happy Holidays, friends! As the season of light, joy, and gratitude approaches, we give thanks for you and our supremely wonderful creative community.

We’re thrilled to kick off the holiday season with a festive and creative treat: now through Monday, November 19th, a huge selection of Lark books will be 50% off in a Giving Handmade Holiday Sale at bn.com. 

Stitching, beading, knitting, quilling—glass, wood, quilts, jewelry, bookmaking—the spectrum of titles in our Giving Handmade Holiday Sale is vast, and it’s packed with books designed to inspire your creative gift-giving now and through the months to come. As you fine-tune your to-make and to-give holiday gift lists, we wish you great creative inspiration and happiness.


Visit the Giving Handmade Holiday Sale page on bn.com


Read more about the fab books featured in the sale:

Handmade Jewelry Books

Beading Books

Jewelry & Beading Top 25 Titles

Bead and Wire Jewelry Books

Knitting & Crochet Books

Sewing & Quilting Books

Paper Crafts Books

Book Arts & Journaling Books 

“Try Me!” Craft Books

Glass Craft Books

Woodworking Books

Macrame and Basketry Books



Free Project Friday: Modern Maples Throw Quilt

November 16, 2012, 16:40 pm  Posted by Lark

Got any quilting plans this weekend? You do now! This lovely throw quilt – made by the ever-so-talented Amanda Woodward-Jennings – has been on my to-do list for quite some time. And now it can join your list, too! The quilt features a modern take on the maple leaf block, made up with lovely fall fabrics and with just the right amount of movement and white space: I’m just smitten.

Download the project here…and enjoy!: Modern Maples Throw Quilt

This quilt is just one of the spectacular projects featured in Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays by John Adams (which, incidentally, is on sale now at BN.com for 50% off the list price until November 19th!).


Fall is the time of year when I revel in the embrace of a slow cooked meal, one that will warm the home while filling rooms with the scents of the season’s best offerings. It’s the season where I seek out all things squash. Blended into steaming pots of soups, roasted and tossed onto a pile of greens, or baked to sweet perfection in a comforting casserole, it’s one of those quintessentially Autumnal market staples.

For those of you seeking a new recipe highlighting the glorious butternut squash, perhaps one you could feature for your vegetarian friends at your upcoming holiday table, look no further than this delectable offering from our book A Year of Pies. As you may have read in my previous post, the book has been garnering an abundance of praise for its rich selection of seasonal recipes and pie baking wisdom.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Cheddar, and Sage Galette

Winter squashes are a bit of a misnomer, as they’re actually harvested in late summer and dried, or “cured,” for later use in autumn and beyond. Butternut squash truly shines in this galette. Its lovely sweetness cozies up to a sharp cheddar and aromatic sage, resulting in a dish that’s just as exquisite to behold as it is to munch on. I love serving this as an appetizer at autumnal gatherings, sliced into thin wedges.

Makes: 8 to 10 servings

You will need

½ recipe Basic Pie Dough (see below)

Large un-rimmed baking sheet


1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed

1 medium-size red onion, chopped

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 1 tablespoon dried

1 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Egg wash

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon cold water

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Basic Pie Dough (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 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 and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Prepare the crust

Remove the chilled pie dough from the refrigerator and roll it out into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the dough to a large un-rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Prepare the filling

Combine all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl. Using clean hands or a large spoon, toss until well mixed and the squash cubes and onion are well coated with the olive oil and sage.

Assemble the tart

Mound the squash mixture in the middle of the chilled pastry circle. Gently spread the mixture out toward the edge of the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Fold the pastry border up over the filling, overlapping the edges and pressing the folds together every few inches. Whisk the egg yolk and water in a small bowl, then use a pastry brush to brush the wash over the folded edges of the crust. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the squash cubes are tender when pierced with a fork.

Cool the galette at least 30 minutes before serving.


Another Project Giveaway from Crochet Garden

November 14, 2012, 09:00 am  Posted by Lark

Suzann Thompson’s Crochet Garden is now 50% off at BN.com as part of the Giving Handmade Holiday Sale! We’re celebrating by giving away not one but—wait for it—TWO projects from the book. Download “Gambel Oak Leaves” and “Maple Leaf” and crochet some happy fall foliage that you can attach to gift bags, hang from a doorknob, or use to spiff up your workspace.

(And if you missed it, hop over to last week’s giveaway of “Mini, Midi, & Maxi-Mums” and keep on crocheting!)

Crochet Garden is just one of many Lark books at 50% off in the Giving Handmade Holiday Sale, so go to BN.com and get inspired to do some creative gift-giving!


UPDATE: Congratulations to Linda Roberts of Santee, California! She is our randomly selected winner of the I Can Herringbone giveaway. Thanks so much to everyone for participating. We appreciate you being part of our community!


Enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of I Can Herringbone & the complete kit to make the gorgeous Sinusoidal Necklace project.

You WILL be inspired!

I Can Herringbone Cover ImageAuthor Melissa Grakowsky’s new comprehensive workbook for beaders, I Can Herringbone, is nothing short of stunning. Featuring 26 accessible, wearable, and beautiful projects—including earrings, necklaces, chokers, pendants, and bracelets, with all the techniques you’ll need to make them—it’s an inspirational must-have book for beaders of all skill levels.

Lark Jewelry & Beading’s I Can series debuts with this book as well as Mabeline Gidez’s I Can Right Angle Weave, both publishing in November 2012 and both packed with hundreds of step-by-step illustrations to make your beading experience enjoyable and successful.

Join in the excitement by entering for a chance to win an autographed copy of I Can Herringbone PLUS the kit to make Melissa’s gorgeous Sinusoidal Necklace.


Jewelry Kit for I Can Herringbone Necklace

Enter for a chance to win this jewelry kit, used to make the Sinusoidal Necklace at right.


How do you enter? Simply leave a comment on this blog post by Tuesday, November 20 at 9 p.m. EDT. Comments can cover any topic, but we’d love to hear how you became interested in beading. A special beading store? An artistic friend? A necklace that grabbed your attention?

One winner will be randomly selected and announced on Wednesday, November 28.

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.

 Melissa Grakowsky Image

Author Melissa Grakowsky

Thanks for your participation, and best of luck. Oh, one more thing…a second giveaway involving this beautiful book by Melissa Grakowsky is just around the corner, so stay in touch with Lark Jewelry & Beading!