Giveaway: One + One from Iris Schreier

November 13, 2012, 12:49 pm  Posted by Lark


What’s better than making handmade gifts for the holidays? We think it’s crafting handmade gifts AND making room in your stash for more yarn. Get your holiday knitting off to a fresh start while making the most of two skeins of yarn with  One + One: Hats and One + One: Scarves, Shawls, and Shrugs!

Both books are available now at BN.com for 50% off but you can enter to win the set here. Simply leave a comment on this post by 9 p.m. EST on Monday, November 19. Any comment is fine, but we’d love to hear about what holiday gifts you’re planning to make this year. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and notified by Tuesday, November 20. Click here for the official rules.



This past week, Publishers Weekly named Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry among its 2012 Best Books of the Year.

Publishers Weekly is the trade magazine for the publishing industry — booksellers, librarians, publishers, authors, and agents — as well as a newsstand magazine in select outlets. The magazine has been published continuously since 1872. In its 2012 “Best Books” recognitions, PW named a total of 120 books across 13 categories (top 10, fiction, mystery/thriller, poetry, romance, SF/fantasy/horror, comics, nonfiction, children’s picture, children’s nonfiction, and lifestyle) as the best books of the year, out of the truly countless books published. Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry is one of just three 2012 art or craft books so distinguished. So, the recognition is significant.

I learned about the honor a few weeks ago now, and I’ve had some time to reflect upon what it means. First, I shared the notice with the Lark Jewelry & Beading staff and complementary Lark Books and Sterling Publishing (our parent company) staff. The recognition is a testament to the work they do year-round and each and every day. I was hired at Lark as a senior editor six years ago this month, and the professionals at this company then and the professionals at this company now are simply the very best. Working with them has enriched me personally and professionally, and enormously so. They deserve this honor.

Three years ago, I moved from my work as a senior editor into a managerial role as a team lead, leading a group of editors and art designers to form the Lark Jewelry & Beading group. So now, having worked with the jewelry and beading communities for three years, I bring a perspective in looking at this recognition that reflects that experience.

It seems to me I’ve worked on a lot of books for a lot of outstanding art and craft communities to a fair amount of critical acclaim, including for these 20 or so books with my name attached to them and many, many others while working with very talented authors and editors. But this level of note is unprecedented for me … and it’s a beading book.

Or, more accurately, a gallery book of beading artwork — part of the 500 Series recently renamed, at least in its jewelry and beading incarnations, the Showcase 500 Series.

What this honor says to me is that contemporary beadwork has come fully of age as an artistic medium and can be recognized as both craft and — often — fine art. So, of course, what this recognition really does is honor the beading community itself, the many talented and devoted artists of which it’s comprised, those artists who were generous enough to submit their work for consideration in the book, and those whose work was ultimately selected to be included.

This week, we’re going to do some outreach beyond this blog sharing news of the award. But, for now, while my name is on the cover of the book — I conceived the idea, did artist outreach, juried the entries, and ordered the images in the book — that can get entirely overblown.

I’m indebted to and, more than anything, humbled and graced by the talent and generosity both of the beading community and of my wonderful coworkers, those who worked specifically on this book and those who make working at Lark so rewarding and enjoyable each day.

I thank you all.

Here is the original review for Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry that ran in the August 7, 2012, issue of Publishers Weekly:

Opening this gorgeous hunk of a book is like walking into a high-end jewelry gallery. There are 500 full-color photographs of beaded jewelry—necklaces, rings, bracelets, pins and earrings—created by 275 artists with beads, wire, filament, and fiber. Some of the artists are well-known to beaders, like Carol Wilcox Wells and Diane Fitzgerald, and some not-so-well-known, with their work published for the first time. This makes for a heady blend of inspiration, ideas, and expression. Editor Hemachandra selected the 500 beaded objects from submissions by 360 artists from 30 countries. To his credit, no single style—bead weaving, bead embroidery, bead stringing—gets short shrift. The photography is of high professional standards, no Instagram shots by amateurs posted to Facebook, and is also instructively illustrative of the beadwork, offering closeup shots that will help the aspiring bead worker reproduce some of the techniques. One quibble: it would have been nice to include the artists’ countries of origin just below the photo of their work instead of in the index, saving the reader a lot of flipping back and forth. A list of artists’ Web sites would have been nice, too. (Aug. 7)

You can ask for the book at your local bookstore, and it is also available on Amazon and BN.com.


[I originally posted these four downloadable project PDFs on September 19, but these two books are doing so well now that they have released that I thought it'd be a nice idea to bring the post back today for everyone's attention. ~ Ray]

Books in the beautiful, brand new I Can series from Lark Jewelry & Beading offer comprehensive, illustration-rich courses in beadweaving stitches. These books (with the first two releasing officially in November 2012) are accessible for beginners but equally designed for experienced beaders looking for either a refresher class or simply a range of exquisite, inspiring projects from exquisite, inspiring teachers.

Mabeline Gidez

Melissa Grakowsky

We’ve started the series off with two of the best in the business: Mabeline Gidez authored I Can Right Angle Weave, and Melissa Grakowsky wrote I Can Herringbone. The authors made all the projects in the books — more than two dozen each — and the books include galleries of invited artists’ beadwork using the stitch.

As usual, I think the best way to give you a taste of the books is to give you part of the books! So here we go: Right here we’re making available from each book two downloadable project PDFs:

Braided Bracelet from Melissa Grakowsky's I Can Herringbone


Lotus Flower Necklace and Earrings from Mabeline Gidez's I Can Right Angle Weave


Athena Necklace from Melissa Grakowsky's I Can Herringbone



Egyptian Queen Collar from Mabeline Gidez's I Can Right Angle Weave


Please join Lark Jewelry & Beading on Facebook by clicking here. Thank you! You also can find many downloadable beading and jewelry projects (as well as projects in other disciplines) on the Lark blog right here.



Free Fall Project from Suzann Thompson’s Crochet Garden

November 09, 2012, 09:41 am  Posted by Lark

Crochet GardenI’m bound and determined to hold on to the last vestiges of fall. Even though the trees around my house are almost bare and we’ve seen some early snow here in Asheville, I’m still surrounding myself with fall-themed creations. Hey, winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21, right?

This weekend, I’m planning to get started on my goal of learning to crochet, and my first project just might be these mums from Mini-MumsSuzann Thompson’s Crochet Garden. You can keep the spirit of fall alive, too, by downloading a PDF of “Mini, Midi, & Maxi-Mums” for absolutely free! Crochet a variety of sizes in any autumnal color you’d like, then spread some fall love by tying a string to each mum and hanging them in a sunny window, scattering the mums around your table at Thanksgiving, or attaching them to other projects. (Bonus: you can use them as Christmas tree ornaments, too!)

After you’re finished, get inspired to crochet other projects for the holidays—the Pineapple on page 42 is a great way to welcome holiday guests, and the Poinsettia (page 91) and Edelweiss (page 98) add indoor cheer when it’s chilly outside. Plus, Crochet Garden offers tons of other garden-inspired designs to keep you happily crocheting all year long. Click here for free “Mini, Midi, & Maxi-Mums” project instructions, and get started today!


Free Pressed Leaf Pendant Project

November 08, 2012, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark

While it’s still a tad early for thoughts of Christmas (you wouldn’t know it from the Christmas tree displays in retail stores though), chances are that once you see how easy it is to make this pendant, you’ll want to whip out a few extras for holiday gifts—maybe even make some nice matching earrings, too. I tell you this now so that you can gather up a nice supply of leaves (or press some petite flowers) while the getting is still good. Time it right and you can opt for fall foliage in yellows, reds, or oranges. For you crafters in the warmer climes, you can even cash in on the last of the late blooms.

This pretty little pendant is one of the 40+ super-duper easy projects featured in Mod Podge Rocks! by Amy Anderson. This piece was designed by one of the book’s guest contributors, Candie Cooper (author of Metalworking 101 for Beaders, Necklaceology, and Felted Jewelry). To make it you’ll use the amazing Dimensional Magic Mod Podge which protects embellishments while adding a nifty three-dimensional effect. After you experience DMMP once, you’ll want to squeeze it onto any flat surface. Yeah, really, it’s that cool.

Click here for project instructions.




Free Projects For Your Thanksgiving Table!

November 07, 2012, 12:44 pm  Posted by Lark

Pumpkin Pie in the SkyThanksgiving is only 15 days away, and you still have to buy the turkey, find that green bean casserole recipe you only make at this time of year, and figure out a seating arrangement that will keep Uncle Clark and Cousin Larry far enough apart to avoid a Hatfield-and-McCoy showdown.

Fortunately, creating table décor doesn’t have to be a stressor—we’ve got a couple of project ideas that are fun, easy to make, and will add pizzazz to your Thanksgiving table.

Heart-Felt HolidaysFirst, download this free pdf of (Pumpkin) Pie in the Sky by Aimee Ray from Heart-Felt Holidays! A delectably simple little project, these felted slices can be used as place card holders—just slip a name card between the whipped cream and crust. Plus, each guest can take his or her pie home as a sweet reminder of the day.

Next, check out Five Thanksgiving Placemats Kids Can Make on Babysittingjobs.com. Your kids will have a blast creating nifty little placemats for their own special table using fun items like fall leaves, felt, and golf balls.

So forget the turkey and trimmings for a few minutes and create some table décor that everyone will love (and, who knows, might even distract Clark and Larry from their family feud)!


Celebrating A Year of Pies

November 06, 2012, 12:11 pm  Posted by Lark

Here at Lark we really do care about every single book we work on. There are some books, though, that we wrap our arms around just a little bit tighter. A Year of Pies is one of those books for me. Working closely from start to finish with Ashley English on this seasonal exploration of pies was a sincere pleasure (don’t even get me started on the photo shoots!). It therefore thrills me to no end to see the book so well received once published. The enthusiasm for the book has been huge.

Booklist honored the book by placing it on its list of 2012 Top Ten Food Books. The San Francisco Chronicle included it on its list of Food Books That Make Great Gifts. It’s also been praised by The Wall Street Journal, USA Weekend, Design*Sponge, and Soule Mama to name just a few. And our crafty friends at Etsy just posted a fantastic recipe feature from the book today.

Here are some great quotes singing the praises of the book:

“Pie is one of those nearly universally loved dishes. It’s beautiful, delicious, and incredibly versatile. However, you would think that after a few centuries of tweaking this quintessentially American food, there wouldn’t be a whole lot left to say about it. Ashley English not only proves this wrong, but she manages to make us look at pie in a new light. From the decadent Chocolate, Coffee, and Orange Marmalade Tart to the veritably heart-warming Curried Winter Vegetable Pie, English sparks the impetus to dust off the old pastry blender and 9-inch pie pan and make something delicious…Prepare to be transported by her infectious enthusiasm and independent spirit.” – The Joy of Cooking

“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

“Ashley English’s new cookbook, A Year Of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Home Baked Pies, offers much inspiration. Seasonally organized and brimming with both sweet and savory pies, the book gives step-by-step instructions on all the technical details of making pies, from tools, to crusts, to decorating. It’s packed with useful and good-looking photography, and a host of recipes for pies (and tarts, quiches, and galettes) made with both traditional and innovative flavor combinations.” – Garden & Gun

“This beautiful cookbook is destined to become your go-to resource for all things pie. It’s that good!” – Non-Consumer Advocate

“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

“A unique cookbook, that contains enchanting photographs of the ultimate in homemade comfort food—pies… Ashley English’s instructions provide valuable tips related to the authentic baking process, which ensures a scrumptious finished product every time. Her organization and presentation of colors, spot-on selection of fruits and vegetables for each season, even her compilation of instruction fonts all work together to remind us of the true beauty of food, and the ever-present passion required to make it not only tasty, but soulful.” – Crescendoh


What could be better than a stupid sock creature? Two stupid sock creatures! Or is it 1.5 stupid sock creatures?

We’re not sure. All we know is Morv and Goper are two (one?) of our favorites in Return of the Stupid Sock Creatures.

Designed and sewn by the author himself, they could be causing trouble in your home as soon as next week. That’s right, we’re giving away Morv and Goper!

And because John is all about making your own creatures, the lucky winner also gets a copy of the book.

To enter for a chance to win the Morv and Goper stuffed sock creature and a copy of Return of the Stupid Sock Creatures, simply leave a comment (any comment is fine) on this post by 9 p.m. EDT on Friday, November 9th. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced by Monday, November 12th. Click here for the official rules.

Good luck and happy sock creature making! Leah is the winner!