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Seeds of Creativity: 10 Etsy Favorites

February 26, 2013, 12:49 pm  Posted by Lark
 

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I’m going to come right out and tell you, I set out to do a gardening post today. Maybe some ideas for gardening in small spaces or instructions for building a wooden planter of some kind. After all, it’s getting to be about time to start our seedlings. But, for most of us, it isn’t quite time yet. And I just wasn’t feelin’ it yet. So, instead of forcing it, I’ve decided to collect a bunch of fertile, seedy beauty from around the Etsy-sphere to help us all get into the gardening mood. (Thanks for the brilliant idea, Beth!)

 

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This. I have to have this. I wish I knew what kind of berries the artist (Cynthia Del Giudice) used, because I want to learn everything about this piece (and the matching earrings). This is just my kind of pretty—so basic and natural, and earthy.
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Brilliant! Paper artist Erin Groff packs a wide variety of ornamental, edible, and medicinal wildflowers into these 3.75 x 6.75-inch sheets of handmade art for your art!
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Wee Felt Worlds designer spotlight: Heide Murray

February 25, 2013, 08:38 am  Posted by Lark
 

To celebrate the release of Wee Felt Worlds: Sweet Little Scenes to Needle Felt, we’re shining a spotlight on some of the book’s oh-so-talented designers.

Today, we’re delighted to share a little interview with artist Heide Murray, whose needle felted creatures apper in the book’s Circus Maximus chapter. Heide writes about needle felting, vintage goodness, design, teaching, and more on her blog All Good Wishes.

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Find these fellows in the Circus Maximus chapter of "Wee Felt Worlds"

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How did you get started needle felting?
I started needle felting in 2001. I had been looking for a way to add real fur to my polymer clay sculptures, and that led me to try a class in needle felting. I had been making art dolls for a few years and taking doll making classes with some wonderful teachers, but learning to needle felt was a game changer. I never went back to clay. The design possibilities are endless with wool, plus it is soft and organic and colorful and affordable and wonderful.

(Heide’s needle felted chicken at right)

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What is your dream needle-felting project? Is there something you’ve been thinking about making but haven’t yet?
The next project is always the dream project. I sketch in lots of journals and always go back through them and find things I still want to make.

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What’s the smallest thing you’ve needle felted? What’s the largest?
When I first started needle felting my work was much larger and it took days to finish one piece. I have gone smaller not only because smaller=faster=more affordable, but the size is also more accessible for people to buy cute guys they can quietly add to their home.

(Heide’s needle felted bunny and fox at left)

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If you could make another scene for Wee Felt Worlds, what would you make?
If I were to make another scene, it would have to be the farmers market brought to life. I love faces on my fruits and veggies, and I’ve been doing lots of vintage inspired anthropomorphic characters lately.

(Heide’s needle felted garden friends at right)

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What are your other crafty obsessions?
Probably my biggest crafty obsession is repurposing vintage craft supplies. Almost nothing gets me as excited as finding vintage pipe cleaners, wooden beads, and buttons which I use in my work.

Thanks Heide!

 
 
 
 
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Wee Felt-a-long: Tiny UFO (PEW PEW!)

February 22, 2013, 11:00 am  Posted by Lark
 

alien logofelt galaxyHi everyone! Welcome to our show: Wee Felt-a-long Time! Today, we are going to learn how to make the Tiny UFO from Michelle Kiker’s Felt Galaxy project from Wee Felt Worlds. Follow the instructions below, and soon you’ll have your own little spaceship. And don’t stop at one, make a whole armada! Zoom! Swoosh! Pew pew!

A quick note: I’ve made several of these and come up with my own take on how to make a tiny UFO. So these instructions will differ slightly from those in the book. You’ll find as you learn that you come up with your own ways of needle felting and creating shapes.

And before you start, here’s the most important piece of information you need to know about needle felting: be careful with that needle! They are super sharp with little barbs, and they love to stab your fingers if you aren’t careful.

UFO how to 1

1. Gather your materials. You’ll need a felting surface (foam works great), a felting needle, and 4 different colors of wool roving (I used orange, gray, yellow, and white).

UFO how to 2

2. Take some orange roving and needle felt it into a ball.

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Wee Felt Worlds designer spotlight: Yin Chan

February 21, 2013, 13:46 pm  Posted by Lark
 

To celebrate the release of Wee Felt Worlds: Sweet Little Scenes to Needle Felt, we’re shining a spotlight on some of the book’s oh-so-creative designers. Today, we’re happy to share an interview with Yin Chan, the mind behind the delicious felted treats in the book’s Sweet Shoppe chapter and the talented artist of Sweet Felts, a blog dedicated to needle felted foods.

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Find these felted treats in the Sweet Shoppe chapter of "Wee Felt Worlds"

 

How did you get started needle felting?
It was an accident. I saw a needle felt book for miniature animals at my local bookstore. When I was reading it, all I could think of was to make myself some felted donuts. I am always interested in miniature/dollhouse food items. After I learned the basic needle felt technique, I started to make a couple donuts here and some cupcakes there. After my friends saw my sweet felts, they all wanted some of them. Thus, I started to make them and share them with people who love sweets.

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What is your dream needle-felting project? Is there something you’ve been thinking about making but haven’t yet?
A Wedding cake bakery. I have been thinking about making some life-size 5- or 6-teired wedding cakes with felt ribbons, butterflies, birds, and roses.

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What’s the weirdest thing you’ve needle felted?
It would be for my friend’s twin sons’ birthday. My friend, Teresa, wanted to have some unique party favors for her sons’ birthday party, and she decided my needle felted work would be a great fit. Her sons’ party featured mini-cupcakes and a jungle theme, so I made 30+ mini cupcakes with monkeys and bananas as cake toppers (pictured at left).

It was an intensive project–each banana was so tiny! Some of them were even peeled open. They took me many days and nights to finish them. My eyes actually hurt after that. But it was all worth it when my friend told me how much she and her guests loved them.

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What’s the smallest thing you’ve needle felted? What’s the largest?
The smallest thing I’ve made were the felted bananas. The largest project would be the life-size cup of latte as a giveaway prize for fans on my blog.

(Pictured at right is Yin’s felted Sushi Deluxe.)

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If you could make another scene for Wee Felt Worlds, what would you make?
I like what’s in there. I think that I would stick with the same scene, but with more sweets: birthday cakes, layer cakes, cookies, pies, and more pastries.

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What are your other crafty obsessions?
I have been a knitter for years. New trends in knitting inspire my work and help me renew my technique. Beyond knitting, my newer obsession is making scale model buildings.

 

Thanks, Yin!

 

 
 
 
 
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Win some wee felted sweets!

February 20, 2013, 10:15 am  Posted by Lark
 

dino logoDid you know that some dinosaurs had a sweet tooth? No? Well, these do! Mr. T-Rex loves him some donuts, and Mr. Stegosaurus simply must have his daily dose of ice cream. And if you need to feed your own sweet tooth, here’s your chance: create a caption for this dino sweets scene for a chance to win some felted sweets of your own! What are they thinking as they eat all the sweets? How did they get in the sweet shoppe? What is happening?!

dino sweets scene

RAWR! Caption me!

And for more awesome needle felted scenes (before and after we mixed them up) check out Wee Felt Worlds. You’ll find a mad scientist’s lair, a pirate beach, exploring aliens, camping bears, and more!

To enter to win a prize pack of felted sweets, leave a comment on this post between now and 9 p.m. Sunday, February 24. Any comment is fine, but we’d love for you to create a caption for this needle-felted scene. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced by Monday, February 25. Click here for the official rules, and good luck!

Congrats to Virginia! She is our randomly selected winner of some wee felted sweets.

 
 
 
 
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Put a Ring on It: Rock Rings

February 18, 2013, 14:48 pm  Posted by Lark
 

Once while standing in line, I happened to overhear a woman talking about her diamond engagement ring to a friend. She turned to greet her acquaintance and, as she flung out her left hand for view, pronounced, “Check out my rock!”

It was an interesting moment for a couple reasons, though I was especially intrigued by her reference to the diamond as a “rock,” which I realize isn’t uncommon, but still caught my attention. Yes, diamonds are rocks and they come from the earth, but when I hear the term, my first thought isn’t of precious gems–it’s of smooth river stones and pink canyon walls and the little shifting pebbles lining the campus path of my alma mater. To me, those are rocks, and they do beautiful credit to the classification.

We’ve just celebrated a Season of Love (of course, arguably, that season is year-round), and I’ve been reflecting on the ring as a symbol of love. In this, my fourth and final day of this symbolic exploration, I’ve decided to meander through Etsy in search of compelling rings reminiscent of the unexpected and literal interpretation of “rock.”

 

Geodes, topaz, concrete, beach rocks, and pretty little river stones all contribute to this delightful exploration, and I thank the artists mentioned below for creating such beautiful pieces in celebration of the natural wonder we find in our midst.

(Want to read my other ring posts? Visit “Put a Ring on It: Turquoise Rings, Day 3“  “Put a Ring on It: Resin Rings, Day 2“  “Put a Ring on It: Petite Rings, Day 1“)

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Geode Agate Slice Ring :: popins

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River Rock Ring :: CinagroFarm

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 Cosmic Blue and Purple Druzy Ring :: hannahnaomi

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Dry River Stone Ring :: carriegarrott

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Staff Picks: Crochet Addiction

February 16, 2013, 11:00 am  Posted by Lark
 

I’ve recently gotten hooked on crochet. (Ha! Get it?!) I’ve completed several scarves so far, and have plans to make a million more. I might have a small addiction…

My obsession started when Crochet Boutique landed on my desk. The projects are fabulous, stylish, and fun versions of hats, bags, scarves, and more. And I can’t wait to make the Cuddle Cowl, I’ll end up wearing it everywhere!

Crochet Boutique

If you want to know more about how crochet works when using different yarns and stitches, Creating Crochet Fabric is your book. There are also some great projects featured sprinkled among all the great information.

Creating Crochet Fabric

And I’m not there yet, but I’m hoping to soon be able to tackle the fine art of Amigurumi! Who doesn’t want to make their own crocheted burgers, dogs, and bunnies?

Amigurumi!

So, if like me you feel the urge to crochet, visit our Book Love sale on BN.com. These and many more of our craft titles are 50% off now through February 17th. If you want to go straight to the books featured here, click on the following links.

Crochet BoutiqueCreating Crochet FabricAmigurumi!

crochet covers

And for even more crochet books in our Book Love sale, visit here: Books for crocheters and knitters.

Happy Crocheting!

 
 
 
 
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Book Love: Staff Favorites

February 16, 2013, 09:02 am  Posted by Lark
 

Because my attempts at any kind of creative enterprise, be it crocheting or cooking, are dependably disastrous, I’m in the minority here at Lark. I’m not half as crafty as most of my colleagues. I am, however, an all-around art lover, so when naming favorites, I gravitate toward Lark’s gallery books. I’ve had the pleasure of working on a number of these image-rich titles, and while I realize that their primary purpose is to showcase the work of our incredible contributors, the ones I like best engage me as both a reader and a viewer, providing food for thought as well as dazzlingly creative eye candy.

The books in Lark’s PUSH Series do both of these things. Each title spotlights a single medium and features 30 cutting-edge artists from around the world. In addition to showing off fantastic work, the books provide an in-depth look at the contributors, going beyond the basic bio and offering a bit of backstory for each artist. Through q-and-a’s, anecdotes, and quotes, PUSH reveals the personalities—strong, colorful, and idiosyncratic—behind the work.

PUSH Paper and PUSH Print top my list of Lark favorites. Paper is a medium I’m keen on, and the PUSH book, which was curated by illustrator Jaime Zollars, does a terrific job of displaying the material’s creative range. PUSH Paper features spread after spread of ingenious pop-up pieces, clever toys, painstakingly cut sculptures, and extreme installations. The stuff is cunningly crafted, much of it characterized by an appealing sense of play. The artist q-and-a’s on each page shed light on the work—a perfect partnership between imagery and text.

 

A spread from PUSH Paper featuring quilled pieces by Yulia Brodskaya.

PUSH Print is a winning introduction to some of today’s most important printmakers. Brothers Keith and Jamie Berger of Cranky Pressman curated this bold, colorful collection, which features posters, assemblages, sculptures, and more. The contributors use an assortment of techniques, including screen-printing, etching, letterpress, and lithography, and their stories are inspiring. Many of them are driven by a need to communicate—to share information and ideas as well as imagery. They’re a hands-on bunch who get a charge out of the printing process and savor its attendant challenges and imperfections. Their energy is definitely infectious.

Pages from PUSH Print, with wood engravings by Roman Klonek.

As a Lark editor, I’m conscious of the fact that the pieces reproduced on the pages of our books tell only part of the story. The art I see always awakens my sense of wonder, raising questions about the people and the processes involved. The PUSH series—edgy, informative, and visually spectacular—never fails to fill in the blanks.

PUSH Print and PUSH Paper are both included in Lark’s Book Love sale!:

<<  50% Off Book Love Sale exclusively on BN.com  >>

 

 
 
 
 
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Put a Ring on It: Turquoise Rings

February 15, 2013, 16:59 pm  Posted by Lark
 

When they retired, my lovebird grandparents enjoyed traveling to destinations near and far, and my always-on-trend grandma often returned home with a signature piece (or pieces) of jewelry from their journeys. When she passed away a few years ago, I inherited a few of her beautiful treasures, including some turquoise jewelry from a trip she made to the southwest with my grandpa. There’s just something about turquoise—both the stone and the color—that appeals to me, and I love being able to wear jewelry that my grandma held dear.

In this Season of Love, I’ve thought about my one-of-a-kind, fearless, loving grandma and the tangible things of hers I can still hold and wear that link me to her memory. As I embarked on this four-day foray into the world of unexpected, eye-catching, dazzling rings as symbols of love, I found myself drawn to pieces that highlighted turquoise and its evocative hue.

Whether it’s a pale aqua stone in a Victorian setting or a striking geometric mosaic made of turquoise blocks, the work featured below caught my attention and simply wouldn’t let go. These rings are all so different from one another, yet they share a color family rich with significance, which might be why I like them all so much—they possess a commonality, and yet for the maker and the wearer, each ring is its own story.

Big thanks go to the inventive, talented Etsy artists who made these rings—seriously, you’re amazing.

(Want to read my other ring posts? Visit “Put a Ring on It: Petite Rings, Day 1“  “Put a Ring on It: Resin Rings, Day 2“  “Put a Ring on It: Rock Rings, Day 4“)

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Zuni Cluster Turquoise Ring :: wildearthshop

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Blue Peruvian Opal Ring :: lsueszabo

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22k Gold Turquoise Ring :: MonBedo

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Chrysoprase and Turquoise Cluster Ring :: MercuryOrchid

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Staff Picks: My 5 Favorite Lark Books

February 15, 2013, 13:22 pm  Posted by Lark
 

You know you’ve got a good thing going on when you’re asked to write a blog post about your favorite Lark books, and it takes you all of 10 seconds to come up with the list.

Here are my top five “staff picks” and why I love them dearly, as in, I can’t imagine my life without these books. Please excuse the personal element of all my stories, but isn’t that why anyone falls in love with a book? Because of some special little connection, quote, or start of something new…

 

1000 Rings

 

This book introduced me to Lark. I wanted to design my own wedding ring and needed inspiration—1000 Rings offered more than I could have imagined. It sparked my creativity for a design and began my path to a job in the publishing world. I discovered that Lark was in Asheville, North Carolina, by reading the copyright page (dorky, I know). In fine print, it says that if the reader has any questions to contact Lark, and the address follows. In fact, yes, I do have a question: Will you please hire me?! I stalked several editors until they let me in the door, finally landed a scary group interview, and soon moved south with my fiancé in tow. It’s five years later and those editors are my beloved colleagues and friends—all because of a ring (or 1000 of them, I guess).

 

 

A is for Apron 

 

I love this book because it gave my co-workers and me a reason to get together and sew during lunch breaks one winter. We all decided on an apron to make, lugged our sewing machines to the office, and set up shop on the top floor of our building. During those lunches, we yapped about life, discussed office politics, and somehow ended up with several adorable creations. It was the perfect (and totally unexpected) example of that happy little place where team building meets therapy!

 

 

 

We're so proud of these beautiful aprons!

 

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