Printing on Fabric: Inside Peek

April 30, 2013, 11:54 am  Posted by needlearts

In Printing on Fabric, experienced instructor Jen Swearington covers everything fabric lovers need to know about printing fabric by hand. She starts by translating design ideas to into print ideas and mapping prints (whether you want a simple loose repeat or precisely measured patterns for yardage). She moves on to simple transfers with various stenciling methods as well as photo emulsion (which is what most people know as classic screen printing). But she doesn’t stop there. Another chapter addresses all the options beyond ink when it comes to printing on fabric; dye baths, bleach resists, and more are all thoroughly discussed and accompanied by plenty of tried and true recipes. A dozen teaching projects complete the package: just take a look at the colors and textures below!

If Jen’s name sounds familiar, that may be because she has exhibited in Quilt National three times (winning the Award of Excellence in 2009) and taught at many fine craft schools, including the Savannah College of Art and Design, Penland School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and the University of North Carolina Asheville. She also travels to many craft shows and fairs, selling her work under the Jennythreads Studio label. You can see what she’s up to at www.jennythreads.net.


Interview with Paper Blooms Author Jeffery Rudell

April 26, 2013, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark

We are thrilled with the publication of our new book Paper Blooms. As you may have seen in our recent Inside Peek post, it is overflowing with creative and beautiful ideas for transforming paper into gorgeous floral designs. I recently had the opportunity to interview author, Jeffery Rudell, about his experiences on the book.

Q: When did you start working with paper, and paper flowers in particular? What attracted you to the craft?

A: I have been working with paper since 1970 when, as a second grader, I made myself a typewriter (I’d asked Santa for a real typewriter but he decided winter boots were a more suitable gift). The thing was made from an egg carton, a paper towel tube, some cardboard and a manilla file folder. I’ve been hooked ever since. Professionally, I’ve been designing paper props and window displays for the past fourteen years. Paper flowers grew out of a project I did with Tiffany & Company back in 2004. Flowers come in an inexhaustible range of shapes and colors so I never run out of things to make. Best of all, making them is fun and sharing them with others never fails to bring a smile to the face of whomever receives them.

Q: How did you go about designing the flowers in Paper Blooms?

A: I designed these flowers much the same way as I design most of my work, I sat down with a stack of paper, a pair of scissors, and a glue gun, and I started experimenting with different ways I could achieve the shapes and textures I needed in order to capture the look and feel of real-world flowers. With a book of this sort, the designs needed to not only look like actual flowers but they also had to be easy to make. It was a process of trial and error…and I made a lot of errors. A few times I went so far as to take actual flowers — Daffodils are one example — and take them apart, petal by petal, leaf by leaf, using an X-acto knife and studied the way they were made.

Q: How difficult are the flowers in Paper Blooms to make?

A: My editor and I worked hard to make sure that all of the flowers were quite easy to make. The book begins with some very beautiful flowers that are super simple to make. The second section of the book takes advantage of simple circle and star-shaped paper punches that are readily available at craft stores. The final section of the book builds on the skills covered earlier in the book and while these projects can be a little more time-consuming, they still are not difficult to make. If a person can use a scissors, a craft knife, and a hot glue gun, they have all the necessary skills to make every one of the projects. As with most crafts, readers really need only two things: a little patience and a willingness to make a mistake or two along the way.

Q: Do you have any tips for beginners who have never made paper flowers before?

A: When it comes to most craft projects I find that beginners often worry about doing things “the right way.” However, when it comes to flowers, the key ingredient for making your flowers look real is to avoid perfection. Real flowers are crooked; their leaves are often bent in odd places; their petals are sometimes droopy. I always encourage beginners to celebrate any imperfections they happen to create since these will ultimately make their flowers look more like the real thing. Oh, and remember, flower stems are rarely perfectly straight; a curved or arching stem is the fastest way to add life to a paper flower.

Q: I know it’s hard to pick among so many beautiful options, but are there any flowers in Paper Blooms that stand out as personal favorites? Why?

A: Picking a favorite is nearly impossible since I’m in love with them all. However, I remember when we were making the book, I was working with a photographer who was taking a picture of a bouquet of carnations I’d made. He was arranging them in front of the camera and as he was doing so he bent down to inhale their scent. Everyone in the room just stopped what they were doing and looked at him for a moment. When he realized what he’d done he let out a laugh, a little embarrassed I think, and said, “They look so real I forgot that they were paper.” I will always treasure that moment.

Q: Where would you like to take your paper art and career now that your book has been published?

A: While I was writing Paper Blooms I had to set aside a long list of other projects and ideas. Now that the book has been published, I’ve gone back to my sketchbooks and begun working on some of those ideas that I’ve had on hold. I’m very excited by what I’m doing but I’ll have to wait and see where this work takes me. Maybe there will be another craft book in my future but for now, I’m just enjoying the process of taking a sheet of paper and seeing what I can turn it into.

Author photo credit: Virginia Sherwood


Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

April 22, 2013, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 every year, both held annually during spring in the northern hemisphere, and autumn in the southern hemisphere. Many cities now extend the schedule of Earth Day observance events to be an entire week or month. These events are designed to encourage environmentally aware behaviors, including increased recycling, improved energy-efficiency, and reduction in disposable items.

In the spring of 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson, inspired by the grass-roots momentum and energy behind anti-Vietnam War demonstrations known as “teach-ins,” announced the inception of a day devoted to a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate.  The event soon took on a life of its own with 20 million demonstrators and participation from thousands of schools and local communities.

Earth Day has done so much to bring environmental causes into the spotlight and to motivate people en masse to take action. While it remains a wonderful way to have an annual check-in on our progress and push citizens and government to take further action, shouldn’t we consider giving the environmental a permanent spotlight in our thinking? In today’s rapidly changing world when the urgency of large-scale shifts in our modes of thinking and behavior are required, it seems useful, even necessary, to consider every day Earth Day.

As crafters and DIY-ers, I think it’s important to bring these practices into our creative processes, from the materials we use to the projects we make. Lark is a strong proponent of eco crafts with a variety of books that provide a wealth of inspiration to look at your crafting in a new environmentally-minded light. Check out the following books: Buildling Green, Candlemaking the Natural Way, Soapmaking the Natural Way, Eco Craft, Fantastic Recycled Plastic, and Eco Books. Projects from these books can help better connect you (as well as your crafty friends and family) with the need to view your crafting materials with new eyes.

Right now, hundreds of Lark books, including most of the books mentioned above, are included in a 50% Off Spring Sale on BN.com


Paper Blooms Inside Peek

April 19, 2013, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark

In his new book, Paper Blooms, Jeffery Rudell demonstrates how to create 25 simple but extraordinary paper flowers. Jeffery, an accomplished and versatile paper artist, guides readers through how to construct flowers in his signature style—polished, pretty, and modern— utilizing numerous step-by-step photos to visually illustrate how to construct the various flower components: stems, petals, and foliage.

The flower varieties are constructed from materials including purchased papers, glassine, vellum, coffee filters, and paint chips. The paper selection helps determine each flower’s aesthetics—opaque to gossamer, bold and striking to understated elegance.

Beautiful inspiration pages give readers ideas for the many ways the flowers may be used—as a whimsical cupcake topper, a decorative element for a place card or package, or a more elaborate room decor element.


Spring Into Journaling!

April 18, 2013, 09:00 am  Posted by Lark

Spring is such a great time to finally get started in a journaling routine! Seize the season of growth and new life by journaling your path in a new project, class, or group. Chronicle your gardening adventures as you tend your space from seed through harvest, complete with sketches, seed packets, notes, and more. Whether you’re simply looking for a special place all your own to record personal reflections and visual ideas or you are excited by the idea of incorporating these crafts into your existing repertoire, a handmade journal can be a really valuable tool for unlocking your creativity.

Right now, hundreds of Lark books, including a wide array of journaling and bookbinding books, are included in a 50% Off Spring Sale on BN.com

Journal It!

Making Handmade Books

The Decorated Journal

Eco Books

Mixed Media Books

The Weekend Crafter: Books & Journals

500 Handmade Books

Lark Studio Series Handmade Books

Masters Book Arts

Cover to Cover

Making Books That Fly…

Mixed Media Journals

Artful Journals


As the mom of two toddling boys, I don’t always (okay, never) have time to focus on how I look. With Mother’s Day on the horizon, I’ve naturally been thinking about myself a lot lately—hey, it’s my only chance! And I’ve determined that this year I will focus on looking good for once! When I say good, I don’t just mean showered, although that sounds pretty wonderful. I mean… creative, interesting, funky, head-turning. Just for a day.

I’m guessing you know someone in a similar situation. So why not make a handcrafted unique gift for the mom in your life this year, something wearable that she can show off and that gives her a little extra flare. Who wouldn’t be more appreciative, right? And who isn’t more deserving? You’ll have so much fun making her feel loved, beautiful, youthful, individual, and all those other things that sometimes get neglected when she’s busy being mom.

I will help you! I have chosen some of my favorite wearables (totes do count) from a selection of Lark Books. Yes, I’ll be sharing this blog link with my husband—he could always hire someone to knit me that gorgeous vest! And to his credit, he could totally pull off a wire necklace using some of his “shop” tools.

 These projects (from left to right, and top to bottom) are all part of Lark’s Spring Sale at BN.com.

1. Newkirk Intarsia Vest from Sock Yarn Studio. Page 134.

2. Bittersweet Necklace from Necklaceology. Page 99.

3. Springtime Francie Earrings from Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! Page 32.

4. Cages from Chains Chains Chains. Page 39.

5. Mod Boots from Mod Podge Rocks! Page 16.

6. Coffee-bag Tote from Eco Craft. Page 42.

7. Lake-Scene T-shirt from Making an Impression. Page 95.

8. Unrequited Love Recycled Belt from Steel Wire Jewelry. Page 105.

Go MAKE your mama proud!



Add some bling to your spring with inspiration (and let’s be honest: complete eye candy) from a number of our gorgeous Jewelry and Beading gallery books! Right now, hundreds of Lark books are included in a 50% Off Spring Sale on BN.com, where you’ll find everything from master beadwork to enameling instruction to easy beginner techniques.

Included in the Spring Sale are the following stunning gallery books, which spotlight no end of artistry and craftsmanship, as you can see in the featured photos. Click here for a link to the complete listing of Lark books in the BN.com 50% Off Spring Sale.




500 Earrings

Polly Wales

“Gypsy Wedding”

Each 7 x 9 x 0.1 cm

Gold plate, sterling silver, 9-karat gold, aquamarines; hand pierced


500 Silver Jewelry Designs

Jasmin Winter

“Friends of Mine: Two Sides”

63 cm long

Sterling silver, enamel, resin, thread; annealed, oxidized


Masters: Gemstones

George Morin

“Jaded Sun”

3.6 x 4.9 x 3 cm

Gold, jade, Paraiba; hand fabricated, pavé set


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Celebrate Spring with these Free Flower Projects!

April 15, 2013, 13:23 pm  Posted by Lark

Spring has sprung, friends! Whether you’re planning to learn a new craft this new season or looking to use all the craft supplies you hoarded over the long winter (guilty!!!), celebrate with this bounty of free projects…and a spring sale! Right now (until April 26), all of these featured books are on sale at 50% off their list price at BN.com.

Pretty Stamped Stone from Making an Impression

Blooming Flowers Bracelet from Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk!

Crocheted Leaves & Berries (a bonus project from Crochet Garden)

Easy Paper Marigolds from Paper Blooms

Mushroom Terrarium from Stash Happy: Felt

Lavender Sachets from Heart-Felt Holidays

Here’s a link for more info…and the full list of books in the sale!




Spring Book Sale! 50% Off Lark Books on BN.com

April 15, 2013, 13:08 pm  Posted by Lark

We’re celebrating Spring with a big 50% Off Sale of hundreds of our books on BN.com!

Just in time for Mother’s Day (and with summer break on the horizon), you’ll find this Spring Sale abuzz with how-to guides, gorgeous gallery inspiration, and insights into the technical and inventive processes of wide-ranging creative categories. From jewelry to clay, crochet to paper art, pies to moonshine, and more, Lark celebrates creativity in its myriad forms, and our 50% Off Spring Sale on BN.com celebrates creative readers and makers everywhere!

Are you ready to try a new creative outlet?

Are you seeking the perfect gift for a special mom in your life?

Are you that special mom whose bookshelf needs a little love?

Making plans for a summer break filled with creative activities?

Planning ahead for the upcoming school year?


Now through Friday, April 26, say hello to spring with a bevy of books—visit the entire list of sale titles here:

Spring Sale of Lark Books on BN.com

*And remember, as with all BN.com orders of $25 or greater, readers get free shipping!


Spring into Journaling!

Lookin’ Good this Mother’s Day with Handmade Wearables

Spring Bling! Gorgeous Jewelry Books in Lark’s Spring Book Sale

Celebrate Spring with these Free Flower Crafts






Flower Friday: Free Project from Paper Blooms

April 12, 2013, 12:01 pm  Posted by Lark

If you’re searching for an antidote to April’s showers, then you’ve come to the right place! It’s Flower Friday at Lark, an occasion for celebration as we crack the covers on Jeffery Rudell’s new release, Paper Blooms: 25 Extraordinary Flowers to Make for Weddings, Celebrations & More—a book that’s certain to get you into the swing of spring.

In this delightful collection of projects, Rudell shows you how to make an array of flowers using his genius patterns and easy papercraft techniques. All of the classic blooms are included—poppy, sunflower, black-eyed Susan—along with a few surprises. Rudell has included step-by-step photos on how to assemble each, as well as tips on selecting paper and working with color and scale. From the big picture (creating table-worthy arrangements) down to the fine details (shaping petals and stems), Paper Blooms covers all the bases. Whether you’re making a simple spray or a statement flower, filling a buttonhole or a bud vase, you’ll discover springtime bliss in Paper Blooms.

In honor of Flower Friday, we’re offering a free how-to from the book. A quick way to get your flower fix (without getting your hands dirty), the Marigold project pictured above is a sure cure for spring fever.

Download the free project instructions here: Marigold