Fall is for Stonescaping

September 30, 2013, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark

Except for the intrepid cool weather crop gardener, this time of the year most folk are hanging up their trowels and rakes for the season. And while the fall weather may not be conducive to a bounty of blossoms in your landscape, it is a perfect time to do a little hardscaping. Hardscaping elements—walkways, paths, garden walls, water features—are the backbone of any yard. You begin with a good plan as to how you like to use areas of your yard (relaxing, entertaining, vegetable gardening) and build the foundation. Patios for cook-outs and dining alfresco, water features to soothe the nerves,  garden beds for planting veggies, herbs, shrubs, and flowers and paths and walkways to navigate it all.

The cooler temperatures of the season are perfect for working with stone. Whether you’re building a patio, firepit, or retaining wall out of rock, the crispness in the air will boost your energy level. The Complete Guide to Stonescaping:Dry-Stacking, Mortaring, Paving & Gardenscaping by David Reed is 216 pages of basic what-you-need-to-know-about-stone know-how and instructions for how to build walls, paths, patios, steps, terraces, and borders. This book is a compilation of David’s two popular titles: The Art and Craft of Stonescaping and The Art & Craft of Stonework.


Hundreds of detailed how-to illustrations and step-by-step photographs remove the intimidation factor and help weekend stoneworkers create beautiful and useful stone projects that can be enjoyed for years to come.


A generous gallery of stonework project ideas provides tons of inspiration.


And a “before and after” photo section illustrates the possibilities.


As author David Reed tells us, “Stacking and laying stone are more popular today than ever. Why? In our high-tech world, stonescaping allows us the rare opportunity to reconnect with our natural surroundings. What’s more, working with stone offers tangible, deeply satisfying, and lasting rewards. Set three stones to make a garden bench or stack a small retaining wall—just a few feet long a couple of feet high—and you’ll know exactly what I mean…If you can handle a shovel, wield a hammer, and lift small stones, and if you’re eager to spend some time outdoors, the world of stonescaping is yours.”



GIVEAWAY – Bookbinding & Book Arts Bundle

September 25, 2013, 15:59 pm  Posted by Lark

Lark was a pioneer in the world of book arts, publishing the classic reference Cover to Cover back in 1995. In the more than fifteen years since its publication, bookbinding and journaling have become a mainstay in the craft world. 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 book or journal can be a really valuable tool for unlocking your creativity. We’re so excited about the newest addition to our list, Handmade Books Volume 2, that we have something special for you.

We’re offering up the entire collection pictured below to one lucky person. How can you enter for a chance to win? Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, October 2. One winner will be selected at random and announced on Thursday, October 3. Click here for the official rules. Good luck! This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Tracey!

500 Handmade Books Volume 2

Eco Books: Inventive Projects from the Recycling Bin

Journal Your Way: Designing & Using Handmade Books

The Complete Decorated Journal: A Compendium of Journaling Techniques

Book Play: Creative Adventures in Handmade Books

Making Mini Books: Big Ideas for 30+ Projects


Crochet Love along + free scarf project download!

September 24, 2013, 09:23 am  Posted by Lark

Join the needlearts team as we learn to crochet together…and discover Crochet Love, Jenny Doh’s new book. With a host of beginner crochet basics, lovely how-to photos for basic stitches, and step-by-step photos to walk us through the projects, this is a great book to get started crocheting with. Oh, that and the 27 so sweet projects! We’ve each chosen a project (at right), we’ve got our supplies together, and we’re ready to get started. Join us each Tuesday as we chart our progress.

Here’s what we’re making and why:

Dawn is making… the Bear Ears Headband. I chose the ears because it is something my kids can enjoy when I finish.

Amanda is making… the Four-Fish Mobile. I love these little fish! Rather than a mobile, I think I may turn them into little rattles for baby hands.

Beth is making…the Soap Saver & Washcloth set. For me, part of this project’s appeal is its beginner-friendly vibe. I’m a beginning crocheter, and I loved the idea of starting with a project that’s approachable and pretty.

Shannon is making…the Skinny Scalloped Scarf. I’m rather new to crocheting, and I love cool scarves; the Skinny Scalloped Scarf looks like the perfect blend of hip and doable! And you can make this scarf, too! Download the free project instructions below and stitch along with us.

Free project download: Skinny Scalloped Scarf

Ready to fall in Crochet Love??? Here’s a link to more info about this book and a fun preview video by Jenny.


Giveaway: Two Books by Marcia DeCoster

September 23, 2013, 14:51 pm  Posted by Lark

Did you know that some of Marcia DeCoster’s die-hard fans call themselves Marciettes? (I’ll let you in on how that’s pronounced: “mar-shet.”) Well, this blog post gives you the chance to win a copy of both of her books…and if you’re not already a Marciette, you’re going to become one!

One lucky person wins a copy of Marcia’s new book, Marcia DeCoster’s Beads in Motion, and her previous book, Marcia DeCoster’s Beaded Opulence. To be eligible, simply leave a comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Monday, September 30, 2013. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Click here for the official rules.

And while you’re waiting breathlessly ’til next week to hear if you’re the charmed person who scored the loot, click here for a free project from the new book! THIS GIVEAWAY IS OVER. THE WINNER WAS SANDIE SINATRA OF RHODE ISLAND.

Visit Marcia DeCoster’s website to see more images of her work, buy kits, link to her blog, view her workshop calendar and more.


Stitched Blooms: Blog Tour Update

September 20, 2013, 15:00 pm  Posted by Lark

Stitched Blooms fever has officially zapped crafters everywhere! We kicked off the official Stitched Blooms blog tour this week, and stitchers are falling in love with Carina’s colorful motifs and projects!

On Monday, Lark’s Amanda Carestio showed us how she revamped her little girl’s skirt with leaf motif #165. See the results (and Ruby’s too-cute little legs!), plus download the leaf motif here. “There are so many things to love about Stitched Blooms,” says Amanda. “The sumptuous cover, Carina’s informative section about color, the 20 incredibly cute projects, the 300 motifs that you can do absolutely anything with, and the CD so you can resize the motifs to suit your needs.”

On Tuesday, Sara from Sew Sweetness stitched up her own version of the Spectacular Spectacles Case, which we think is just lovely! You can see it on her post here. She was also taken with the Pretty Organized Calendar project: “The border of the calendar is embroidered and sewn together, and there is a printable for the actual paper calendar, which you slip inside the border. If I had more time, I totally would have made this project for my review! It seems both beautiful and functional.”

And on Wednesday, Jessica at Running with Scissors and Diane at Craftypod joined in the fun! “I’m a fan of Carina’s color sense,” says Diane. “It’s bright and clear and happy, and she can mix a whole slew of colors without ever sliding into garishness. I was thrilled to see her give this subject some serious coverage in her book.” Find out what else Diane loved about the book here.

Jessica was thrilled to find all the motifs on CD. “(It was) one of my favorite aspects of the book. You get all the images so you can enlarge, combine, or shrink them to meet the needs of your project.” To read Jessica’s review, and for chance to win a free floss bundle, click here.

Keep checking in daily with the bloggers below as they explore all that Stitched Blooms has to offer! And don’t forget to pre-order your copy of the book, which will be available online and in bookstores everywhere in October! Happy Stitching!


Sept. 20th – Mollie Johanson, Wild Olive 

Sept. 21st – Aina Crescimbeni, Casa Andersen

Sept. 21st  - Beth Wilson, Sew Mama Sew

Sept. 22nd  - Amy Proff Lyons, APL Creations

Sept. 23rd  - Jo Stafferton & Floresita, Feeling Stitchy

Sept. 23rd – Rachel Hobson, Average Jane Crafter

Sept. 24th – John Adams, Quilt Dad

Sept. 24th – Aimee Ray, Little Dear Tracks

Sept. 25th – Jenny Doh, Crescendoh

Sept. 25th – Nicole Vos van Avezathe, Follow the White Bunny

Sept. 26th – Hanna Andersson, iHanna

Sept. 26th – Abby Glassenberg, While She Naps

Sept. 27th – Susie Stubbs, Flower Press


Introducing 500 Handmade Books Volume 2

September 20, 2013, 13:50 pm  Posted by Lark

Lark has a long tradition of celebrating the book’s potential as a creative medium. (We believe some books should be judged by their covers!) The tradition continues with 500 Handmade Books Volume 2, our newest salute to the book as art object. Juried by Julie Chen and recently plugged by the Huffington Post, Volume 2 is the follow-up to our 2008 release, 500 Handmade Books. It’s a breathtaking new collection that features the work of contemporary artists who are subverting the book’s standard structure to create bold, boundary-pushing pieces.

The range of formats on display in this expansive book-arts survey is remarkable. There are pop-ups, accordions, and carousels, scrolls and concertinas. And, of course, these imaginative creations are made of more than just paper. Repurposed items, fabric, and elements from nature are a few of the innovative materials favored by today’s book artists. As you’ll see when you scroll through the images that follow, these books were designed to delight the eye as well as the intellect. Enjoy!


Passages by Julie Girardini

Anchoring and Persistence by Lark K. Burkhart

At Sea by Rhiannon Alpers

Subject/Verb/Object by Ellen Knudson

Ten Books on Architecture 1 by Helen Malone


You can find 500 Handmade Books Volume 2 at Barnes & Noble and wherever books are sold.


Free Project from Flip Dolls & Other Toys…

September 18, 2013, 09:00 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

Fall is almost upon us here in the mountains. The trees are still mostly green, but over the next few weeks they’ll start to turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red. What better way to celebrate than with a free project?

The fun bean bag trees above come to you from Flip Dolls & Other Toys That Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab, and Go. As you might have guessed, this book contains much more than flip dolls. You’ll find everything from a ukulele with plucky strings and a silly lie detector to horses with wings and crocodiles with zipper mouths.

Want to try a project before you buy it? Follow the link to download this project for free: Stacking Trees



Meet the Craft-a-Doodlers!

September 17, 2013, 09:00 am  Posted by Lark


Last month, our newest bundle of joy, Craft-a-Doodle debuted to immediate success and delighted response from happy readers. Doodling is a popular trend, and the book was a sincere pleasure to publish, but most importantly, each and every contributing artist is extraordinary. Their beautiful doodles run the gamut from silly to surreal. What fun it is just to leaf through, before even picking up a doodling utensil of your own! Without further fanfare, let us introduce the Craft-a-Doodle artists:


Hanna Andersson, also known as iHanna, is a Swedish artist, journalist, and self-proclaimed notebook junkie who enjoys blogging about her creative adventures. To learn more about Hanna, visit her website.

Hanna Andersson


Julie Armbruster




Julie Armbruster.is a New Jersey native currently residing in Asheville, North Carolina. Her mixed media paintings have been displayed in galleries throughout the East Coast and as far as Venice, Italy. Go to Julie’s website to see more of her work.




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Stitched Blooms blog tour kickoff – free motif download!

September 16, 2013, 10:44 am  Posted by Lark

Stitched BloomsWe’re so excited to celebrate the release of Stitched Blooms by Carina Envoldsen-Harris with the first stop on the official blog tour! You probably recognize Carina’s work: she’s the artist behind Polka & Bloom and part of &Stitches. I’ve always been drawn to her designs and, especially, her use of color. And her lovely personality!

There are so many things to love about Stitched Blooms: the sumptuous cover (for starters!), Carina’s informative section about color, the 20 incredibly cute projects (the Mexican Folk Blouse has taken up permanent residence on my to-do list!), the 300 motifs that you can do absolutely anything with, the CD so you can resize the motifs to suit your needs…it’s hard-working, it’s lovely to look at, and it’s incredibly inspirational – the kind of book you want in your workspace! I loved working on this book…and I also love that I’ve got a copy to keep and use!

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite motifs from the book, leaf number 165. I have a lot of favorites, but this one caught my eye; it’s a simple design that offers lots of color options. And since most of my crafting time these days is spent accessorizing my daughter, I decided to alter a hand-me-down skirt with some hand stitching.

I stitched my leaf in magenta, purple, and red tones. Instead of French knots, I stitched little asterisks in orange.

To balance the leaf, I added a double line of running stitches along the bottom edge of the skirt. Here’s Ruby in her (in)famous purple shoes. She has a thing for sequins, this one.

I’m pretty sure you need some stitched leaves – and blooms! – in your life. Download the leaf motif (in several sizes for your convenience) here: Leaf #165

And follow along with the rest of the blog tour for free stuff, giveaways, and more info about the book! Here’s where we’re headed next:

Sept. 16th – Shannon Cook, Luv in the Mommyhood
Sept. 17th – Lynne, Lily’s Quilts
Sept. 17th – Sara Lawson, Sew Sweetness
Sept. 18th – Alicia Rosello, DMC blog
Sept. 19th – Jessica Crapo, Running with Scissors
Sept. 19th – Diane Gilleland, Crafty Pod
Sept. 20th – Mollie Johanson, Wild Olive
Sept. 21st – Aina Crescimbeni, Casa Andersen
Sept. 21st  - Beth Wilson, Sew Mama Sew
Sept. 22nd  - Amy Proff Lyons, APL Creations
Sept. 23rd  - Jo Stafferton & Floresita, Feeling Stitchy
Sept. 23rd – Rachel Hobson, Average Jane Crafter
Sept. 24th – John Adams, Quilt Dad
Sept. 24th – Aimee Ray, Little Dear Tracks
Sept. 25th – Jenny Doh, Crescendoh
Sept. 25th – Nicole Vos van Avezathe, Follow the White Bunny
Sept. 26th – Hanna Andersson, iHanna
Sept. 26th – Abby Glassenberg, While She Naps
Sept. 27th – Susie Stubbs, Flower Press



Giveaway: Iris Schreier’s Reversible Knits + YARN!!!

September 13, 2013, 14:46 pm  Posted by Lark

Today, we’re celebrating the release of Iris Schreier’s Reversible Knits. Now available as a paperback, this book combines the best of a dynamic technique with stunning-yet-wearable projects. Using six key techniques, you can make a whole collection of versatile items. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Bowery Trio: a cowl and cuff set that’s bold on one side, subdued solid on the other
  • Charcoal Mobius Collar: a sophisticated collar with a striped pattern and a subtle twist
  • ZigZag Posh Shrug: knitted chevrons that go from day to night seamlessly
  • Shoji Wrap: an accessory that’s airy but substantial, romantic but modern

And today, we’re offering a lovely giveaway: up for grabs, a copy of the book and 2 skeins of silk mohair from ArtYarns, perfect for making the book’s light and airy Gossamer Collar project (at right). Come in for a closer look at this yarn, folks…it’s positively sumptuous!

For a chance to win the book and the yarn, simply comment on this blog post: any comment will do! Leave your comment/entry by 11:59 EST on Friday, September 20th. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and contacted Monday, September 23rd. Click here for the official rules. Thanks to everyone who entered! A winner has been selected and contacted! Stay tuned for another chance to win yarn later this month.