Simple Soldered Jewelry and Accessories

February 26, 2014, 20:14 pm  Posted by Lark


Jewelry of all kinds, home decor, and lots of inspiration! That’s what you’ll find in this new paperback version of Lisa Bluhm’s playful how-to, Simple Soldered Jewelry and Accessories. Holiday ornaments featuring ribbons, pendants, and Victorian clip art; a turquoise jewelry set; a necklace made from a broken porcelain plate; and bedazzled antique bottles are just a few of the fun-expected projects you’ll find!












Lisa takes readers through the basics, including what you’ll need and some simple techniques, and she shares lots of experience that can only come from having learned the hard way. After teaching all about soldering, she shares a few jewelry-making techniques too, which are followed by more than 40 projects. Think of this as your incredibly comprehensive Intro to Soldering course!


Sophisticated Pinch Pottery

February 18, 2014, 09:00 am  Posted by Lark

Don’t you love the texture on these pieces? The lidded  jar with its boldly carved ridges, is rugged yet organic and the teapot’s floral motif while prominate, is graceful and perfectly suited to the pot’s plumpness. The forms are both pleasing to the eye and functional. What I find especially remarkable is that both of these sophisticated works were created using only simple pinch pottery techniques.


Susan Halls is the author of newly released Pinch Pottery: Functional, Modern Handbuilding. Utilizing techniques readers may have learned long ago in summer camp, like making pinch pots, Susan shows how easy it is to create a wealth of ceramic forms that are refined and incredibly modern looking. She begins with  simple shapes anyone can make, like the classic pinch pot, and then moves on to pinching a sphere, a wide bowl, a trumpet shape, and finally a cylinder. From there Susan demonstrates how easy it is to cut, alter, and combine these shapes to make more complex forms.












Continue reading...

Stitched Blooms Color Workshop, Part 2 + Giveaway

February 14, 2014, 19:42 pm  Posted by Lark

Carina Envoldsen-Harris, author of Stitched Blooms, is leading a special Color Workshop in three parts here on the Lark blog. From reviewing basic color theory to showing us how to select colors for our projects, Carina will share her expertise of all things color. You can find Carina’s first Color Workshop post here.

This week, you can enter for a chance to win one of TWO projects from Stitched Blooms — the PJ Pocket Pillow or the Every Day Carry Case! See the end of this post for details on how to enter. UPDATE: Congratulations to our two winners: Kay and Cindy! 


Hello and welcome to the second part of the color workshop! Today we’re looking at different color schemes that you can create from the color wheel.


The basic idea is that according to their relationship on the color wheel, colors impact each other. We’ll look at two of them: complementary and harmonizing. But there are several others that are included in the color section in Stitched Blooms.

Harmonizing colors are right next to each other on the color wheel — for example, red, red-violet and violet. The colors have more or less one color in common (in the example above, the common color is red). A color palette like this is tranquil.

Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel, like blue and orange. Complementary colors have nothing in common. Blue is a primary color and orange is made up of red and yellow, the two other primary colors. You could also think of these as contrasting colors, because they are exactly that — in contrast to each other. If you want your color scheme to “pop,” go for a complementary one.

Until now, we’ve focused on the (basic) colors on the color wheel, and maybe you’re wondering about where pink (personal note: I looove pink!) or pastels or darker colors fit into this.



Pastels and shades, the colors on the color wheel mixed with either white or black, can be used in exactly the same way as the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. The same rules apply to the different color schemes. Pair a pale orange with a pale blue and it will have more ‘zing’ than pale orange with a pale red (a.k.a. pink).

You can, of course, combine color across the different schemes. In this last example, I have used three harmonizing greens with a pink color, so this scheme is basically a complementary pair where one of the colors is a pale version.

I call the schemes ‘rules’ but they’re more like guidelines. They are a place to start if you’re unsure how to select colors for a project. With practice, you will get more confident, and that is when it’s time to throw caution to the wind and just have fun with color!

To train your color eye, have a look around your home: Do you spot any of these schemes in things you own or in the decor? Think about the clothes you wear – do you go for quieter, harmonizing colors, or do you pick contrasting colors? An orange t-shirt with blue jeans, for example? What about the colors you choose for projects? Maybe you’re always subconsciously picking harmonious colors or…maybe not?

To see examples of Motif 99 from Stitched Blooms in different color combinations, click here. You can download this free motif from last week’s post here

Tune in next week for the third and final installment of Carina’s Color Workshop and for a chance to win more free stuff! And don’t forget to enter for a chance to win one of two projects from Stitched Blooms: the PJ Pocket Pillow or the Every Day Carry Case! Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 20. You can leave any comment you’d like, but we’d be interested in knowing what you’ve got planned for future embroidery projects! Two winners will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced on Friday, February 21. Click here for the official rules.     This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winners! 

You can see more of Carina’s totally awesome (and colorful!) motifs and projects at Carina’s Craftblog.

PJ Pocket Pillow


Every Day Carry Case


While February may not be the most popular time to wed, many brides and their families and friends are using these winter months to kick wedding planning into high gear.

And with all the costs associated with the big day, it’s only natural to seek out cost-effective ways and ideas to customize a wedding. Stylish Weddings is packed with over 50 quick, simple, and inexpensive essential wedding projects to make, all photographed in lavish settings.

Explore six different signature themes, each contributed by a talented designer, that appeal to a wide audience: Farm Chicks Country Wedding (by Serena Thompson), French-Inspired Wedding (by Corey Amaro), Rustic & Elegant Wedding (by Tracy Schultz), Romantic & Pretty Wedding (by Heather Bullard), Natural & Organic Wedding (by Minna Mercke Schmidt), and Vintage Glam Wedding (by Tiffany Kirchner-Dixon). Each theme highlights the quintessential elements required to get that look with an “inspiration board” of images, plenty of tips, and suggestions for pulling everything together. Projects with a special touch include invitations, table settings, favors, decorations, and items for the bride and bridal party.

Don’t know anyone getting married right now? No worries. Many of these ideas would be great for any kind of entertaining with just the slightest creative adjustments.



Marica DeCoster Presents—Now Available!

February 11, 2014, 15:08 pm  Posted by Lark


Marcia DeCoster interviews 30 leading beaders on inspiration and technique

Just published! Beadmaster Marcia DeCoster delivers page after page of inspiration by offering you the personal stories and latest creations from 30 leading jewelry designers in her latest, Marcia DeCoster Presents.


Through interviews conducted by Marcia, these artists open up about their beginnings, their successes, their muses and influences, their favorite materials, their membership in the worldwide beading community, and their future beading dreams.


In addition to the insight and innovation present in these discussions, this volume is filled with gorgeous color photos that showcase a number of the most beautiful pieces from each contributor.


The artists in this book represent an international roster of the best in the field:

Daeng Weaver, Miriam Shimon, Patrick Duggan, Kerrie Slade, Melissa Ingram, Beki Haley, Betty Stephan, Sian Nolan, Debi Keir-Nicholson, Nancy Dale, Martina Nagele, Helena Tan-Lim, Heather Kingsley-Heath, Elke Leonhardt-Rath, Riana Bootha Olckers, Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, Isabella Lam, Petra Tismer, Marsha Wiest-Hines, Christina Vandervlist, Linda L. Jones, Gabriella van Diepen, Idele Gilbert, Kinga Nichols, Susan Blessinger, Ann Braginsky, Heather Collin, Patrizia Tager, Zoya Gutina, Edgar Lopez
























And don’t forget the best-selling companion book in this Spotlight on Beading series, Suzanne Golden Presents


Carina Envoldsen-Harris, author of Stitched Blooms, will be leading a special Color Workshop here on the Lark blog once a week for the next three weeks. From reviewing basic color theory to showing us how to select colors for our projects, Carina will share her expertise of all things color.

You can stitch the same motif shown in this blog post (plus a bonus motif!) by downloading them here for FREE: Stitched Blooms Motifs. Also, be sure to find out how you can enter for a chance to win a FREE copy of Stitched Blooms at the end of this post.

Update: Congratulations to Beth T., who won a free copy of Stitched Blooms! 


Hi! Welcome to this workshop about color. We’re going to cover a few things in these posts, but obviously, it’s an introduction to all things color. You could spend a lifetime studying these things, and that would be fun, I’m sure. But you wouldn’t have much time to do any embroidery!

The workshop is split into three sections: introduction to the color wheel, introduction to color schemes, and working with/selecting colors. Today we start with an introduction to the color wheel.

You have probably come across the color wheel before? In school, perhaps? If you haven’t, here’s a quick explanation of what the color wheel can do: It is a pie chart of sorts that shows how, with three basic colors (the primaries), you can mix all the other colors. Along with primary colors, you will often hear people talk about secondary and tertiary colors.

The three primary colors are red, yellow and blue, and they can’t be made from other colors. By mixing the primary colors, you will get the three secondary colors. These are orange (red + yellow), green (yellow + blue), and violet (blue + red).

There are six tertiary colors, each of which is mixed from a primary and a secondary color: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.

There are of course lots of colors besides these — millions in fact — but they all start with this basic principle of mixing, starting with the primary colors.

When it comes to embroidery, though, “mixing” perhaps isn’t the best term to use, because we can’t physically mix two colors of stranded floss. No matter how tightly you twist them together, red and yellow floss will not turn orange — they will always remain red or yellow. But they may look orange from some distance and that is very important to keep in mind.


Colors are very much influenced by their neighbors. Yellow and red next to each other will make each other look slightly orange. The same thing goes for any color — if there’s another color sitting next to it, each will impact the other, even if it’s just a little bit.

This can create unfortunate, unwanted effects, like a yellow that looks very nice on its own, but when placed next to a green takes on a green tinge. But we can also use it to our advantage, to make it look like we’ve used more colors than we actually have. Much like Impressionist painters who often would mix colors not on the palette but by putting small dots or strokes of paint next to each other on the canvas (called Pointillism), creating the illusion of a third color.

This is called partitive mixing or optical mixing. And this effect is exactly what we’re doing when we put thread colors together in a piece of embroidery. You could even recreate a Pointilist effect in embroidery by using French knots — when seen from a distance, the individual colors will start to disappear and the “in between” colors will appear.

And the number of colors that can be created using the colors on the color wheel can of course be multiplied even more by mixing them with white or black —to make a pink or peach or pale blue, for example.

The color wheel is a great reminder of the relationship between the colors. And the color wheel can do so much more for us! Next week we’ll look at how the color wheel can help us choose color schemes.


Enter for a chance to win a FREE copy of Stitched Blooms and try your own hand at color combinations with the 300+ motifs you can find in the book! Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 13. Any comment will do, but why don’t you tell us your favorite color combination? One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced on Friday, February 14. Click here for the official rules. This giveaway is now closed.

Don’t forget to check back next week for part 2 of Carina’s Color Workshop and for a chance to win more free stuff! You can see more of Carina’s lovely, colorful motifs and projects on Carina’s Craftblog.




Show Your Love….in Stitches!

February 07, 2014, 15:26 pm  Posted by Lark

Ah….stitched Valentines: what could be sweeter? Whether you’re in the market for a major commitment, a quick bit of romantic crafting, or looking to purchase a special thing for a special someone (two-legged or four-legged), here are some fabulous ideas to get your ideas flowing. From top to bottom, left to right, with links:

 Rustic Heart Ornaments

Felt Heart Balloon

Heart Cufflinks

Love Birds Stitch Pattern

Cross My Heart Cross-Stitch Pattern

Xs and Os Gift Tags

Love Pouch

Embroidered Lyrics

Love Lab Cross-Stitch Pattern

Nordic Heart Cross-Stitch Pattern

Heart Bunting Flag Stationery

Boston Terrier Cross-Stitch Pattern