Cookbook Preview: From Scratch

April 17, 2014, 11:06 am  Posted by Lark

You don’t have to be an accomplished gourmet to appreciate the delicious ideas in From Scratch: An Introduction to French Breads, Cheeses, Preserves, Pickles, Charcuterie, Condiments, Yogurts, Sweets, and More by Laurence and Gilles Laurendon. Featuring 120 recipes, this beautifully photographed new book captures the classic tastes of the French countryside. In addition to recipes for delicious artisan foods, the book includes a wealth of menu ideas, culinary tips, and easy-to-follow techniques.

If you’re hoping to hone your yogurt-making skills in time for summer or want to try your hand at preserving veggies, then look no further than From Scratch. You’ll find all the DIY info you need for those culinary undertakings, along with simple instructions for making your own pastas, sausages, and tofu. Whether you’re a culinary connoisseur or merely curious, you’ll find inspiration in From Scratch. It’s a feast from start to finish.

From Scratch is available at Barnes and Noble and wherever books are sold.



Book Giveaway/Interview with Diane Hyde

April 15, 2014, 14:55 pm  Posted by Lark

The sheer creative genius within the pages of Diane Hyde‘s book Break the Rules Bead Embroidery is gonna knock your socks off. Diane gives herself permission to include the most innovative materials in her bead-embroidered jewelry: pen nibs, toys, spoons, old keys, mini bulbs, and that’s just a start! This book will inspire you and kick-start your imagination. So how does Diane do it? Read on!


Q: Diane, what caused you to look for materials someplace other than a bead store?
After learning basic bead stitches, I wanted to set my work apart from what everyone else was doing. I began by incorporating metal stampings and simple filigree pieces. Once I saw they worked, I wanted to go deeper and darker, so to speak. I chose to use nuts and bolts on a major crystal-and-pearl piece for a competition. It placed first in the category I entered. After that I viewed everything as  fair game.

Q: You incorporate some completely unexpected items in your beadwork. For example, readers of your book will see doll heads, guitar picks, hardware-store hinges, wine corks, eyeglass lenses, spoons, pool balls,  and vintage thimbles used in the projects. How do you know when something unconventional is perfect for your designs? How you come up with the actual ideas?  
A: They come to me like lightening flashes. I might be walking through the toy department in a store and see a little plastic figure that pleases me. I stroll through hardware stores and craft stores and things just jump out at me as viable for my work and how they might fit into a piece. Most often I first become mentally locked on a specific color, or combination of colors, and then look for the components and beads that will bring that piece to life. Other times I could be thumbing through a book of Art Nouveau jewelry and some element jumps out as inspiration for a design.

Even the lowliest rusty bottle cap has some beauty to it, so you just have to look and think of everything in this new way. Try to tell a story with your work. If you can envision an unusual item within the work, there’s usually a solution for how to make it work within beadwork, whether it’s a wearable piece of jewelry, something to sit on a desktop, or hang on a wall. Sometimes trial and error is the only way to find what it will take to make something work as you have envisioned it. Just jump in and try. Often times you’ll figure it out as you go.


Q: What are some unexpected items you plan to experiment with in the future?
I have tubs and boxes filled with things that are begging me to give them a whirl—from holiday decorations to sticks and twigs,  vintage toys to flatware. Plastic and glass containers are especially intriguing to me right now. Dolls and doll parts are always my favorites. I’m also fascinated with the idea of creating a series of eclectic found-object pin cushions.


Q: The book contains 22 jewelry projects, plus there’s an additional set of instructions we’ve posted online. Do you have a favorite project from the book?
I love the Spoon Angel Necklace, because the iced-tea spoon I used once belonged to my grandmother. The smaller demitasse spoon in the alternate version is equally special to me. I inherited both my grandmother’s and my mother’s spoon collections from the mid 1900s. I have dozens to choose from and I just get giddy when I look at them all. These spoons impart a sweetness that, in the end, surprised even me.


Q: What would you like people to take away from your book?
I want readers to allow themselves the freedom to break away from using the expected components or items typically seen within beadwork. I want to encourage them to look with a new eye, to see everyday things and think, “what if…” and imagine them as possible focal points or additions to their work.



To be eligible for the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Click here for the official rules (don’t break those!).



Introducing 1000 Beads

April 03, 2014, 10:55 am  Posted by Lark

A sparkling new collection that focuses on the timeless creative practice of beadmaking,1000 Beads features a diverse group of handmade beads in glass, clay, metal, paper, and fiber from an international roster of artists. As the companion volume to Lark’s 2004 title 1000 Glass Beads, this impressive new volume provides an illuminating look at contemporary practitioners of the form.   The pieces in the collection were selected by Kristina Logan, who is known internationally for her glass beads. The techniques used—image transfer, appliqué, and traditional flameworking, among many others—are as diverse as the materials.

Whether they’re depicted individually or as part of a necklace, bracelet, or brooch, the beads in this dazzling book are examples of consummate craftsmanship on an intimate scale. Enjoy the images below and pick up a copy of 1000 Beads. You can find it at Barnes & Noble and wherever books are sold.


Cubes, of Course! by Ann Klem

Thera by Holly Cooper

Spiral by Wiwat Kamolpornwijit 



Purple Fibers by Lee Schein

PB2 by Lily Liu


Packaging How-To for Crafters!

April 02, 2014, 17:50 pm  Posted by Lark

Etsy sellers, wholesalers, gift-givers, Pinterest lovers, and home crafters, gather around! You’ve got your craft down, but what’s the best way to present it or ship it? Packaging Your Crafts is [beautifully] jam-packed with nearly 200 eye-candy photos of creative packaging ideas. You’ll also find overviews of packaging and packing materials including tips on keeping it green, 10 tutorials for specific techniques such as glass etching and image transfer, 13 designer spotlights illustrating specific products from real brands, plus downloadable box and label templates!
You might never outgrow this book, because it offers so many resources for every level, from wrapping up a single brownie or stack of stationery to packing hundreds of t-shirts to be stacked and sold in retail stores. Check out a few of my favorite spreads below–you’ll see why I love this book so much!



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Break the Rules — Get a Free Book!

April 01, 2014, 15:14 pm  Posted by Lark

No, no, no, I’m not suggesting you shoplift…or break any other rules like sneaking into a movie theater or peeing in a swimming pool. I’m talking about Diane Hyde‘s new book, Break the Rules Bead Embroidery—I’m giving away an advance copy to one lucky person!

This book releases in stores on May 2, and the creativity within its pages is gonna knock your socks off. Diane gives herself permission to include the the most innovative materials in her pretty bead-embroidered jewelry! We’re talking pen nibs, toys, spoons, old keys, brass hinges, guitar picks, mini bulbs–and that’s just a start! This book will inspire you and kick-start your imagination.

Getting in on the giveaway couldn’t be simpler. To be eligible, leave a comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, April 7, 2014. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Click here for the official rules (don’t break those!). This giveaway is over; the winner is Nancy Ludvik. Happy beading, Nancy!

Diane Hyde