39 Comments

Kiln-Formed Glass: Beyond the Basics

July 28, 2014, 10:00 am  Posted by Lark
 

Who better to guide us through the creation of stunning kiln-formed glass projects than Brenda Griffith? With over 25 years of experience and the dedication to keep exploring new techniques and materials, her newest book, Kiln-Formed Glass: Beyond the Basics (July 2014, $35.00), is beautiful, clearly written and artistically inspiring.

The book begins with Brenda reviewing studio set ups, tools, materials, and best practices before moving into step-by-step instructions for creating dazzling dichroic glass jewelry, stenciled tiles, fused boxes, and other pieces of sparkling glass artwork made with molds and casts.

As an example of her on-going passion for working with kiln-formed glass, Brenda includes how-to’s for new techniques that she has developed such as marbling with glass enamels and making oil pastels that, painted on glass, become one with the glass surface.

By far the most amazing technique Brenda includes in her new book is manual 3-D printing with glass, which she warns is only for the type A personalities among us (and you know who you are). But for those of us without the call to obsessive-compulsive kiln-formed glassmaking, Brenda’s book holds a wealth of information and unique projects.

Kiln-Formed Glass: Beyond the Basics is out now and you can order your copy here. If you are already a kiln-formed glass artist, or if you have ever wanted to add a new skill to your tool kit of crafts, this book is sure to excite you, as it did me!

 * * * * *

In 1987, Brenda Griffith launched Siyeh Studio where she teaches a variety of class-making techniques. The author of A Beginner’s Guide to Kiln-Formed Glass (Lark, 2007), her work appears in galleries across the United States and Canada. Brenda lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

 
 
 
 
29 Comments

Fall Preview Friday: Decorating Cookies Party

July 25, 2014, 09:00 am  Posted by Lark
 

Honestly, who doesn’t LOVE a good cookie? Forget those fancy cupcake shops you see everywhere these days; cookies are where it’s at this fall, and you and your friends will be in style with Decorating Cookies Party (Oct. 2014, $17.95) by Bridget Edwards.

With 50 easy cookie designs that will please even the pickiest Cookie Monster, Bridget’s designs will rock you out of this world, which, coincidentally, is my favorite theme. The retro rocket ship and space cookies work well for both a children’s party or an adult’s.

If vintage Space Age isn’t your thing, no worries. There are nine other themes for adults and kids to choose from, including a Monster Mash-Up, a Tailgate Party (complete with helmet, megaphone, football, ref jersey, and a foam #1 finger), Under the Sea, Wedding, and Baby Shower.

Now, throw out those cupcake stands this October, get out your cookie sheets, and get ready to party! Check out these great cookie designs from the book:

 

Bridget Edwards is a highly visible baking expert who blogs at www.bakeat350.blogspot.com—named one of the top five baking blogs by Better Homes and Gardens in 2014—and tweets at @bakeat350tweets. She was one of 15 food bloggers selected to participate in a bake-off fundraiser with TLC’s Cake Boss and Kelly Ripa, has participated in themed blog challenges, and develops recipes for brands such as Imperial Sugar and Land O’ Lakes. Bridget’s recipes have appeared on DailyBuzz Food and her cookies have been featured on marthastewart.com, the hugely popular Pioneer Woman blog, the Today show blog, bonappetitit.com, Cake Spy, and and in Woman’s World magazine. Bridget lives near Houston, TX with her husband, son, and two kitties.

 
 
 
 
32 Comments

An Ode to Cephalopod Yarns

July 18, 2014, 16:36 pm  Posted by Connie Santisteban
 

On Tuesday, July 15th, Sarah Eyre, co-owner of Cephalopod Yarns, announced the immediate closing of her beloved hand-dyed yarn business. For fiber lovers everywhere this news—and the unfortunate reasoning behind it—sent a ripple of mourning throughout the community. We mourn the only way a fiber lover knows how—we find the last existing skeins and stash up immediately.

Cephalopod Yarns’ final trunk show is taking place right now at KNIT Long Island in Roslyn, NY, so obviously a pilgrimage was born!

A bounty of delicious fiber came home with us, but don’t worry—we left plenty for the rest of you:


 

Sarah herself will be at KNIT Long Island on Monday, July 21st, for a fitting denouement to a brand that will be sorely missed. For location and store hours, visit KNIT Long Island’s website.

Huge thanks to Audrey Bernhard and Cheryl Lavenhar, co-owners of KNIT Long Island, for welcoming us to their store and letting us roam free. It was our first trip, but it will definitely not be our last!

(Pro Tip: Audrey hinted that Sarah may be bringing some additional remaining stock on Monday. This is not to be missed.)

 

Written by Connie Santisteban and Deborah Stack.

 
 
 
 
78 Comments

Fall Preview Friday: The Herbal Bath and Body Book

July 18, 2014, 10:00 am  Posted by Lark
 

Ever pick your way through shelves of expensive face and body creams, toners, lip balms, shampoos, or bath salts? Eventually you shake your head and walk away confused and frustrated. The high prices are intimidating and the fancy labels make all kinds of extravagant claims. But the truth is, these expensive commercial items are concocted with all the same old chemical stuff,  while maybe an herb or two has been thrown in for appearance.

 

Heather Lee Houdeck’s The Herbal Bath and Body Book (Sept. 2014) offers eye-opening information about how to make many of these products at home with pure, natural ingredients. And it sounds like they’ll be more effective than the store-bought version.

 

Houdeck’s book opens with elegant photographs of the herbs and flowers that fill the recipes. She includes valuable information about how to buy and store the herbs and use them to their best advantage, as well as her top twenty list of favorite herbs.

 

Part two is a treasury of easy-to-follow recipes for making sunscreen, shampoos (for oily and dry hair, as well as to fight dandruff), a sore muscle soak, a sugar scrub, herbal face masques, skin toners, shaving balm and aftershave, perfume, body butters, deodorant, and more.

 

While I have occasionally thought about trying to make some of these products, after reading The Herbal Bath and Body Book, I feel totally confident that I have all the information I need to make what I especially want:  my own body butter and perfume. The Bay Rum aftershave and toner sound like great gifts for the men in my life.

 

And guess what? At the end of the book, there’s tons of information on where to find containers and how to package the products (including making gift baskets, and great labels). The author also provides conversion charts and advice on where to buy the ingredients. I’m psyched! Now, what to choose for my first project?

 
 
 
 
78 Comments
 

It already feels like we’re approaching peak summer heat, but don’t worry! You don’t have to put your knitting away until Labor Day. There are plenty of yarns and projects that you can keep knitting all through the summer months, even if you don’t have air conditioning.

I’m the author of the Lark Crafts book, Sock Yarn Studio. Inside my book are over 25 different knitting patterns specially designed for sock yarn.

What’s the big deal about sock yarn? Well, it’s one of the lightest weights of knitting yarn they make. Because it’s lightweight, it’s especially suited for knitting in warmer weather. Instead of having thick yarn that sits in your lap in a big heavy pile and makes you perspire, sock yarn is thin and lightweight, and you can make an entire project with just one skein. You can also find lots of sock yarns that contain plant fibers, like cotton, silk, tencel and bamboo – fibers which are naturally cool.

* * * * *

The first section of patterns in Sock Yarn Studio features projects that take only one skein of sock yarn, and many of them are small projects that knit up relatively fast. For example, the Lisatra Cowl is a pattern knit up in a blend of silk and wool, with a fun lacy pattern.

 

 

Another great pattern with lacy stitch work is the Vert Cap, designed by Hunter Hammersen. (I’m especially partial to this one because my daughter is the girl modeling the cap in the book!)

 

 

If you’ve ever wanted to try entrelac, the Thornapple Wristers are another fun project with a single strip of entrelac on each wrister – just enough to get the hang of it but not so much that it’s overwhelming. Elizabeth Morrison designed these wristers and they look fabulous when you knit them in a yarn with slowly morphing colors, like the Crystal Palace Sausalito used in the sample.

 

 

I’ll even fess up and tell you that I knit a couple of the projects in the book during the summer, in smaller bites. The Lizalu blanket is made from oddballs of leftover sock yarn. Even though it ends up as a big blanket, it’s knit in strips. I took the strips for the blanket with me all over the summer that I worked on the book.

 

 

I knit strips in the car, during a Phillies game, at cookouts, even on the beach. The strips are easy to work even if you’re not paying really close attention (or sipping a wine spritzer by the pool!) and you can knit a bunch of strips, use up leftover balls of yarn, and then join them when the weather gets a little cooler.

So dig out your copy of Sock Yarn Studio (or order it if you haven’t yet!) and find a great project in lightweight yarns to keep your needles clicking all through the summer. Cheers!

 * * * * *

Carol Sulcoski is a former attorney turned knitwear designer, writer, hand dyer and teacher. She is the author of several knitwear pattern books including Sock Yarn Studio and Lace Yarn Studio, coming in Spring 2015 from Lark Crafts. For more information—or to buy some of her scrumptious yarn—visit www.blackbunnyfibers.com.

 
 
 
 
38 Comments

Fall Preview Friday: Felt-O-Ween

July 11, 2014, 13:54 pm  Posted by Connie Santisteban
 

Welcome to Fall Preview Friday! Each Friday this summer, our Lark editors will be sharing previews of our upcoming titles for Fall 2014. Check back each week to get the latest scoop on what’s coming soon with these sneak peeks from Lark Crafts.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Is Halloween one of your favorite holidays of the year? Are you looking for easy-to-make costume ideas? Does your home need a little splash of spooky to celebrate the holiday? Look no further than Felt-O-Ween: 40 Scary-Cute Projects to Celebrate Halloween by Kathy Sheldon and Amanda Carestio, the team behind the bestseller, Fa la la la Felt.

Coming this fall, Felt-O-Ween will be your guide to a fabulous and felt-o-licious Halloween. Newcomers to felt can start with the basics, understand the types of felt and how to work with it, and practice techniques for hand stitching. More experienced crafters can jump right into the projects. All the supplies you need are available at any local craft store, which makes every project in this book accessible, easy, and fun.

 

The Creepy Crawly Wreath is the perfect décor to greet trick-or-treaters at your door. Fall foliage has never looked so scary-cute with this yarn-wrapped wreath:

 

With these sweet Pumpkin’ Treat Pouches you’ll be every trick-or-treaters favorite house this Halloween. It’s the perfect size for a small bite-size candy bar or even a small healthy treat:

 

 

Monster Hands make the perfect quick costume for kids and adults alike and are sure to scare up candy at every door in your neighborhood. Wrist straps can be altered for a custom fit to accommodate any size:

 

Felt-O-Ween will add a dash of crafty ingenuity to your Halloween this year. Pre-order your copy today!

(Post written by Lark Editor, Connie Santisteban.)

 
 
 
 
44 Comments

Margie Deeb Challenges You…

July 08, 2014, 05:37 am  Posted by Lark
 

The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design, written by Margie Deeb, teaches you to design your own creations by paying attention to unity, scale, proportion, balance, rhythm, shape, pattern, texture, movement, drape, and color. You’ll explore the interaction of jewelry and the body: how it moves, how it drapes, how it guides the viewer’s eye to complement–or clash–with different body sizes and wardrobe. The concepts presented are supported by photos, illustrations, before-and-after examples, and challenges. Tips from today’s leading jewelry designers in polymer clay, beads, precious metal clay, ceramic, and wire teach you how to take your ideas and refine them into extraordinary, wearable jewelry.

  • Discover why a piece of jewelry is visually appealing.
  • Understand why you prefer certain styles and how to apply the concepts to achieve what you want.
  • Gain confidence in using specific applications of visual and aesthetic principles.
  • Be inspired to grow and express more of yourself and your unique visions of beauty.

 

This is the last of a nine-part interview (whew!) with the author.

Q Each chapter ends with a Challenge Yourself page that’s kind of like fun homework assignments. Tell me about those.

A I love homework and assignments. And I am so irritated by books that tell you how to do something without providing exercises to practice it! I love putting into practice what I learn, without the pressure of having to create a masterpiece. That’s what these challenges are: they’ll compel you to apply what you’ve learned in each chapter. And they’ll inspire you to stretch beyond comfortable boundaries.

 

For example, at the end of Chapter 3: Balance, the “Challenge Yourself” section asks you to consider symmetrical balance, something you’ve probably worked with all your life, more carefully. I write the following:

  • Browse jewelry catalogs or websites for examples of vertical and horizontal symmetry. Find examples that simultaneously display both. Which kind of symmetry do you find more in earrings? Necklaces? Bracelets?
  • Sketch several pair of earring designs using vertical symmetry.
  • Do the same using horizontal symmetry.
  • Sketch several pair of earring designs using both vertical and horizontal symmetry simultaneously.
  •  Vertical symmetry is common in necklaces and earrings. Horizontal symmetry isn’t as common, and is rarely seen without vertical symmetry also being present. How do you feel about horizontal symmetry in a necklace or in earrings?

 

Most jewelry designers haven’t considered the difference in impact that vertical or horizontal balance has on their jewelry, or on the way that jewelry looks when it is being worn. Understanding these concepts and their visual ramifications improves your ability, expands your options, and helps you become more creative.

Click on this image to link to a PDF of these pages

 ***

Margie Deeb is the author of four other books. For more info about her new one, check out http://beadersguidetojewelrydesign.com


 
 
 
 
8 Comments

Take a Creative Journey with Margie Deeb

July 01, 2014, 05:45 am  Posted by Lark
 

The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design, written by Margie Deeb, teaches you to design your own creations by paying attention to unity, scale, proportion, balance, rhythm, shape, pattern, texture, movement, drape, and color. You’ll explore the interaction of jewelry and the body: how it moves, how it drapes, how it guides the viewer’s eye to complement–or clash–with different body sizes and wardrobe. The concepts presented are supported by photos, illustrations, before-and-after examples, and challenges. Tips from today’s leading jewelry designers in polymer clay, beads, precious metal clay, ceramic, and wire teach you how to take your ideas and refine them into extraordinary, wearable jewelry.

  • Discover why a piece of jewelry is visually appealing.
  • Understand why you prefer certain styles and how to apply the concepts to achieve what you want.
  • Gain confidence in using specific applications of visual and aesthetic principles.
  • Be inspired to grow and express more of yourself and your unique visions of beauty.

 

This is the eighth in a nine-part interview with the author.

Q In Chapter 8: The Creative Journey, you discuss fear and doubt. How come, Margie? Isn’t beading all about having fun and being creative?

A All truly creative pursuits are accompanied by some degree of fear or doubt. Fear and doubt are evidence of being challenged. I’ve never completed a project in my life in which I haven’t doubted myself, sometimes for a few moments, and other times severely.

 

 

I don’t see or hear enough discussion out there about fear, doubt, and failure (which is also part of the process). And because of that, people new to design get the message that if they doubt themselves, it proves they aren’t capable. I hate those consequences. It’s so important to accept the process. And the process includes fear, doubt, and failure. In the book I present the most effective ways I know to deal with them.

If someone doesn’t experience fear or doubt while executing a creative project, that person isn’t challenging themselves. He or she isn’t pushing out of the comfort zone.

One of the most exciting sections of this chapter addresses finding your artistic voice. I designed a worksheet to help you clarify your motivation and strengths. This will be so valuable to anyone, regardless of their skill level.

 

 

Q You include brief interviews with Sherry Serafini, Frieda Bates, Marcia DeCoster, Barbara Becker Simon, Jamie Cloud Eakin, Heidi Kummli, Diane Fitzgerald and Robin Atkins. How did you select these artists, and what are the interviews about?

A The most powerful way to become a master at any art form, including jewelry design, is to structure your creative process. Honing our creative process is something we all must do as artists. And it differs for every artist. I talk a little about mine and how I manage my energy and time. I wanted to present other artists’ methods as well, so I chose prolific artists who I consider masters. It was such fun reading how others work! And it both validated some of my own practices, and inspired me to try new ones.

 

Click on this image to link to a PDF of these pages

 

 

Check in next Tuesday for the last segment of this interview with Margie!

 ***

Margie Deeb is the author of four other beading books. For more info about her new one, check out http://beadersguidetojewelrydesign.com