Cookbook Preview: From Scratch

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

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 Nathalie Mornu

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!).



Tune in this Monday, April 14 from 10am-noon EST to see artist Dale Armstrong debut the upcoming Dallas Lovett’s Woven Bead & Wire Jewelry (Lark Crafts, $24.95, May 2014) on JTV’s Jewel School. Armstrong will be featuring Lovett’s “Carre Bracelet” design on-the-air and selling copies during her demo. Read more from Dale about this week’s projects on her blog.


You can watch live online at Jewelry TV, or use their Channel Finder to tell you where you can view in your area.


About the book:

Dallas Lovett’s elegant-yet-graceful project designs capture the look crafters want now—sophisticated and stunning. He presents 25 of his most unique designs, all luxurious, with layered twists, and showcasing the creative potential of silver wire and beads. A basics section covers every technique in the book, and step-by-step photos provide the guidance crafters need to create these magnificent pieces, from the undulating, geometrical Cleopatra necklace to the shimmering Crown Jewels Pendant.


From Dale Armstrong:

“Known for using square wire to create intricate jewelry designs myself, when I saw Dallas’ new book featuring such stunning round wire patterns, I simply had to be able to personally present it to JTV’s Jewel School customers!”




Introducing 1000 Beads

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

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 Becky

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 Nathalie Mornu

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


This is the third and final installment of  Stitched Blooms author Carina Envoldsen-Harris’s Color Workshop. You can read the first two posts here and here.

This week, you can enter for a chance to win one of TWO projects from Stitched Blooms — the English Cottage Tablecloth or a copy of the bookSee the end of this post for details on how to enter. UPDATE: YOUR CHANCE TO WIN HAS BEEN EXTENDED THROUGH THIS FRIDAY, MARCH 7. SEE THE END OF THIS POST FOR MORE DETAILS! 

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winners, Mita and Stacy!



Selecting Colors for Your Projects



Choosing colors for your own projects is “easy” — you can just pick the colors you love and all is well, right?  Well, to a degree. If you love a certain combination, green and pink, for example (guilty!), by all means go for it. But I’m a big fan of trying new things in the colors you use. Pushing yourself out of that comfort zone which it is so easy to get a little stuck in.

I am always suggesting that people should try using the colors they least like a bit more. Because this will train you to make it work even if you don’t like it all that much. And I think that pushing your choices is also a great way to learn more about color and about what works for you, and why.

Purple or lilac are probably my least favorite color, but I will often try and add a bit of it when deciding on colors for a new pattern. Experience has taught me that sometimes colors I don’t like make the rest of the color scheme really ‘pop’ in ways it wouldn’t have if I hadn’t used it.


Selecting colors for gifts 

 When you are making a gift for someone else, getting the colors right can be a challenge. Especially if what you’re making is a surprise and you can’t ask them exactly what they like!



Maybe you’re making a skirt or a blouse for your friend but the colors she actually wears aren’t necessarily her favorite colors. For example, you would think that I wear a lot of bright colors, and I do occasionally wear a top in a bold color, but I actually mostly wear more plain dark or light colors.  So if you’re making clothing for someone, pay attention to what they actually wear or take a sneaky peek in their wardrobe (that’s mine up there) if you can.

When making a larger project for someone else, a quilt for example, getting the colors right is really important. You don’t want it to overpower a whole room. Even if you use all the colors you know your friend loves, it might not fit in the room/house. She may love bold colors — lime green, zingy orange etc — but does she actually use those colors in her home?


Again, I’ll use myself as an example. I use a lot of strong colors in the things I make, but the colors in our home are actually quite subdued. Our bedroom for example, has very neutral, calming colors going on there. Although I would love a quilt in my favorite colors, I think I would soon put it somewhere I didn’t have to look at it all the time. Color overload is not a good thing if you’re not into that.

So when selecting colors, think about the colors in the room where it is most likely to be used. If your friend already has an overall color scheme there, select the overall colors to go with it. But of course there’s nothing stopping you from using a cheeky pop of pink in a few places!

If you’re making a smaller thing, like a bag or maybe a piece of jewelry, it is a lot easier to make a statement with color. But again, pay attention to what someone uses/wears, not just what they like.


Working with colors selected by others

Since color is such a subjective thing, sometimes people will ask you to make something for them in a specific color or color combination. This can be a fun aspect of a project, but it can also be really challenging. If the chosen colors are far removed from your own taste it can be difficult to work with them, because if you usually avoid them, you may not be familiar with how to get them to play well with other colors. (That’s another reason to experiment with color in the things you make for yourself!)

Hopefully the person who has chosen the colors trusts you enough that you have some freedom to add a little bit of your own taste to the project. One way to make a color combination easier to work with is to add just a tiny amount of an accent color that you do like/love. Here’s an example:

Purple-ish colors combined with yellow is probably my least favorite combination. There is just something about this complementary pair that feels really unpleasant. I’m not sure why — I like other complementary pairs. To make it more comfortable for me to work with, I would probably add some pink or orange. Even if it’s just a little bit, either of these colors will help soften the harshness of the yellow + purple combination.

So if you can, work with the colors you have been given, but try and add some of *you* into the mix.

I hope you’ve found my Color Workshop to be fun and informative! Please do stop by my blog, Carina’s Craftblog, where you can find lovely embroidery patterns, learn about projects I’ve got in the works, and catch up on all sorts of embroidery-and craft-related things. Don’t forget that you can buy Stitched Blooms at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or wherever craft books are sold!


This week, you can enter for a chance to win one of TWO Stitched Blooms prizes — the English Cottage Tablecloth (46 inches [116.8 cm] square), or a copy of Stitched Blooms! Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 27. You can leave any comment you’d like, but it would be really fun to hear about any color combinations you’ve tried in your embroidery that turned out to be disastrous! Two winners will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced on Friday, February 28. Click here for the official rules. Special note: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, but residents outside the U.S. can enter for a chance to win a copy of Stitched Blooms on Carina’s blog! Click here to go to Carina’s Craftblog



English Cottage Tablecloth, 46 inches (116.8 cm ) square




Simple Soldered Jewelry and Accessories

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


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 Linda

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.












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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