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One of the things that I enjoy most about making handmade books and journals is imagining what will fill their pages, especially when I give those items away as gifts. When I make a journal I always make the effort to create an artful, finished cover. I recently realized, though, that perhaps the end recipient would like to embellish and personalize the cover to their own tastes. Since it’s hard to find such a blank canvas journal I’m offering one up here for one lucky person.

As you can see below, I left an exposed spine so you can also show off the inside pages. It would be fun to match up the art from the outside in.

I also find that many art sketchbooks come with so many pages than I hardly ever get around to finishing a whole book that feels cohesive and focused on a central theme. So this journal only has a handful of pages to craft a short visual story.

And one last detail: I made these blank covers from recycling the boards of three ring binders, so they have that nice rounded corner. Let’s hear it for determined, creative repurposing!

To enter for a chance to win this handmade journal, please leave a comment on this post by 9 p.m. EST on Monday, July 2nd. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and notified by Friday, July 6th. Click here for the official rules.

In the spirit of our recent book Mod Podge Rocks! perhaps you would like to decoupage a design on the cover using one of the various Mod Podge finishes and their brand new Design Elements just launched this month. Or maybe you’re more into the creative exploration of collage. Then let The Collage Workbook be your guide. Whatever your medium or inspiration, we hope that whoever receives this journal will use it as a creative spark!

 
 
 
 
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Pumpkin Pie the Long Way

November 16, 2011, 15:44 pm  Posted by Kristi Pfeffer
 

It’s the time of year when Mom looks forward to my cooking! I’m no baker, but I love making pumpkin pie—and I go all out. Canned pumpkin is no good in my opinion, so I start with a fresh pumpkin. All sorts of pumpkins can be found at the local farmers market. This year I discovered a “peanut pumpkin,” so called for the rough numbly growths on its shell you can see in the above photo to the right. Kudos to anyone who can name all the pumpkin kinds shown. I used the long candy roaster for my first pumpkin pie of the season.

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Handmade Journal Giveaway

October 06, 2011, 15:59 pm  Posted by Kristi Pfeffer
 

I confess, I’m an enthusiastic newbie to the wide world of TRAVEL. And I have found that one great way to treasure and revisit the memories from my trips is through the collection of my many moments through writings, photos, brochures and knick-knacks of the journey into an handmade journal. If you’ve ever tried compiling your travel mementos together into traditional journals before, you might relate to the design flaw I discovered in my own hand-bound journals.

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The Dog Days of Summer Giveaway

August 25, 2011, 16:59 pm  Posted by Kristi Pfeffer
 

It has been a hot summer!  Often our faithful companions are right there with us—panting all the way. Perhaps that’s why the hottest months get named “The Dog Days of Summer”. Lark Crafts has done numerous books celebrating dogs: from canine costumes, to circus tricks, to bark out loud jokes.

To celebrate the approaching end of summer  we are giving away a set of six books focused on dogs: Bow Wow Wow: Fetching Costumes for Your Fabulous Dog by Cathie Fillian; You Lucky Dog: More Than 30 Craft Projects to Unleash Your Pup’s Personality; Circus Tricks for Your Dog: 25 Crowd-Pleasers That Will Make Your Dog a Star by Rick Martin; Green Dog, Good Dog: Reducing Your Best Friend’s Carbon Paw Print by Dominique DeVito; Calling All Dogs!: Grrreat Names for Your Perfect Pooch; and finally A Dog Walks into a Bar… Dog Jokes So Funny You’ll Beg for More.

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Summer Road Trip with Duchamp on My Mind

July 12, 2011, 07:22 am  Posted by Kristi Pfeffer
 

Road Trip! This Summer’s trip had an unplanned theme centered around Marcel Duchamp’s Étant donnés: 1° la chute d’eau, 2° le gaz d’éclairage . . . (Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas . . . ) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Our road trip was planned for various points North, and Duchamp’s surreal masterpiece left a lasting psychological afterimage everywhere I went…

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Free Project: Kirigami Ostrich

June 06, 2011, 16:10 pm  Posted by Kristi Pfeffer
 

The ostrich is a strange bird—a really big, fast running flightless bird. That face, those long legs and those irresistible feathers that end up in crazy hats. Make your own ostrich out of cut paper with this free project from Kirigami Menagerie by Hiroshi Hayakawa. If you would like to find out more about Hiroshi check out our interview from November 2010.

 
 
 
 
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Gifts of the Forest

May 10, 2011, 09:59 am  Posted by Kristi Pfeffer
 

This year is the centennial of the Weeks Act. What is the Weeks Act? The congressional act that established our Eastern national forests, such as the Pisgah and Nantahala in North Carolina, the Talladega in Alabama, the Oconee and Chattahoochee in Georgia, the Ozark in Arkansas, and many more.

Our national forests differ from national parks because they are managed as a resource for the public good. The economic benefits of our forests are abundant, from building materials to paper products to recreational opportunities—and don’t forget the ecological services they provide such as clean water, the prevention of soil erosion, and habitat for many endangered species. Take a closer look at the history of our national forests in the documentary film The Forest Service and The Greatest Good: A Centennial History and its companion book by James G. Lewis.

There are rich cultural and crafting traditions associated with rural forested areas, which got me thinking about how many of the crafts we publish at Lark involve materials from trees. I gathered a few of my favorite images that celebrate the beauty of wood, a versatile material harvested from our forests.

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Painted Eggs, Painting with Eggs

April 19, 2011, 13:57 pm  Posted by Kristi Pfeffer
 

I love the simplicity and usefulness of the egg. It can be painted as a treasure for the Easter holiday, serve as a food source of compact energy and endless variety, or (as you will soon learn) as a miraculous binder for paint.

For all of you making decorated eggs this Easter season here’s a good way to make a lasting object instead of having your creation cracked apart in the service of a holiday snack: remove all of the yolk and whites from the egg shell. You may be surprised to discover that there are a lot of things you can do with the leftovers from inside those shells, but my absolute favorite technique is to paint with it. Yes, that’s right. Read on to find out more about blown out eggs and egg tempera.

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Felt Letters Giveaway

March 25, 2011, 13:11 pm  Posted by Kristi Pfeffer
 

Want to win the word F-E-L-T in handcrafted 3-D? Or how about a felt fridge magnet alphabet created by yours truly? Keep reading for the story behind the felted letters you see above and for details on the exciting giveaway … and for more on how YOU can enter for a chance to win.

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Black Walnut Ink Giveaway

February 28, 2011, 09:04 am  Posted by Kristi Pfeffer
 

Black walnut ink is a beautiful, deep yet translucent, brown black primarily used in calligraphy, but also used for ink drawings or even as a wood stain. I’m not a calligrapher, but I love painting with lots of dark rich textures and couldn’t resist the look of this ink. I wanted to make my own and discovered it is a simple yet long, and sometimes smelly process. If you aren’t interested in the labor of making your own ink but would love to have some, Lark Crafts will be giving away six one-ounce bottles of my 2011 batch. If you don’t win the ink up for grabs here, don’t worry, there’s a handful of Etsy sellers offering black walnut ink listed at the end of this post.

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