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Coastal Crafts photoAhoy for Summer! Creative sewer and mixed-media goddess, Cynthia Shaffer takes us on a nautical crafting extravaganza with Coastal Crafts.

 

These beachy projects will bring the sea air to your home and make you want to stick your toes in the sand. Seashells, ropes, sea glass and a range of materials and motifs are all incorporated into the projects.

 

Readers will learn how to weather surfaces, make driftwood and cast sand, creating knotted jewelry, hanging jars and other pieces to celebrate summer all year long.

 

Check out some of our favorite projects below…

 

Stitched Fish Garland (2)

 This fish garland adds a seafaring touch to any space. Use it as a baby shower banner even!

 

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Knotted Coasters (2)

These knotted coasters are my favorite! The colors remind me of the ocean.  Give them as a gift or keep for yourself!

 

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Ocean pillowsLinen Seashell pillows are just the delicate accent you need to bring the sea to your home.

 
 
 
 
23 Comments

Lark Crafts DIY: Latvian Easter eggs

April 03, 2015, 15:00 pm  Posted by Brita Vallens
 

My favorite Easter activity is coloring eggs. My father’s side of the family is Latvian, and every year I make traditional Latvian Easter eggs with my sister, great aunt, and grandmother. This year, I had a special kitchen buddy—Ernie. My sister’s 9-month-old Australian Shepherd is, like most dogs, very interested in any and all food prep, but Ernie seemed particularly fascinated by the Latvian Easter egg preparations.


ERNIE 2

 

Latvian Easter eggs are colored using dyes derived from all-natural materials—we color ours usingonion skins. It’s a really popular Latvian Easter egg-coloring method. The onion skins give the eggs a really beautiful earthy, rusty-red color and dried spices, herbs, leaves and/or flowers, wrapped or pressed around the egg and covered and held in place by the onion skins before boiling,  can result in really interesting shapes and patterns. You can also scratch the eggs after dying to create intricate designs.

 

What you’ll need:

Onion Skins

Nylon Stocking, Cheesecloth or, in a pinch, paper towels

Vinegar

Rubber bands (if using cheesecloth or paper towels)

Scissors

 

Optional:

Sharp tool for etching

Leaves, flowers, or other natural materials to create extra patterns on the egg

Vegetable oil or butter

 

First, collect a good amount of yellow onion skins. We bought a whole bag from the local grocery store, but some stores actually sell bags of just the skins.

 

Onion Skins

 

If you’d like to experiment with creating patterns using leaves and flowers on the egg, wrap them around the eggs first. (My sister and I dripped a little hot wax onto the egg to help keep the flowers and leaves in place before wrapping with the onion skins.)

 

Flower on Egg

 

Next, wrap the entire egg in onion skins (you can wet them first to make it easier to wrap them around each egg), then wrap each egg tightly with cheese cloth or paper towel and wrap each with a few rubber bands to keep everything in place while boiling. You can also use nylon stockings to create little bags for each covered egg. Simply cut pieces of the stocking big enough to cover each egg, place the egg in the stocking, pull the fabric tight around the egg to keep the onion in place and tie the stocking off at both ends.

 

Wrap onion skins around the egg

 

Place the eggs in a pot, add cold water and a little vinegar, and bring to a boil. Cook the eggs for 10-15 minutes. You’ll notice that the water will turn a red/orange color as the dye from the onion skins is extracted.

 

When the eggs are done, let them steep in the water for a few more minutes, then remove them from the water and let them cool. Use scissors to remove the rubber bands and the cheesecloth/paper towel/stocking and onion skins to reveal the color and patterns created by any plants. Peeling back the fabric and onions to reveal the color and patterns is the best part of the process. Use a sharp tool to scratch patterns into the egg if you like, then rub the eggs with vegetable oil or butter to give them a nice shine.

 

Dyed Eggs

 

Our eggs ended up with a lighter color (we could have used more onion skinsto make them darker) and a few of the leaves and flowers we added made interesting designs. We started to add a few etchings to the eggs with the point of some small scissors as well.

 

Ernie approved. Happy Easter!

 

Ernie with Eggs

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
25 Comments

Lark Crafts DIY: Easter egg dying

April 02, 2015, 14:00 pm  Posted by Deborah Stack
 

Dying Easter eggs is a favorite tradition for many families, and one of my favorite techniques is one I was taught in college. My friends and I had a lot of fun experimenting in our kitchen with “tie-dyed” eggs.

 

Martha Stewart provides a great tutorial here teaching readers how to dye eggs using old silk ties. All you need to do is pick up some patterned ties (of 100% silk) from your local thrift shop, and soon enough you’ll have striped, spotted, and paisley eggs!

 

Take a look at some inspirational photos below:

 

egg1

These awesome eggs were made by the folks at Dabbled.org. Follow this link for their tutorial.

 

silk_egg2

This beautiful egg was posted on Econesting.com. Learn more here.

 

egg3

We love these gorgeous eggs dyed by Our Best Bites! Check out their tutorial here.

 

Here are the results of my silk-tie egg-dying experiment. Our eggs weren’t perfect, but we had a lot of fun making them!

 

463413_10150788488811800_1308367164_o (4)

 

 

474950_10150788488256800_1062052335_o (4)

 

 

459982_10150788491371800_1762132371_o (5)

 
 
 
 
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Get outdoors this spring with Shed Decor!

April 02, 2015, 09:49 am  Posted by Brita Vallens
 

coverSpring may be here technically, but the current weather in NYC definitely leaves a lot to be desired. I can’t wait until I can partake in sunny alfresco lunches, picnics in the parks and warm walks around the city.

 

In the meantime, before the nice, warm weather arrives, I’ve been perusing Shed Decor to get some ideas and plans ready for the rehabilitation of a garden shed at my dad’s house upstate. It’s in need of some serious refurbishment, and Shed Decor offers tons of ideas, tips, and inspiration for transforming any shed into a comfortable, organized space.

 

My favorite sheds profiled in the book are those that have been transformed into amazing studios and work spaces. Check out pictures of a few of them below, and order your copy of Shed Decor here.

 

Shed Decor pic 1

 

 

Shed Decor pic 2

 

 

Shed Decor Pic 3

 
 
 
 
14 Comments

Lark Crafts DIY: St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2015, 12:05 pm  Posted by Diana Ventimiglia
 

Beannachtam na Femle Padraig! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Whether you are Irish or an honorary Irish today, I hope everyone enjoys his or her green beer and shamrocks. Being half Irish, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day has been a long-standing tradition in my family. Every year, we eat a big meal of corned beef and cabbage and my grandma’s famous soda bread. We then go to our favorite pub to watch step dancers and hear traditional Celtic music.

 

shamrock kids

 

It’s truly a celebration. And who wouldn’t want to celebrate with these two cuties! That picture was taken last year, but you can guarantee they will be wearing as much green and cable knits this time around.

 

Shamrock (3)

 

Incorporating some green into my outfit is extremely important today. Although I have on my green pants, it’s always nice to add another pop of color in the form of a broach, hairpin or jewelry. A fun and easy DIY to make is a felted shamrock pin. This is a great way to add some flair…and luck, even if you’re not Irish.

 

What you’ll need:

Green wool felt

Needle and thread

Broach pin

Hot glue gun

 

Shamrock Steps (3)

 

To begin, cut 4 separate leaves like the ones shown above. These will be the shamrock’s petals. They don’t have to be perfect, just make two little “hills” as my nephew calls them.

 

Next sew the leaves together as shown, weaving in and out of the felt. Then, pull the threads together, joining the outermost leaves, and tie the threads tightly at the ends. This is your completed shamrock. You can play around with the leaves to bring the shape together as you like. Using the hot glue gun, glue the shamrock to the broach pin.  Wait to dry, and voila! You now have a lucky little charm help you cheers the day!

 
 
 
 
28 Comments

Lark Crafts DIY: Oscars Party Prep

February 20, 2015, 11:18 am  Posted by Diana Ventimiglia
 

The Oscars are two days away! Two. Days. For everyone who is as obsessed with the Oscars as I am, you can appreciate the excitement I’m feeling right now. What is Emma Stone going to wear? Who is going to trip going up the stairs to accept their award? Who will Benedict Cumberbatch photo bomb (hopefully everyone)?

 

Every year I have some people over and host an Oscars party to celebrate all those weird and amazing moments. Although the decorations and food may change, one thing that is a staple at these gatherings is Oscar Bingo.  I did this for the first time a few years ago and everyone went bananas over it.  It’s such a simple, fun game to get everyone involved…and the prize doesn’t hurt either. There’s lots of free printables on the Internet that have pre-made bingo sheets for you, but it’s easy enough to make your own.

 

Oscars bingo

 

I pulled up a Word document, added a grid, and typed in my own fun squares.  Matthew McConaughey says “Alright, Alright, Alright”…my chips are on he does! I also printed my cards on a heavier card stock so they could hold up amongst all the cheers, boos, and party fouls. This year, I was also inspired by my copy of Washi Wonderful by Jenny Doh, and decided to fill in my free square using this versatile tape, as well as adding a few fun pops of color on the bingo card.

 

Oscars cat

 

The last thing I do to prepare for Sunday is to make sure my date is red-carpet ready. Phillip wears his penguin suit year-round, but that doesn’t take away from his dapperness. Add a tie, and this cat’s ready for his close-up.

 
 
 
 
33 Comments
 

Hi guys! I’m Bridget from the blog, Bake at 350, and my latest book is called Decorating Cookies Party.

In the book, you’ll find several cut-out cookie recipes and a foolproof recipe for royal icing, perfect for decorating. We walk through cookie decorating techniques and step-by-step photo tutorials for over 50 cookies in ten themes.

Valentines_cookies1

 

Here’s where even more fun comes in…use the cookies in the book as a jumping off point for your own ideas.

 

Valentines_cook3

 

In the book, there is a set of cookies for a Book Club Party. One of the cookies is a wine bottle because, um, you can’t have book club without wine. It’s a scientific fact.

 

Valentines_cook4

 

So, I used that idea to decorate some wine bottle cookies for Valentine’s Day. Same tutorial, same recipes, same techniques…switch out the colors and a few details, and you have cookies for another occasion altogether.

 

These cookies are super simple to decorate. Don’t worry about piping the wine labels with icing…all of the writing is done with a food coloring pen. Add your own wine varietal and vintage year. (I used this year and our wedding year.)

 

Valentines_cook+pen

 

[Note: always be sure the icing is completely dry before using a food coloring pen, allowing at least 6-8 hours of drying time.]

 

I’d love to see where the cookies in Decorating Cookies Party take your imagination. No doubt, the results will be delicious!

 

—–

Bridget Edwards is a highly visible baking expert who blogs at bake350.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.

 
 
 
 
24 Comments

Happy Holidays from Lark Crafts!

December 24, 2014, 09:31 am  Posted by Josh Glickman
 

Happy Holidays

 

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Lark Crafts!

Looking forward to many new crafting projects in 2015…

 
 
 
 
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Artful Christmas CoverThe elegant yet easy-to-make projects featured in Susan Wasinger’s Artful Christmas are all beautiful, but my favorite project from the book has to be the Pressed Clay Wreath (pictured below).

 

I was really surprised to see how such an ornate and elegant wreath could be made using widely available materials and in just 4 simple steps. Easy to make, yet sophisticated and beautiful, the projects included in Artful Christmas are perfect for those of us who are usually scrambling to pull everything together during the busy holiday season.

 

I’m currently in the midst of an apartment move, and with the usual hustle and bustle that inevitably accompanies the holidays, plus a new apartment full of unpacked boxes on my hands, I won’t be able to spend a lot of time and energy on decorations for the holidays. With this in mind, I definitely plan on scratching my creative itch and making a few of these projects to decorate my new place this Christmas.

 

Check out the Pressed Clay Wreath project from the book below and consider making your own to display as a table centerpiece or decorative wreath.

 

Pressed Clay Wreath - Artful Christmas (4)

 
 
 
 
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Deck the halls with Artful Christmas

November 21, 2014, 15:37 pm  Posted by Brita Vallens
 

Artful Christmas CoverDeck the halls with beautiful handmade Christmas decorations this holiday season!

 

Artful Christmas, by Susan Wasinger, offers 30 elegant DIY Christmas craft projects for the home. Handmade ornaments and decorations make beautiful keepsakes and gifts, and the projects included in Artful Christmas are sophisticated, festive and easy and affordable to make.

 

From a delicate lace Doily Snowflake Bowl, sparkly Marbled Ornaments and charming Lacy Stars for display in frosty windows, to sophisticated gift tags and colorful gift wrapping ideas, the projects included in Artful Christmas are sure to add extra sparkle and warmth to your home this holiday season.

 

Check out a few of the projects from Artful Christmas below and be sure to order your copy today!

 

Dolly Snowflake

 

 

Folded Star

 

 

 

Marbled Ornaments

 

 

Wrapping Ideas