While February may not be the most popular time to wed, many brides and their families and friends are using these winter months to kick wedding planning into high gear.

And with all the costs associated with the big day, it’s only natural to seek out cost-effective ways and ideas to customize a wedding. Stylish Weddings is packed with over 50 quick, simple, and inexpensive essential wedding projects to make, all photographed in lavish settings.

Explore six different signature themes, each contributed by a talented designer, that appeal to a wide audience: Farm Chicks Country Wedding (by Serena Thompson), French-Inspired Wedding (by Corey Amaro), Rustic & Elegant Wedding (by Tracy Schultz), Romantic & Pretty Wedding (by Heather Bullard), Natural & Organic Wedding (by Minna Mercke Schmidt), and Vintage Glam Wedding (by Tiffany Kirchner-Dixon). Each theme highlights the quintessential elements required to get that look with an “inspiration board” of images, plenty of tips, and suggestions for pulling everything together. Projects with a special touch include invitations, table settings, favors, decorations, and items for the bride and bridal party.

Don’t know anyone getting married right now? No worries. Many of these ideas would be great for any kind of entertaining with just the slightest creative adjustments.



Marica DeCoster Presents—Now Available!

February 11, 2014, 15:08 pm  Posted by Kevin Kopp


Marcia DeCoster interviews 30 leading beaders on inspiration and technique

Just published! Beadmaster Marcia DeCoster delivers page after page of inspiration by offering you the personal stories and latest creations from 30 leading jewelry designers in her latest, Marcia DeCoster Presents.


Through interviews conducted by Marcia, these artists open up about their beginnings, their successes, their muses and influences, their favorite materials, their membership in the worldwide beading community, and their future beading dreams.


In addition to the insight and innovation present in these discussions, this volume is filled with gorgeous color photos that showcase a number of the most beautiful pieces from each contributor.


The artists in this book represent an international roster of the best in the field:

Daeng Weaver, Miriam Shimon, Patrick Duggan, Kerrie Slade, Melissa Ingram, Beki Haley, Betty Stephan, Sian Nolan, Debi Keir-Nicholson, Nancy Dale, Martina Nagele, Helena Tan-Lim, Heather Kingsley-Heath, Elke Leonhardt-Rath, Riana Bootha Olckers, Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, Isabella Lam, Petra Tismer, Marsha Wiest-Hines, Christina Vandervlist, Linda L. Jones, Gabriella van Diepen, Idele Gilbert, Kinga Nichols, Susan Blessinger, Ann Braginsky, Heather Collin, Patrizia Tager, Zoya Gutina, Edgar Lopez
























And don’t forget the best-selling companion book in this Spotlight on Beading series, Suzanne Golden Presents


Carina Envoldsen-Harris, author of Stitched Blooms, will be leading a special Color Workshop here on the Lark blog once a week for the next three weeks. 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 stitch the same motif shown in this blog post (plus a bonus motif!) by downloading them here for FREE: Stitched Blooms Motifs. Also, be sure to find out how you can enter for a chance to win a FREE copy of Stitched Blooms at the end of this post.

Update: Congratulations to Beth T., who won a free copy of Stitched Blooms! 


Hi! Welcome to this workshop about color. We’re going to cover a few things in these posts, but obviously, it’s an introduction to all things color. You could spend a lifetime studying these things, and that would be fun, I’m sure. But you wouldn’t have much time to do any embroidery!

The workshop is split into three sections: introduction to the color wheel, introduction to color schemes, and working with/selecting colors. Today we start with an introduction to the color wheel.

You have probably come across the color wheel before? In school, perhaps? If you haven’t, here’s a quick explanation of what the color wheel can do: It is a pie chart of sorts that shows how, with three basic colors (the primaries), you can mix all the other colors. Along with primary colors, you will often hear people talk about secondary and tertiary colors.

The three primary colors are red, yellow and blue, and they can’t be made from other colors. By mixing the primary colors, you will get the three secondary colors. These are orange (red + yellow), green (yellow + blue), and violet (blue + red).

There are six tertiary colors, each of which is mixed from a primary and a secondary color: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.

There are of course lots of colors besides these — millions in fact — but they all start with this basic principle of mixing, starting with the primary colors.

When it comes to embroidery, though, “mixing” perhaps isn’t the best term to use, because we can’t physically mix two colors of stranded floss. No matter how tightly you twist them together, red and yellow floss will not turn orange — they will always remain red or yellow. But they may look orange from some distance and that is very important to keep in mind.


Colors are very much influenced by their neighbors. Yellow and red next to each other will make each other look slightly orange. The same thing goes for any color — if there’s another color sitting next to it, each will impact the other, even if it’s just a little bit.

This can create unfortunate, unwanted effects, like a yellow that looks very nice on its own, but when placed next to a green takes on a green tinge. But we can also use it to our advantage, to make it look like we’ve used more colors than we actually have. Much like Impressionist painters who often would mix colors not on the palette but by putting small dots or strokes of paint next to each other on the canvas (called Pointillism), creating the illusion of a third color.

This is called partitive mixing or optical mixing. And this effect is exactly what we’re doing when we put thread colors together in a piece of embroidery. You could even recreate a Pointilist effect in embroidery by using French knots — when seen from a distance, the individual colors will start to disappear and the “in between” colors will appear.

And the number of colors that can be created using the colors on the color wheel can of course be multiplied even more by mixing them with white or black —to make a pink or peach or pale blue, for example.

The color wheel is a great reminder of the relationship between the colors. And the color wheel can do so much more for us! Next week we’ll look at how the color wheel can help us choose color schemes.


Enter for a chance to win a FREE copy of Stitched Blooms and try your own hand at color combinations with the 300+ motifs you can find in the book! Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 13. Any comment will do, but why don’t you tell us your favorite color combination? One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced on Friday, February 14. Click here for the official rules. This giveaway is now closed.

Don’t forget to check back next week for part 2 of Carina’s Color Workshop and for a chance to win more free stuff! You can see more of Carina’s lovely, colorful motifs and projects on Carina’s Craftblog.




Show Your Love….in Stitches!

February 07, 2014, 15:26 pm  Posted by Amanda Carestio

Ah….stitched Valentines: what could be sweeter? Whether you’re in the market for a major commitment, a quick bit of romantic crafting, or looking to purchase a special thing for a special someone (two-legged or four-legged), here are some fabulous ideas to get your ideas flowing. From top to bottom, left to right, with links:

 Rustic Heart Ornaments

Felt Heart Balloon

Heart Cufflinks

Love Birds Stitch Pattern

Cross My Heart Cross-Stitch Pattern

Xs and Os Gift Tags

Love Pouch

Embroidered Lyrics

Love Lab Cross-Stitch Pattern

Nordic Heart Cross-Stitch Pattern

Heart Bunting Flag Stationery

Boston Terrier Cross-Stitch Pattern


Happy (stitchy) New Year: A Crochet To-Do List!

January 01, 2014, 09:21 am  Posted by Amanda Carestio

Watch out, 2014: I’ve got BIG plans….this year is going to be bigger, lacier, crochet-ier! I know what you’re thinking: I’m gonna need more necks! Or maybe, wow, your dog must be excited. But after a year of crocheting, I’m ready to take my arsenal of skills to the next stitchy level. Lace? Yes, indeed. Textured stitches? But of course! And yes, pretend project planning on Ravelry is EXACTLY as much fun as pretend shopping on Etsy. Here are some of my plans, left to right, top to bottom:

Girl’s Crochet Cardigan Shrug by Luz Mendoza

Delicate Air Lace Cowl by Luz Mendoza

Totally Triangles Multi-Use Bag by Lily Sugar’n Cream and Bernat Design Studio

Dory by Liza Gutierrez

Winkle Vest by Tracy St. John

Granny Bandana by Shela Zachariae

Belmont Bag by Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby

Morticia Chevron Cowl by Erin Chastain-Harris

Euphorbia Dress by Rita Taylor

What are your crafty plans for 2014?


Etsy Favorites: Passion for Peppermint

December 28, 2013, 09:00 am  Posted by Nicole McConville

This time of the year I get struck by a nearly uncontrollable craving. As the shelves of the grocery store fill with the enticement of seasonal treats, I focus my attention on seeking out my personal holiday favorite: peppermint. I think this desire was instilled at an early age with that miracle known as peppermint ice cream, a frozen miracle of flavor, spotted with little peppermint candy bits. I looked forward to its arrival every year. Now as an adult my culinary tastes have expanded and my sweet tooth has been (somewhat) tamed, but the annual love for that cooling peppermint remains. With that urge in mind I set my eyes to Etsy to seek out some items that would bring lip-smacking, smile-inducing peppermint pleasure to the rest of these chilly winter months. What I found only fuels my need to stock up. Full credits and shop links below!

TOP LEFT: Peppermint Bark Shortbread Cookies by Butter Blossoms
TOP RIGHT: Peppermint Hot Chocolate by Carriage Door
MIDDLE LEFT: Holiday Red and White French Macarons by The Splendid Sweet Shoppe
MIDDLE RIGHT: Peppermint Chocolate Chip Blondies by Bake It Happen
BOTTOM LEFT: White Chocolate Peppermint Marshmallows by Epic Edibles
BOTTOM RIGHT: Peppermint Bark by Mother Fudger

Simple Cider: A Low-Tech Approach

December 26, 2013, 10:00 am  Posted by Becky



Lately, I have been experimenting with making hard cider. I’m really low-tech when it comes to this sort of thing. I make mead too, but I can’t be bothered with all that racking and bottling and stuff. So, I make an herbal tea, mix it 50/50 with honey, add some yeast and yeast energizer, throw an airlock on the bottle, and forget aboudit. When it’s time to drink the mead (3-6 months later), I just pour from the same bottle, which I store indefinitely with the airlock on it. I have the same approach to cider. The simplest way I know to make homemade hard cider is as follows:

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Free Recipe from Sweet Confections: Sugarplums

December 23, 2013, 12:29 pm  Posted by Julie

If you think sugarplums are simply the stuff of visions, then you’re in for a sweet surprise. An easy-to-assemble treat that’s perfect for the final countdown to Christmas, this classic candy will add some extra-festive flavor to your holiday. The free recipe featured here comes from Nina Wanat’s splendid book, Sweet Confections: Beautiful Candy to Make at Home. Give it a try and you’ll see that sugarplums don’t have to be a dream…

Download the recipe here. Happy holidays!













You can find Sweet Confections at Barnes & Noble and wherever books are sold.



A Holiday Etsy Wish List for My Dog, Part 2

December 20, 2013, 13:46 pm  Posted by Beth Sweet

Certified Coziness Expert

The other day I shared a post on behalf of my sweet little dog, who has been working on her own Christmas wish list all year long. Her first post focused on gorgeous dog portraits made by Etsy artists, and this second post shines a light on the warm, cozy, and fashion-forward items she loves on Etsy. As an expert in coziness (see photo), she’s a good curator for this kind of thing.

These projects!! Don’t you just love that heart sweater? Have you ever seen a bow tie look so dapper? And, c’mon, I think we all can agree that a cozy fleece-lined snuggle sack bed is basically what every single one of us needs in the new year.

Thanks to these talented artists for creating such awesome stuff for our dear little pups!

Happy Pawlidays, everyone.

[Pictured from left to right]

Burrow Dog Bed :: BBeds

Dog Bow Tie :: charliebegood

Pet ID Tag :: CaliforniaMutts

Chevron Dog Bed Cover :: thefoggydog

Knit Heart Sweater :: Willieratbag and MrSoftTop

Cozy Scandinavian Dog Sweater :: BobbieGlue

Snowflake Dog Sweater :: Charliecloset

Chihuahua Pillow :: YveborgDesign

What Does the Fox Say Dog Collar :: StinkyandSweetPea

Aluminum Pet ID Tag :: woowooworkshop

Red Rhinestone Flower Dog Collar :: PawshAccessories

Minky Snuggle Sack Bed :: rendachs

Wine Barrel Dog Bed :: RockCreekFurnitureCo


Dear Etsy…from Ruby

December 19, 2013, 09:57 am  Posted by Amanda Carestio

As much fun as I have on Etsy shopping for myself, it’s fun to imagine what my 17-month-old daughter Ruby might pick for herself. (Have you seen Willow’s list??) At this point in her young life, Ruby’s preferences are simple: her puppy sidekick, her dinosaur lift-the-flap book, her pop-up tent set, cheese, shoes (including mommy’s cowboy boots), dancing, and all cell phones/remote controls/small electronic items. I’m quite certain, though, and mainly because she has no choice, that she’ll learn to love all things handmade. (And the Ikea kitchen set that’s waiting for her on Christmas morning!) With that in mind, from left to right, top to bottom, here is Ruby’s Etsy wishlist:

Wooden Dinosaur Toy Set from Imaginationkids

24 Piece Memory Game Set by fourthavenue

Pitbull Baby One Piece by Oliver Blu Designs

Sally Dress Sewing Pattern by VeryShannon (for mommy to make!)

Girls Hooded Cape by April Scott

Flower Hair Clips by Small Talk Shop

Wooden Toy Phone by OutsideEverywhere

Bunny Slippers by Jay’s Boutique Crochet

Play Pizza Felt Food Set by Our Childrens Earth

Kids Chef Set by Gift for Kids