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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
 
 
 
 
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Simple Cider: A Low-Tech Approach

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

 

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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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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

 
 
 
 
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Folks Go Nuts for Candied Nuts FREE RECIPE

December 10, 2013, 11:57 am  Posted by Nathalie Mornu
 

I don’t know about you, but every Christmas I’m confronted with the dilemma of what to give to people I don’t know terribly well. You know the category: extended family, business acquaintances, neighbors. I care about them and want to give them something nice and heartfelt—but what? Solution: homemade sweets!

Luckily, I work at Lark and didn’t have to go far to find a recipe. Poring through Sweet Confections by Nina Wanat, my mouth watering at every page, I came across a recipe for Sour Cream Candied Nuts. This old-fashioned recipe makes nuts enrobed in a thick, sugary coating and infused with alluring spiciness. Mm, what a crunchy, crusty treat! Make some up, wrap them in pretty packaging, embellish with ribbon, and presto! a gift from the heart.

SOUR CREAM CANDIED NUTS (makes about 2 cups)

You’ll need

  • 2/3 cup of packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups of roasted walnuts, almonds, or pecans
  • Baking sheet, parchment paper, wooden spoon, candy thermometer, food-safe gloves

 

To prepare

  • Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Combine the sugar, salt and sour cream in a 2-quart saucepan and stir occasionally over medium heat until the mixture reaches 240 degrees.
  • Remove from heat. Add the vanilla, cinnamon and nuts to the syrup and stir vigorously until the syrup becomes dry and matted, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Pour the coated nuts onto the parchment paper, put on your gloves, and immediately separate the nuts. Let cool, then store in an airtight container. So easy, so fast, so tasty!

 

You can change up the spices and find oodles of other recipes online for candied nuts, including the variations here, here and here.

Directions for use

  • Grasp a few nuts between the thumb and index.
  • Bend the elbow and raise the hand to the face.
  • Open the mouth and pop in the nuts. Chew, savor, repeat. Yum!

 

Besides being snack-worthy all by themselves, you can also toss them on salads (a mixture of baby arugula, shredded manchego and candied pecans is oh-so-delicious); garnish ice cream, brownies and other baked goods, or bake them right in (sinful!); or put them in cereal to start the day off right (!).

 

 

 
 
 
 
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Free Embroidered Holiday Card Project

December 05, 2013, 07:55 am  Posted by Linda
 

The holiday season is now in full swing; there are gifts to be made and greeting cards to be sent. In this world of mass-produced and yes, electronic holiday cards, wouldn’t it be nice to slow down and create a card for those you care for? If a picture says a 1000 words, then a handmade card says ten times that. While making a beautiful, heartfelt card is a labor of love, it doesn’t have to be all that laborious.

Geninne Zlatkis, author of Making an Impression, shows you how to create a stamped, tranquil town under a night sky full of embroidered stars—she even supplies you with a template. The beauty of this card is that once you create the stamp of the town, (made with simple, straight lines), then you can easily stamp up multiples for your family and friends. The limitless options of embroidery floss available—including metallic and glow-in-the-dark fibers—makes it easy to personalize each card. You’ll find the instructions here.

 
 
 
 
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A Holiday Wish List for My Dog

December 04, 2013, 10:16 am  Posted by Beth Sweet
 

See? My dog loves Etsy.

Boy, do I love Etsy: that mecca of handmade, creative, inspiring wonderfulness. The walls in my home are adorned with prints from Etsy sellers, I sport jewelry made by incredible Etsy artists, my friends have received gifts I’ve purchased on Etsy, and there’s even an Etsy-sourced jar of hand balm and lip gloss rolling around in my purse.

But I’m not alone in that love, and I’m guessing you aren’t, either: my dog loves Etsy. (She does. She told me. Stop rolling your eyes.)  She especially loves Etsy during the holidays.

Seriously, my own holiday wish list pales in comparison to the gifts my dog has starred from these amazing designers, so I’m giving the floor to my Little Gal, who has made TWO wish lists on Etsy. Here’s the first of her holiday finds: a collection of dog-loving portraits.

Thanks to the amazing artists featured here for creating such awesome work! Individual photos and links listed below.

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A Crochet GIVEAWAY!

November 26, 2013, 05:00 am  Posted by Shannon Quinn-Tucker
 

 

 

Enter for a chance to win all four copies of the fabulous crochet books shown above! 

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our randomly selected winner, A.H.K.!

Last year, I made a mid-year’s resolution to learn to crochet. This year, I kept it. Crocheting is so much fun, and I’ve already made the Skinny Scalloped Scarf from Crochet Love and the Chunky Ribbed Scarf from Crochet Boutique.

Because it’s the holidays, and because Lark loves you, and to celebrate the one resolution I’ve followed through with in the last 20 years, we’re giving away a sweet little bundle of four Lark crochet books to one lucky winner! Simply enter a comment below, and you could win a copy of Crochet Love, Crochet Boutique, AmiguruME, and Crochet Garden.

Whether you’re a newbie crocheter like me or are already accomplished with the hook, you’ll find a wide range of projects in these books: fresh, modern wearables and accessories; sweet, zakka-inspired, simple-to-stitch projects; amigurume people you can create in any shape or size; and lovely, floral-inspired motifs for any season. 

How can you enter for a chance to win this essential collection of crochet books? Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, December 5. Any comment will do, but why don’t you tell us about any holiday crochet projects you have in the works? One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced on Friday, December 6. Click here for the official rules. 

 

 
 
 
 
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GIVEAWAY: Sweet Confections and Lollipop Kit

November 12, 2013, 17:51 pm  Posted by Becky
 

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Hi everyone! I am here to give away a book and some candy-making supplies. Someone is going to win won everything in this photo:

 

Table not included. ;)

I was just chatting with one of the many awesome women who work here at Lark about homemade holiday presents, and how to give gifts that are thoughtful and full of love without spending a fortune. We talked about all sorts of ideas, from little potpourri sachets and holiday tea blends to infused vodkas and butters.

Well…what about candy? Like liquor lollipops, sugarplums, nougat, truffles, or candied ginger, for example? It does make a great gift. You could give a whole box of chocolate stars to each of your very favorite chocaholics, or maybe make one or two batches of fudge to cover all of your acquaintances. No wait, that came out wrong. Don’t cover them in fudge. Give them each a little square of fudge wrapped in cellophane and festive fabric and tied with a rustic little piece of twine.

And of course, homemade candies make a really special contribution to a party! Bring a tray of Peach Turkish Delights to a pot luck and wow everybody. Or better still, clean the house, throw a party yourself, cook all the food, make homemade candy on top of all that, and go to sleep exhausted but satisfied that you fed everyone well and made them really happy.

The giveaway includes everything you need to make lollipops (except the saucepans):

One copy of Sweet Confections by Nina Wanat

A candy thermometer

A silicone spatula

Five lollipop molds (each one makes five lollipops)

150 lollipop sticks

The book includes 40 confection recipes, including three outrageously tempting lollipop recipes: Salted Chocolate Caramel, Coffee, and Liquor! Once you get the hang of this thing, you can make up your own recipes! I personally can’t wait to start making herbal lollipops–lemon balm, rosehip, maybe an echinacea and elderberry one for cold season…

Aaaaanyways, just comment on this post. Tell us by 5:00 PM EST on November 22nd: What is your favorite homemade gift to give or receive? Or maybe there’s one you want to make, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. We’d love to hear your ideas! And one lucky, random winner will get the goodies! Please click here for the rules.

We have a winner: Congratulations to Flo in New York, and a huge thanks to everyone who commented! Happy holidays!

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
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Happy Halloween!

November 01, 2013, 09:07 am  Posted by Dawn Dillingham
 

Halloween is naturally a favorite holiday for all the creative folks at Lark. This year we brought our little ones by the office for a costume parade and trick-or-treating—we were able to pull the kids away from their candy long enough to grab a picture. So, in honor of all things crafty, whether handmade, pieced together, or store-bought at the last minute, we share this moment of creative childhood adventures with you. Now, let’s get started on next year’s costumes!

 

 
 
 
 
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Cooking for Dad on Father’s Day might not be mandatory the way Mother’s Day breakfast is for Mom, but dads appreciate being appreciated. What better way to say, “Thanks for never telling Mom about that time I got arrested,” than to cook a delicious and nutritious meal for him? Here are a handful of recipes among my own favorites that I think dads would dig, a strict criterion I based on one of two highly scientific possibilities: if my dad would love it, or if it seems like a DAD kind of food.

 

Hungry Man Casserole

This first recipe definitely fits in that second highly scientific category of foods that dads would probably like. It was the manliest thing I could think of–dude food, if you will.

 

 

I am a big fan of PaleoPot because the recipes are simple and straightforward, and even when there are a lot of steps, author Jason does an excellent job of explaining them concisely. You don’t have to be a paleo dieter to like these recipes. In general, they’re hearty, spicy, and very meat-and-(sweet)-potatoes. And, as the man says, “If you don’t like sweet potatoes, you’re wrong.” Maybe not a great Father’s Day strategy, but a good life philosophy in general.

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